What is SEO?
In a nutshell SEO or search engine optimisation is the practice of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or unpaid (organic) search results.
In the past SEO centred on improved rankings and thus greater levels of traffic to your website, it seemed like a simple formula. However, this formula lent no weight to the quality of the traffic in relation to actual business objectives. Things like conversions, revenue and repeat business; ultimately the KPIs that affect your bottom line.
Nowadays SEO takes a multi-faceted approach when it comes to promoting your business on the web. This discipline focuses on building high-quality content, to meet the searchers intent, on optimising the user experience to aid visitors and increase conversions, and on promoting your brand amongst well-known media outlets.
Search engine optimisation is an investment with a high return. Increasing the visibility of your website within search results for topics pertinent to your target audience is one of the most cost-effective ways to bring new customers to your business.
The following graph shows organic search engine traffic for a business we have been working with for almost four years. The website was completely new at the start of the campaign and has had no other marketing activities, digital or otherwise, performed during this time.
Note: Since starting SEO work in February 2014 the website has seen a consistent increase in traffic each month, with a seasonal dip during December each year the only exception.
Search engine optimisation is one of the best ways to gain new customers because it’s rooted in user intent. Unlike traditional marketing techniques, which are based on interrupting a prospect with a sales pitch, SEO seeks to meet the user’s intent with a message that correlates with their needs.
The Bigger Picture
SEO is no longer about optimising for individual keywords or phrases. It’s about providing content that solves a problem and meets the searcher's requirements. That problem might be an informational gap, a how-to guide or some amazing imagery.
This content is tracked not based on one or two keywords but hundreds or thousands of keywords relevant to the topic at hand, providing an overall level of visibility or share of voice. Gap analysis also works to highlight key content areas not currently being addressed through either your own or competitor websites.
There are natural benefits to operating in this manner. Content that solves a problem when seeded out to the right locations typically garners social sharing and backlinks before any offsite promotion has even begun.
Offsite promotion leverages press and influential bloggers to build your brand. This not only increases your visibility within search engines but also provides referral traffic for your website, something more akin to traditional PR but with an added level of targeting.
At Tilious our KPIs reflect areas that actually add value to your business. We’re not so interested in vanity metrics, such as links and rankings. Instead, we choose to focus on marketing KPIs, like visits, and business KPIs, like conversions, average order value, retention and return on investment.
How long it will take to hit targets and achieve specific results has always been one of the trickier questions when it comes to planning an organic search marketing campaign. Of course, the answer will be specific to your particular situation; for example, it can take a brand new website six months to start showing significant visibility improvements whilst an established web property might see the same results in just three months. Your competition, market sector and time allocation for your campaign will also be pivotal factors when discussing the time frame.