At the beginning of an SEO campaign it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. For most, SEO is like a foreign language and understanding what it is and how it works can be daunting. When you start, you might find yourself faced with so much information, and have so many questions that seem impossible to find a clear and concise answer to.
“Why does SEO take so long?”
“When will my keywords rank in 1st position in Google?”
“Why are my SEO keywords dropping in ranks?”
“What in the world is an algorithm?”
Luckily, the digital marketing specialists at Be Media are continuously trialling new industry techniques, staying one step ahead of algorithm updates and constantly analysing key data… We know SEO can be confusing and intimidating, but worry not! We’ve put together this handy guide to answer your most frequently asked SEO questions.
What does SEO stand for?
Search engine optimisation, the process of optimising web pages for specific keywords and phrases. There is much more that can be bundled into SEO but to keep it super simple this is the summary.
Why is SEO such a long process?
With SEO, there is no quick fix, and anyone who promises you one, is lying to you.
Google’s primary objective is to deliver the best possible user experience to its searchers, answering their queries with highly relevant information at the exact times they’re searching for it. But how does Google know which websites are going to better answer user queries? It’s just a machine, after all…
Well, think of it this way, Google has a number of ‘boxes’ that a website needs to tick in order for it to rank higher in search results. These boxes include (but are in no way limited to): relevant and unique content posted regularly over time, site traffic volumes, technical on-site setup, mobile optimisation factors and overall user experience. If your website can tick all these boxes, it will be much more likely to rank higher in Google…
We told you it wasn’t an overnight process!
All these activities are carried out manually and continuously by SEO specialists who are trained to understand Google’s algorithms and how to leverage them to position your website in the best possible light. While you’ll never see immediate results through SEO, your continued investment in this process will pay dividends over time and position you above your competitors.
Do keyword rankings really matter?
Well, yes and no. Looking at keyword rankings in isolation will tell you nothing. It’s easy to look at keyword positioning as the be-all-and-end-all of your SEO campaign, but the true measures of success are and always have been traffic volumes, leads and sales. This means it’s important to focus on outcomes rather than outputs.
Obviously, it would be great for all your keywords to appear in Page 1 of Google, however this isn’t always realistic, particularly in highly competitive industries. Keyword rankings are important, but ranking higher in Google is only a side-effect of the real end game. Repeat after us: keyword rankings are only ever valuable when they increase traffic volumes, leads or sales to your business. Rankings in isolation add no real value to your business.
Understanding your keywords and matching the intent of your customers.
Let’s put it into perspective, you can rank on page 1 in Google very quickly for a completely abstract term, but if no one’s searching for it, then it will never increase traffic to your site or drive value for your business. If your keywords don’t capture what people are actually looking for when they’re seeking the products and services that you offer, then they are essentially redundant and your SEO investment would be better spent elsewhere.
When will my keywords rank #1 in Google?
You certainly can’t expect to see results straight away as SEO is a long term strategy. However, without giving too much away we’d like to go through white hat SEO techniques. These techniques will take your keywords longer to show up in Google results at the start, but in the long run these techniques provide stronger leads and sales, achieve and maintain better results and most importantly won’t get you penalised on Google.
White hat refers to any practice that improves your search performance on the SERP whilst maintaining the integrity of your website, these techniques include quality and unique content (no keyword stuffing), using descriptive keyword rich meta tags in on-site SEO set up and making your website as user friendly as possible, if these guidelines are followed your likelihood of ranking number one for primary keywords will increase significantly.
As we touched on, the ranking of your keyword at number one will depend on how generic the keyword is, how competitive it is, and how much your site has been optimised previously for this particular keyword or if we are starting from scratch. The last thing you want is to be penalised by Google for practising quick fix, black hat SEO practices as they are essentially a bandaid on a bullet hole; they might get you to page 1 quick, but you will get dropped just as fast.
Why are my SEO keywords dropping in ranks?
Keywords do drop from time to time and it’s not something you should be alarmed about. The main influences behind keyword drops are: Google algorithm updates, competitors, change of content, technical difficulties etc. Whilst your SEO specialist is in the midst of improving your keywords during these environmental factors, if you still bring the leads and sales through organic search then remember your campaign is most definitely still working!
What do backlinks do?
Backlinks are the equivalent to a thumbs up and share on Facebook. When you have some helpful content, other websites will and may link to your web pages to help their visitors find information. This is like an endorsement to Google telling them that you have good content.
We build backlinks on local directories to help increase a business’s online visibility and promote your website in front of people looking for your services. These directories provide backlinks in various forms of power. Backlinks are great to help provide your website with some trust signals from other websites.
What in the world is an algorithm?
Google is undeniably one of the best search engines in the world. With that in mind, its main objective is to deliver its users with the best results, as closely related to their search query as possible. This means Google has to constantly be prepared to change their algorithms in order to stay ahead of the game. The way we search is constantly changing and Google always needs to be one step ahead.
As an agency, we are always on top of algorithm updates and adapt our strategies much like Google adapts to changing search habits.
Now within that Google algorithm exists specific search type ecosystems. These ecosystems are built on relationships and signals. The below visual representation if for a local search ecosystem (US).
How do you deliver SEO services?
We have a set system that helps us to roll out new campaigns based on the client goals and type of client we work with. The process changes with different types of clients, for example an ecommerce client will be different to a local services client campaign. We would be focusing on different deliverables for each of these campaigns.
To provide an overview of what we do as the foundations of our service delivery, we use 5 core focus points when delivering organic campaigns:
- Client Market + Website Discovery
- Analysis of clients web assets
- Optimisation of client web assets
- Promotion of client web assets
- Seek out new opportunities for client
Within each of these core focus points, we have sub focus tasks that really allow for targeted campaign delivery.
The final take away we want to give you is simple; DON’T STOP YOUR SEO TOO SOON. Many people underestimate how much time and effort it takes to be successful with SEO and lose faith in the practice, all the while their competitors who invested in a long-term SEO strategy are reaping the rewards.
At Be Media we are in it for the long haul, we know that SEO is one of the best long term ROI strategies in the market for any business.