Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.
The design of a website plays a large role in the branding of a company, as the aesthetic will affect sales and the overall image of your business. However, while most people can differentiate between a good-looking website and a bad one; relying on the superficial qualities of the design to attract traffic is no longer enough.
With so many websites competing for attention, companies have had to learn ways to break out from the pack – and SEO is key to doing just that.
While an attractive looking design will always engage viewers, a good web designer, one that is well-versed in SEO, will always make sure to build their websites with optimization in mind.
When Do You Need To Focus On SEO?
Search Engine Optimization should actually start at the very beginning.
The way that a website is programmed and designed can positively or negatively affect its SEO campaign. So while there are some individuals who can make fantastic looking websites, they may not be experts in everything needed to increase your SEO. And while there are experts in SEO, very few of them design websites themselves – they’re more or less consultants once the web page is finished. This is why making sure to work with a company, knowledgable in both realms, is imperative to really maximize your exposure.
An SEO compatible web design will improve conversion rates, increase sales, and improve your placement in Search Engine results; long before the “legwork” of inputting keywords and meta-tags even begins.
The term “search engine friendly” is used when describing website design, menu navigation, content management systems, images, videos, shopping carts, and many other elements of website design.
There are many designers who believe that an “SEO friendly design” means that they are restricted in regards to the creative elements they can implement with their design.
What do we say to them? Think again.
The guidelines for Search Engine Optimization are actually set standards that help offer visitors the best possible user experience. Protocols for design elements help to not only affect SEO results, but they also contribute to streamlining the entire website experience. Essential features such as menu and navigation layout have become more intuitive, while colors and fonts are made more readable, and graphic elements have been streamlined to stop hindering load time.
Websites are now encouraged via SEO to be more concise and precise with the information offered. Some of these factors may impact minor facets of the design, while most will only be known by yourself and the designer. However, a design that is built with SEO in mind will offer a truly efficient user experience.
Where To Go For SEO
While there are many people in the search marketing and social media industries who proclaim themselves “experts” in SEO, the unfortunate truth is that not many of them actually are.
Search Engine Optimization is a new concept for most organizations, and the complex algorithms and unique verbiage can be quite overwhelming for most individuals. Unfortunately, this has led to quite a few pseudo-experts trying to make a quick buck with just a very basic understanding of search engine optimization as a whole.
Within the realm of SEO, nothing can be taken for granted.
As new algorithmic updates are introduced, techniques developed, and more efficient methods discovered – it quickly becomes apparent that there is no “magic formula” for guaranteed SEO results. Be wary of anyone who tells you that SEO is as simple as merely inputting “keywords” “meta-tags” and focusing on “page rank.” While these are necessary components to effective SEO development, they are by no means the definitive end to true SEO success.
SEO is a constantly evolving process, that literally changes day-to-day.
Also worth noting is that what is effective for one company may not be what is best for another.
Even though there are SEO basics that should be apparent in every search engine optimization campaign, there are also additional variables for almost every industry. For example, an effective SEO campaign for a hospital may need to be dramatically different from one specific to a restaurant, etc. This is due to the content and targeted audience.
Another example of an industry where SEO has been making great strides is the field of law. Entities such as law firms, lawyers, and various other law-related practices have really benefited from embracing SEO technology.
Law firms have seen the results (and the return) on websites that integrate SEO into their design.
However, the SEO for a truly outstanding web presence within this industry often requires even greater attention to detail than most. Designers within this industry not only need to make sure that the basic building blocks of SEO are present, but they also must be aware of other requirements, such as Bar Association guidelines and/or any applicable statutes (especially those regarding advertisements).
Factors such as this are crucial because while something such as design and SEO may be subjective, the law is not. It’s not worth potentially compromising your practice’s reputation because you trusted such an important endeavor to someone not fully educated or well-versed on the necessary guidelines.
Remember, there are many people out there touting themselves as “SEO Experts” but anyone with a true investment in your success should be able to justify such a claim. Make sure to ask questions, lots of them. Part of the measure of a true ‘expert’ in any field, is someone who can explain esoteric constructs (such as SEO) in layman’s terms. The person managing your SEO should be able to answer your questions, without being erroneously vague.
The very nature of Search Engine Optimization requires that anyone working in the field continue to research, learn and challenge themselves because what may have worked a few months ago may not be as effective today.
A Case Study of SEO
A powerful SEO campaign will not only drive traffic to your website, but it will also help make your business more cost-effective. As we all know, the greater the awareness is for a brand, the increased likelihood there is to translate that into viable sales. However, many companies aren’t aware of the impact that SEO can have not only on sales but the entire solvency of their own business.
Not long ago, Mediaura was contracted to help a company optimize their SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. This company already had a very solid website, so they were looking to utilize SEO and PPC to further enhance their presence in the marketplace. They had also previously contracted with one of these so-called “SEO Experts” to manage their SEO & PPC campaigns with a budget of around $45,000 per month. However, they were dissatisfied that with such a large budget they were still ranking quite low on search engine results; so they wanted to see if we would put our extensive knowledge of SEO to the test.
Naturally, we were more than happy to comply.
After analyzing a multitude of aspects and variables, we were able to determine the best course of action. Although the previous consultant had put some basic SEO implements in place, many of those aspects had been proven months ago to have no real effect; or conversely, the signals had been modified by the Search Engines. You see, the Search Engines themselves are constantly altering and updating the information they are looking for on a website as well. This is why it is imperative for companies involved in SEO to always remain up-to-date on new developments in the realm of optimization.
At the end of this process, much to our client’s satisfaction, we were not only able to significantly increase their search returns (which often resulted in their company monopolizing almost the entire first page of results), but we also were able to reduce the required budget by more than half – thus saving them tens-of-thousand-of-dollars per month.
Now, our client was not only benefitting from an increased awareness for their company, but they were also saving over half of their budget. They were then able to reinvest that money into new sections of their business, further enhancing growth and development for their company and making it more competitive in the marketplace.
This is just one of many examples as to why it is important to work with a company with true experience in Search Engine Optimization. Working with a company that can maximize the return on your investment will provide you with tangible results.
So Why Do You Need SEO?
There is a reason that SEO has become the phenomenon that it is today.
Simply put, when performed correctly – it works.
Driving traffic to your website is critical for any business, especially one that relies on their webpage for online sales or marketing. And while there are a lot of ways to achieve this, search engine optimization is undeniably one of the most effective.
It is a process that does require time to properly develop, so don’t be dismayed when there is not an immediate overnight success. As a good rule of thumb, you typically begin seeing your median results at around 2-3 months. Although your SEO consultant should be monitoring your status on a daily basis, making changes where needed; it is around this time that a clear picture begins to emerge. At this point, your SEO consultant will compile the data, evaluate the best course of action, and make any necessary recommendations. If you’re lucky enough, you will have achieved the exact results you were after, and then the process of maintaining that level of success is what is then needed.
Make no mistake about it, search engine optimization takes effort and of course know-how. While the overall concept may seem straight-forward and basic, it is a world full of arcane concepts and complex mathematical formulas.
However, a website that incorporates the principles of Search Engine Optimization into its development will be one of the most valuable weapons in your marketing and advertising arsenal.
To learn more about how SEO or PPC may benefit you, contact Mediaura today or visit us on the web at www.mediaura.com