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What is SEO and Why is it Critical for an SME?

What is SEO?

You’ve probably heard a number of people talk about SEO in reference to websites and blogs. But what actually is SEO, and why is it important?

SEO (or search engine optimisation) is the process of increasing the visibility of a webpage on the unpaid results page of a search engine – such as Google. By understanding how search engines work, it is possible to make a website or webpage rank higher on a results page.

Search engines such as Google rank pages based on how relevant they are to the actual search and how authoritative they are. SEO looks to greatly increase both of these factors in order to make the website rank higher – and thus make it far more likely to be seen by potential visitors.

Why is SEO Important?

Ask yourself, when was the last time you looked past the second results page on Google to find what you were searching for? Chances are you can’t remember. Without being optimised, your website runs the risk of becoming just another one of those millions of unseen sites on the back end of the results pages, meaning losing out on all those potential visitors to higher ranking competitors.

No matter how fantastic your product or how pretty your website may look, without SEO very few people will ever get to experience it.

What Makes a Webpage Relevant?

Relevancy is affected by a series of ever evolving elements that search engines examine when ranking webpages. One example of such an SEO element is ‘keywords’. These are words you can associate with the webpage; the search engine will then examine these keywords in different ways such as the context in which they are used or how related they are to the actual search. This is part of its ranking process to determine where each site should appear on the results page, so that users get access to the content they actually want to see without having to search through hundreds of irrelevant pages. However, keywords are just a tiny piece of the puzzle.

Search engines such as Google are always updating the way they interpret a website’s relevance to the original search with new algorithms – meaning effective SEO is an ever-changing and continuous process.

What are Google's algorithms?

What Makes a Webpage Authoritative?

A page with a higher number of quality incoming links will be ranked higher than one with less. This means having links to relevant pages from places such as Twitter and Facebook and other sites. In order for these links to be shared, or for other sites to actually want to link their own visitors to your site, you need good quality content that visitors will be interested in. This means knowing your target audience well and focusing your content around their needs and wants. Google notices when links to your page are being created and shared, and will rank you higher in return.

Why is This Important to an SME?

It’s no secret that we now live in a digital age. As other classic mediums of marketing begin to lose their effectiveness and we hear about the gradual death of the high street store, people are turning to the web to get their products and services out there.

These days far too many small to medium sized enterprises rely on PPC advertising to bring in visitors to their website. This is all very well and good if you have a large marketing budget. However, very few SMEs actually have the capital to justify or maintain a constant and competitive PPC campaign. As others join the market you’ll find yourself competing for the ad space at an ever increasing price.

In the long run, SEO is a far more cost effective and useful digital tool for an SME to wield, levelling the playing field and allowing them to compete with much larger companies.

Summary

Once you understand what SEO is, you can begin to understand its importance. Working effectively with SEO involves a thorough understanding of its parameters, and this is something that Impact Digital Marketing can support your business with. Contact us if you’d like to learn more.

Ryan Sedgwick
Managing Director & Marketing Consultant at Impact Digital Markeitng
A Chartered Marketer, Ryan has gained extensive B2B and B2C marketing experience working across a broad spectrum of industries. Having graduated with a Masters in Marketing Communications from the University of Huddersfield, Ryan successfully utilises his skills and knowledge to effectively support businesses in getting the most from their marketing investments.