In the past couple of years, the popularity of e-commerce has risen to extraordinary levels. Digital stores have gone from being a small niche to a significant part of the global retail chain - and that windfall can mean huge profits for you. Cha-ching!
The digital transformation leaves those who can’t adapt in the dust while more tech-savvy business owners reap the benefits. Especially for small business owners, digital marketing has become more crucial for success than ever before. But - even if you know your way around a computer like the back of your hand, digital marketing may not be a natural sales channel for you at first. That’s why - in most cases, leaving the brunt mumbo jumbo of the work to professionals is the best course of action.
Today, digital marketing isn’t a one-off campaign or a couple of promotions for your loyal customers. It’s all about a continuous process. So if you want to reach the broadest range of people, you’ll need a professional SEO consultant. But what do SEO experts do, and how do they help the growth of your company? Let’s find out!
What is SEO, and Why is it Important?
While it's a mouthful, “search engine optimisation”, is a type of marketing that has the same goal as any other kind - to promote your products or services to a target audience.
But what does it all mean? Well, these days, a website is pretty much a must-have for any brand. If you’re a company without a website, people tend to see you as shady or sketchy and they’re far more likely to opt for some of your digitally-driven competition instead.
However, simply having a website is not enough for visibility on the Internet. If you want to approach your target audience online in the best possible way, just think about how you use the Internet yourself.
Sure, you’ve got some websites bookmarked, and there are some addresses you’d actually type out, but in a majority of cases, you’d use a search engine to find what you’re looking for. That search engine is most probably Google. Heck... their platform is synonymous enough with online searching that “googling” has become a common verb describing that action.
Today, around 99% of all Internet traffic comes from search engines. So if you want to reach your customers - you need to be visible on Google.
For a moment, imagine that you’re a person looking for fishing gear around Top End in Australia. Then, in 2021, you’d just pull out your smartphone or sit in front of your computer and type in “fishing gear top end.”
By now, you’re used to Google giving you the best companies within the first couple of results - just like most people, you’d rarely look down past the first four or five, let alone the second page. As the famous SEO joke goes - if you want to hide something, keep it on the second page of Google.
So, as a company, you want to find yourself among the top few results for relevant keywords. These “keywords” are the stuff people type into Google.
And that’s where “search engine optimisation” comes in. It’s the process of optimising your online content (your website) in line with what Google’s ranking algorithm “likes.” Once you hire a decent SEO consultant and they suggest the necessary changes, your website should be at the top of the search results for your niche.
So, what does this mean for your business growth? There are four main effects.
As we’ve already talked about, visibility on search engines is essential for modem marketing. Today, 80% of larger purchases start with a Google search, even if the final sale is made at a physical store. As a result, people can research products and services more efficiently than ever, which is why your business needs to be in the top five results for related searches.
If members of your target audience aren’t landing on your website organically - you’re missing many sales opportunities. While Google allows for paid search results via their Adwords platform, half of all search engine traffic is organic.
70% of people ignore paid results and only click on organic ones because they know it’s not a paid advertisement. They trust Google’s algorithm to lead them to the best companies and you need to take advantage of that. You want people to reach your website on their own, and an SEO consultant can help with that.
Thanks to today’s e-commerce, the economy is more globalised than ever. On the one hand, business owners can reach customers from all around the globe. On the other hand, they’ve also got more competition than ever from similar companies across the world. People know that a huge number of companies offer subpar products and services paired with some flashy marketing. That’s why SEO consultants also help you raise your “authority” online.
Niche authority and SEO rankings are tightly intertwined. If you want to achieve a great SEO score, you need to keep updating your website with original, insightful, and interesting content for your target audience. At the same time, a high ranking in search results will tell consumers that Google views your business as legitimate and trustworthy. This will solidify you as a serious company in the minds of potential buyers.
While a large part of Google’s ranking algorithm isn’t released publicly (to stop companies from beating the system), many things that Google wants your website to do are transparent and ultimately beneficial for your company and customers. It’s only logical that search engines want their users to reach valuable websites with the content they were looking for.
While setting up their ranking algorithm, Google considers what kind of web experience they want to promote for their users. This is why a well-optimised and beautifully designed website will increase your Google rankings. We're talking about websites where the services and products on offer are clearly communicated and users can easily navigate to different parts of the website. When you craft a user experience that’s simple and enjoyable for users, Google’s indexing algorithm will be able to navigate it more efficiently as well as resulting in better rankings too.
What Does An SEO Consultant Do?
We’ve talked a lot about what an SEO consultant achieves for your company but what do they actually do day-to-day?
You may have already heard about “on-site” and “off-site” SEO. The on-site part of the work includes changes and improvements made to your existing content to ensure that it’s optimised for search engines. In other words, an SEO consultant will tweak your pages to make their purpose clear to search engines. They do this by changing the website structure, inserting the right keywords, creating more internal links, rewriting image alt attributes, etc.
We’ve already mentioned them and that’s because keywords are essential to your website’s SEO efforts. They attract potential customers that are looking for specific information or products. They show search engines what your website is about so that it’s presented to the proper target audience.
You can work on the technical side of SEO all you want, but all of it would be useless without the right content. At the end of the day, that’s what search engines value the most - original, useful content.
Suppose you’re running a home renovation business. You would constantly need to update your website with useful home renovation tips, such as examples of your previous work and blog posts about interior and exterior designs. An SEO consultant can follow keyword trends and recommend topics for you to work on or even create content for you.
That way, people looking for specific information on home renovation would be naturally led to your website and once they’re there, and they are convinced of your knowledgeability, you’re more likely to convert them to paying customers.
Most of the work done by SEO consultants happens on your website. However, some efforts need to be made elsewhere to impact your rankings. For example, if you want to build your website up as an industry authority, you don’t just want Google to link to it.
You need links from other reputable, relevant, and high-traffic sites. If you provide content for these websites that organically links to your website content, you can achieve that. SEO consultants can handle these “link building” strategies and build up your website's reputation the right way. So next time you get stumped with your SEO strategy, why not consider the option of hiring an SEO consultant to do the heavy lifting for you!