In the digital world of today, having a safe, secure and well-designed website is more or less a requirement for running a business. Gone are the days of simplistic, one-page sites containing a couple of “About us” sentences, describing who you are and what you do, followed by contact information. We are living in a time where your website is just as (if not even more) important for your company as its flesh and blood representatives. And, especially if you are looking to do business with clients abroad, you cannot afford to have an outdated website. But even the most exciting, well-designed and professionally formatted website will have difficulties bringing you more clients if nobody can find it. And that is where SEO comes in.
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) for short, is a complex methodology aimed at bringing websites to the top of search results. This is achieved by improving – or optimising – various bits and pieces in the code, images or text on the website itself (on-page SEO), as well as building a buzz around it on social platforms (off-page SEO). A well-optimised website will provide you with:
- More visitors
- More brand exposure
- More engagement
- More potential clients
And, given time, the combination of the above will naturally result in
- Increased brand loyalty
- Increased sales
How does SEO work exactly?
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Simply put, Search Engine Optimisation is a process, by which the expert convinces the search engine that the website in question is good. Different search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing being the most prominent), have slightly different requirements, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to a couple of elements:
- How well your website is structured
- How well your website is coded
- How well your content is written
- How well it all blends together
- How many people are interested in what you’ve got
This can be further broken down in a whole myriad of steps – your website needs to load quickly, everything needs to be properly defined, there have to be no errors in your code, the pages need to be easy to navigate, your content needs to be unique and so on. Therefore, an SEO expert needs to not only understand enough about all of the individual pieces but also know how they all come together in the eyes of search engines. And, even for the extremely experienced individual, going through all of these steps takes time. A lot of time. If you thought that making a website from the ground-up, complete with custom graphics, brand-new content and innovative design takes long, wait until you see how long it will take to actually get it optimised. Not only will the SEO experts need to inspect every small nook and cranny of the website to find everything that needs adjusting, but they’ll also need to see how it all fares against the competition and come up with a plan about surpassing it!
SEO is a not a race – it’s a marathon
Forget about instant results. If you want to get long-lasting and impactful results from your SEO, you need to look at it as a long-term investment. In the world of search engine optimisation, there are no instant results. When Google (and subsequently – SEO) was still new, there were ways to rank a website on high positions quickly. With the technological advancements of the last decade, however, this is no longer feasible. Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing, link spamming and other less-than-savoury techniques. As a matter of fact, anyone trying to use these methods today is guaranteed to get their website blacklisted into oblivion. If you happen upon an “expert”, claiming that they can “bring your website to the top in three days flat”, you want to turn and walk away. Immediately.
SEO is not a one-and-done kind of job. Once you get to the top position, you’ll naturally want to remain there. But this won’t happen without continual maintenance. You see, your competitors will probably take issue with being surpassed, and will most likely look to hire optimisation experts of their own. Or, even if they don’t, other websites will also be trying to get the number one spot. It’s a never-ending marathon, and the only way to stay on top is to never back down.
And, if by some strange turn of events your particular niche happens to be without any serious competition, there’s also the search engines to keep in mind. Search engine algorithms are continually being updated (usually multiple times per year), and their requirements can change quite frequently. Without solid maintenance, it is very easy to get on their bad side and lose all of your precious search engine results position!
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