Recently a client contacted me with a question - "How can I do SEO on my website?" They'd been contacted by one of the many snake oil salesmen lurking around the internet, who'd promised the world for (of course) an exorbitant ongoing monthly fee.
I was happy to advise the client - "You're already doing it!"
First - what is SEO?
Well, there's SEO, and then there's SEM, and it's important to understand the difference.
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation. Search engines want to provide the best results for user queries. SEO is about making your website easy for search engines to find, understand and index, so you can be included in their best results.
SEM is Search Engine Marketing. This is about purchasing advertising space, so your website will appear in relevant search results.
A lot of the time, these people are actually trying to sell you SEM, not SEO. They want to run ads for you (and take a healthy cut off the top).
The best person to do SEO, is your website developer. The problem is, today it's pretty easy to build a quick, cheap website using one of the many website builders out there. Too often, these sites aren't planned with SEO in mind and people think they can just whip up a site and throw together some ads and voila! Instant riches!
Unfortunately, not. In the words of Steve Jobs:
Inevitably, one day the cheap website owner will want more traffic and will think they have to venture down the SEM path. Unfortunately, SEM alone is rarely a successful long-term strategy. There's no doubt, if you're a large company with a huge marketing budget then expensive SEM will definitely help attract eyes - but for most small businesses, you can't afford to do this long-term.
Getting SEO right can be game-changing.
If people can find your website without an ad, that's better than the alternative, right?
No amount of SEM is going to improve the SEO of a poorly designed website. If somebody offers you SEM without a strategy, you are effectively just handing over your hard-earned $. Google uses over 200 algorithms to determine search results, and while they'll happily take your $ and your ads will be seen, as soon as the ads stop, with poor SEO so will exposure.
The good news is, SEO isn't that hard, particularly if it's done when the site is first built. We have a bunch of client sites that successfully appear on Google when they're searched, and they haven't spent a cent on SEM.
Each page can be appropriately tagged for search engine indexing, and once the site has a few other features included such as an SSL certificate, site map, some Google tweaks and a bunch of other bits and pieces, you're well on the way to good SEO.
If your website is well designed, you're ALREADY doing SEO!
So the choice is yours - (1) a cheap site + expensive SEM, or (2) a professional site with inbuilt SEO which doesn't completely rely on SEM for exposure. If your choice is (2), feel free to get in touch :)
For more information please contact us.