The layman’s guide to SEO success.
By John Stutely, MD, Astutech ltd.
SEO success is about quality not quantity.
I would like to tell you how to get more out of your SEO. If your business is in a niche category you may find this invaluable.
At the foot of this article I will reveal the key to your SEO success, but before you get there please read these crucial points.
Can reducing your website traffic increase your sales?
Drive traffic to your website. Drive more traffic to your website. You’ll have seen the headlines. More traffic = more sales, But does it?
Our experience suggests not. I know I could get a lot more traffic to our website, but would it generate business?
Let me explain: my company, Astutech ltd, is not an SEO specialist company. We are, primarily, an app development company with a long history in website development. We just happen to be rather good at SEO. I can say that because our results speak for themselves. Just look up anything mobile app development related in Norwich or Norfolk and we’ll be there.
There are a handful of brilliant SEO companies out there, and they get my full respect, but the majority are just winging it.
SEO companies, for the most part, tend to focus on simple objectives: more traffic and page one Google rankings. This sounds like the kind of tonic that will make your website sing. But it probably won’t, and here’s why.
SEO is widely perceived as a ‘Black Art’.
Let’s just make one thing clear, SEO success is not reliant on the Black Arts. When we talk SEO we’re talking about Google. Sure, there’s a handful of alternatives, but Only Google has been adopted as a verb: to Google is to search for something on the Internet.
Google’s delivery model is based on relevancy. They like relevant search results. They favour genuine, original content. Google does not like to be fooled. They have poured in huge resources and employed some of the brightest minds of our time to improve relevancy of search results. This is why we all use Google. It delivers what we want, most of the time. It’s also why being in the top 10, first page of results is crucial. We trust Google to bring back relevant results on our searches, because for the most part this is what happens.
How a typical SEO company operates.
First page Google rankings and increases in website traffic are easy to quantify. They are clear measurable markers of your SEO company’s success. So, if an SEO company uses these as benchmarks you can see they are doing their job. So how could you be duped?
This is, in all likelihood, just smoke and mirrors. Read on and I will explain.
What is a keyword?
This might sound like a simple enough question, but in the world of SEO it’s just another point of confusion. For Keywords think key phrases, which I am sure is what we used to call them. So, Keywords means several words together for a search phrase.
The art of the long-tail keyword
Who’s number one for SEO in Norwich?
To start, let’s look at this: who’s number one on Google in Norwich? Try asking Google that exact question: number one on Google in Norwich. From wherever you search you should see Astutech at position 1,2 and 3. I positioned us there as an experiment. You may think this would be great for us, and it is, but only so I can say who’s number one for SEO in Norwich. No one actually searches for this phrase. I know because we track everything.
The value of the right keyword for SEO success.
As an app development company I want visits from people who are interested in mobile app development for their business.
That last sentence contains two really important statements.
1. That I obviously I want mobile app development related searches
2. Less obviously that I know I am talking to people, individuals, not business entities or machines.
So, if you search for App Development Norwich we’ll be there in the number one slot. Now this is a fairly niche search, but I know people are searching for it, and most importantly they are finiding us.
Crucial is the value of this keyword. When someone finds Astutech via a search for this term they are presented with a highly relevant result. Consider the value of an app; what it costs to develop an app. If you consider that an app may cost many thousands to develop there is a very high value in this keyword.
Being on the first page of Google will probably going to get you more traffic, but it may not get you the traffic you want.
Be found for what people actually search for.
This might sound simple, but for the most part it is not. If you have worked with an SEO company they may ask you for keywords, which it then optimises your site for. But, did your SEO company actually come back to you and tell you no-one is searching for the keywords you gave them?
Where the search volume is high it is naturally going to be harder to get your website ranking highly.
Social media engagement improves SEO success rates.
For a while now your performance on Social Media channels has had a large impact on your SEO position. You don’t have to work all the channels, but pick two and do work them well. Remember, Social Media is about engagement, not just sticking up offers and proposals. Try to deliver consistent, engaging content.
This is the key to success: track everything. Whether you do your own SEO, or engage a company on your behalf, track and monitor the results. Receiving regular data provides a benchmark and is the ONLY way to improve on your SEO performance.
But what can you track and how do you do it?
We combine all our data in to a single report which tracks the following in an easy to digest format. Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Social Media, keywords positing and more all in one place. This tells us the current position of all the keywords we track, and their movement up or down in position over any time period. We also track what people are actually searching for and finding us too, so we can pick up on new trends.
Of course we also track visitors, referrals, tweets, re-tweets, social share, pages and websites that link to us. We can also track our competitors.
Perhaps one of the most advantageous features is our Website Audit. This allows us to check for any issues that may be affecting our website’s performance.