If I had a dollar for every blank stare I've received upon informing someone that I work on SEO, well, let's just say I probably wouldn't have to work for a good long while.
The fact is, a startling number of people have little-to-no idea what SEO is. In response to the blank stare or the inevitable "what's SEO?" I get, I typically make my way down a list of the following one-line explanations:
- Search engine optimisation
- Optimising websites
- Getting websites to show up on Google
By the time I hit that last one they usually get it, though I might as well be waving my magic wand for all they know!
I find that more business owners are aware of SEO, or at least know that they need it in order to gain more website traffic. But they often don't understand how it works, and instead of educating themselves they immediately outsource it to SEO agencies in Melbourne.
Don't get me wrong, it's more than ok to have an SEO specialist take care of your SEO needs. We can't do everything ourselves, after all! Plus, it keeps people like me happily employed providing SEO services to small business owners.
However, I believe that businesses should have a basic understanding of SEO no matter how they decide to take care of it. That way they can set realistic expectations and goals for their online traffic, know how to properly vet potential SEO agencies before hiring them, or even feel empowered to optimise their site themselves.
Photo via TNW.
Here are a few SEO basics that every business owner should know, even if they outsource their SEO:
SEO success is neither guaranteed nor instantaneous.
If you want instant results, consider paid advertising. Otherwise, be prepared to wait as long as 6 months before noticing any significant improvements in your search rankings.
SEO requires a long term commitment.
It's not a "set it and forget it" kind of thing; rather, SEO requires constant upkeep over time. A good SEO consultant will constantly monitor your keyword visibility and make adjustments depending on your site's performance as well as your competitors'. It's a lot like fitness in that you have to make it a habit, not a short-lived binge.
Aim for high search volume, low competition keywords.
You want to optimise your site for keyword phrases that people are actually searching for, so it's not worth doing this for the low search volume keywords. Similarly, aim to optimise for keywords that you actually have a shot at ranking for - i.e. medium-to-low competition keywords. You won't be showing up on Google anytime soon for popular generic keywords like "fashion blog" or "photographer", so choose more realistic keywords instead.
You must keep providing valuable content in order for Google to consider your site a relevant source.
If you think you can launch a website and never touch it again and still maintain high search rankings, think again. The easiest and most natural way to keep producing content is to include a blog in your site and post new articles frequently.