An essential guide to search engine optimisation and running a successful campaign
What is Search Engine Optimisatio (SEO)?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation and is the process of increasing traffic to your website through organic search engine results. When it comes to your website, you don’t just want a higher quantity of traffic but higher quality of traffic. By optimising your business’ website to rank in search engines, you can gain more interest from customers who are genuinely interested in the products or services you provide.
It’s very deliberate the way search engines rank websites. Google’s search engine’s algorithm is constantly changing and getting smarter. You can’t simply trick Google into thinking your website is of high quality but by optimising your site, it will make it easier for search engines to crawl it and view you as a credible source of information.
How is SEO different to social media marketing?
SEO is about being discovered through web searches and creating awareness, whereas social media marketing is about connecting with other people, building relationships and creating engagement.
Here are the main differences in the table below:
People looking online have a purpose as they have a specific question that they want an answer for. They are more likely to buy as they have strong intent.
People on social media are less likely to buy because they’re browsing. They are more likely to share posts, comment and spread awareness of your brand (which can influence potential customers)
Content that will answer a specific question. ‘How-to’ guides and articles that are thoroughly researched do well.
Topics that are trending do well on social media and anything that will cause an emotional response.
Long, detailed articles that are 1500+ words perform well. Descriptive subheadings are good so readers can find sections quickly.
Images and videos work well as they are attention-grabbing. These posts are more likely to be shared which generate more likes and shares.
SEO takes time. Sometimes it can take years to rank highly for the most valuable keywords.
Posts can go viral in a matter of minutes but building a solid following can take time.
What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?
SEO is a branch of search engine marketing (SEM) which looks at the organic part of search engine marketing. If you’re confused by this because you still have to pay for your website to rank higher in search results organically, a major part of SEM is pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
SEM is a broader strategy that basically combines SEO tactics with advertising.
What are the pros and cons of SEO and paid SEM?
SEO is beneficial for any industry, but it usually involves being in it for the long haul especially if your business is new. Websites that are already established can see results faster, but it comes down to how competitive your industry is and how difficult it is to rank higher for keywords.
Working through some basic website optimisation such as getting rid of broken links, making your site mobile responsive and easy navigation can give your website an automatic boost. SEO can also give you better quality leads compared to paid SEM and it’s more cost effective.
A disadvantage to SEO is that search engines are getting smarter so SEO specialists need to have their finger on the pulse to know what is best for their clients.
Paid SEM can include the following:
- Google AdWords
- Targeted ad campaigns
- Ad copy
- Ad groups
A major advantage of paid SEM is that ads can be seen on Google straight away so it’s great for businesses who are starting out and aren’t ranking very highly. It’s important to have your keywords in your ads so you’re getting as much exposure as possible. Another advantage is you can target specific user groups (eg. age, location, etc.) plus you can advertise on other websites.
One thing to remember though, is that paid SEM doesn’t automatically get you exposure to all your potential buyers. Some people have Google ads hidden or a phenomenon called ‘ad blindness’ can occur which is where users avoid ads and focus on organic results.
Can I teach myself SEO to rank higher in Google?
Like any skill it can be self-taught. If you have the time and the knack for picking things up quickly, SEO is an extremely useful skill to have. The problem with most small business owners though is that they are time poor. There are many tactics that go into good SEO and it involves a lot of commitment, which is why many businesses pay someone else to do it for them.
Google’s search engine algorithm is becoming increasingly smarter as artificial intelligence and machine learning improves, so a lot of SEO work involves reading about changes to the algorithm and keeping on top of the game. If you don’t do that, you’ll find that your rankings will start to slip and you’ll be back to the bottom of the pile again. SEO involves a lot of in-depth content writing which a lot of business owners also don’t have time for.
Why is SEO critical for any Melbourne business?
People usually spend time conducting research, reading about products and reviews online before they commit to purchasing something, which is why SEO is crucial to Melbourne businesses. You want your website to be the number one source of information for anyone who is looking for a product or service in your industry.
Search engines put the most credible sources of information at the top, which is why so much work goes into writing high quality content and designing a good website. According to Web FX, only 25 percent of users ever go to the second page of search results which is why you want your business to rank high. SEO improves user experience, which makes it more likely for visitors to become repeat customers.
The importance of SEO in your digital marketing strategy
SEO is important but it’s only one of many tools you should have in your marketing toolbox. By implementing a strong digital marketing campaign that covers all channels, your business will gain maximum exposure.
Here are some other channels:
- Pay-per-click marketing
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Your website
- Word of mouth marketing
For example, someone might find your business through Instagram but want to look you up in Google. Visibility in search engines is crucial to gaining new customers so make it easy for them to find you.
