If you’re looking to build you company’s online presence, you’re going to need to understand the importance of SEO to get traffic from the number one source: search engines. Although other areas of the web such as social media are growing in popularity and importance, for the time being organic searches are still the number one provider of website traffic.
Think of search engines like tour guides. They help lost travelers who approach them with a vague idea of what they want and then point them in the right direction. How do you make them point the travelers in your direction? You make them think your website is worth the lost tourist going to. Reputation, organization and popularity are all important aspects to make this happen.
To build these, you need to show Google and friends that you can be trusted. No underhand tactics such as excessive hidden text and showing search engines a different version of a website that you show a human. It’s been shown time and time again that sites do get caught out, leading to sandboxing, SERPs punishments or even temporary bans.
Make sure your website hierarchy is in an easy to understand and usability-friendly layout — think
site.com/subject/focus-of-subject.html rather than
site.com/134/rele?fl.html. The first is easier for everyone to understand — men and spiders alike — so should be used at all time.
Also ensure that your pages have backlinks. The higher quality they are, the better. The more targeted the keywords, the better. The recent Google content farm crackdown has led to huge changes in the way shallow-content sites provide link juice, so make sure your linkbuilding activities are up-to-date and effective.
The most important thing, however, is to make sure the search engines send the right people your way. If users are interested in flights but are being shown a site about hotels, they’re going to leave. You may have momentarily had them on your site, but that’s going to do nothing but increase your bounce rate and decrease your conversion rate.
To stop this happening, you need to do two things. Research your customers and research potential keywords. Let’s say you’re selling rooms in a five star hotel. You know that your customers are likely to be travelers, with lots of money who are possibly on business excursions. There’s no point trying to rank for a term such as ‘budget hotels’ no matter how easy you think it’ll be, because people looking for that kind of accommodation will leave as soon as they see your brand name or price list.
As well as making sure the right people find your site, you need to make sure those people find the right part of your site. Two of the main types of searchers are people looking for information and those looking to buy. If someone is trying to research a product, they’re going to be put off if they’re taken directly to a sales page. Likewise, someone’s impulse to buy may be dampened if they aren’t given that opportunity straightaway. That’s why it’s important to make sure your SEO campaign is working on different pages of your site for varying, but similar, search terms.
With a well thought out and well planned online strategy becomes a priority once you know the importance of SEO. Without it, your website can flounder, picking up only the odd straggler or those who know your brand well enough to go straight to your site. With a well-balanced, white hat approach to SEO you can see a huge surge not only in traffic coming to your site, but targeted, interested traffic.