What are the components of a successful SEO campaign in Melbourne?
SEO is a science and an art. Running a successful SEO campaign involves three main components:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
We’ll break down these components in detail below. At Digital Treasury, we’ve tested and built a profitable search engine optimisation campaign for our clients across a range of different industries.
Before you start doing anything else, researching keywords is vital. Keywords are the building blocks of every Digital Treasury SEO campaign.
So how do you look for keywords?
There are a number of free tools that you can use to conduct keyword research for your business including Google Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere and SurferSEO. These tools let you find keywords in your niche to rank for by looking at the data of search volumes, predicted clicks, and estimated conversions.
Ahrefs is a paid SEO software tool which lets you dive deeper and gain a better understanding of your SEO data. It’s a good tool for keyword research, tracking your keyword rankings and scopes out competitor data.
You want to find keywords that will make it easier for you to rank for. For example, if you owned a chocolate factory, trying to rank for “chocolate factory” is going to be a lot harder than trying to rank for “chocolate factory business” as the volume of searches is much lower. Of course, going after competitive keywords is good too, but you’ll have to work harder to rank for it.
Why researching local Melbourne keywords is good for your business
People tend to look for businesses near them first so you should identify keywords for your local SEO about your geographical location.
If we use the chocolate factory example again, target keywords could be:
– Best chocolate factory in Melbourne
– Chocolate factory near Melbourne CBD
Content writing & optimisation
The most relevant quality content gets ranked first in Google’s search engine. So how do you make your business stand out to Google?
You should focus on primary and secondary keywords so Google understands what your content is about and can rank it for multiple keywords at once.
– Primary keywords are usually the high search volume ones that will bring traffic to your website. These are keywords that you want to use for on-page and off-page optimisation (anchor text, page titles, etc.)
– Secondary keywords support the primary keywords on that page. These can be included in the content so Google can pick up on the different variations of the primary keywords.
Look at the length of the content that your competitors are producing as this will give you a good indication of how much you should be writing. You should also include internal links to show search engines that other pages on your website are related to each other.
On-page SEO: website auditing
Conducting an SEO audit is how you can fix the problems that are limiting the ability for search engines to rank your website. Here are a few things to look for:
- Your website is indexable and readable to search engines
- Your website loads quickly and can be accessed on all devices
- Your website is free of broken links or any other errors that are preventing search engines from crawling it
Screaming Frog is a popular tool for SEO auditing because it crawls your website and identifies all the technical issues by checking meta titles, meta descriptions, broken links and plenty more. It also allows you to print out a spreadsheet so you can easily look at what needs to be improved.
Building backlinks is a great way to build your search rankings. Backlinking is writing a piece of content on a high domain authority website that contains a hyperlink to your site. Backlinking shows search engines that you are an authority in your niche space.
So how do you get backlinks?
Many websites offer guest posting opportunities. You want to get links from websites that are relevant to your industry, not just spammy links. There are many Australia guest blogging sites that offer opportunities that you can submit your content to but you should check their domain rating first. You can do that in Ahrefs that I mentioned earlier.
When do you see results from a Melbourne SEO campaign?
It depends how well established your current website is and how much authority your competitors have. A campaign can take anywehre from 6 to 12+ months depending on the amount of competition in your industry, you could see results much quicker or slower.
Another factor is the quality of the content on your website and also the quality of the backlinks that you’ve got from other websites.
The more effort you put into your SEO campaign, the sooner you will see the results.
How long is a typical SEO campaign?Generally they are at least 12 months. This includes a proper technical audit, writing optimised page content and building a quality backlink portfolio. Some Digital Treasury clients start off with a full SEO campaign and then they might drop back to just one piece of content and one backlink a month when their website starts ranking higher for their keywords.
How do you track the success of an SEO campaign?
You won’t know how your SEO campaign is going if you’re not tracking it. There are a few free tools you can use to do this such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console. GA allows you to see organic traffic changes, goal conversions and individual page performances. If you can see one page is doing much better for one keyword, then you could focus your attention on ranking for the other keywords that aren’t doing as well and need a little extra work.
What are some examples of successful Melbourne SEO campaigns?
Below is a snapshot of some clients that Digital Treasury has worked with to create simple yet powerful websites with high quality content:
Can my Melbourne business be successful without SEO?
Yes, many businesses run very successfully without SEO because they have built a good reputation that speaks for itself, however why would you miss out on new clients that could be finding you through search results on Google?
SEO isn’t mandatory for a business to thrive, but it’s the best way to boost organic traffic to your website.