SEO support & advice. Something for your business?
Starting SEO for your business can be a huge step. It takes time, money and effort to make your website rank higher in Google (or Bing). The question of whether to do it yourself or outsource is an important one. In addition, you want to get an idea of the pros and cons of SEO and it is good to know what is involved. That is why this article. We explain what SEO is and what a common approach is for whether or not to outsource SEO to an agency.
What is SEO?
The term ‘SEO’ originates from before the Google era. Already in 1997 Search Engine Optimization is written about. This is the process of optimising a website or page in order to organically get higher rankings in the results page of a search engine. These used to be DMoz, Altavista and Yahoo, but nowadays Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex and Youtube are the larger search engines. A higher position is expected to lead more organic traffic to a website. This makes SEO interesting from a commercial point of view, because more traffic means more sales in many cases.
Definition of SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which in practice is about increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to a website through organic search results.
What is the purpose of SEO?
Search engine optimisation is not a goal in itself. In almost all cases, the use of SEO is intended to achieve other goals. This often has to do with business objectives. These objectives are different for each company. The most common goals are: more traffic, lead generation, branding, sales and reputation management.
#1 More traffic
Aiming for more traffic usually applies to websites that live on advertising revenue. Think of newspapers and blogs. By increasing the number of organic visitors, the advertisements on the website are seen more often, are clicked on more often and have a greater financial return.
#2 Lead generation
A logical second goal is lead generation. It is not so much the amount of traffic but the intention of the user that is important. Lead generation is often used in the Business to Business sector. SEO is used to be found on specific keywords.
Search engine optimisation does not only consist of keywords. It is (fortunately) more than that. It is increasingly important to improve the user experience on your website. When you are building a brand, how people experience your website is of great importance. An SEO specialist can help with this.
#4 E-commerce sales
Besides lead generation, increasing e-commerce sales is the most applied (commercial) goal of SEO. The quality of the traffic that you can lead to a website by optimising product pages is enormous. More and more people are buying online and it is expected that in 2040 about 95% of all purchases will take place online.
#5 Reputation Management
Last but not least, search engine optimisation can be used for reputation management. This can be done for both companies and individuals. This is often used when negative news is published. Through SEO, this negative news can be pushed to the second or third page of Google, making the bad news less prominent in the search engine.
Of course, it may be that multiple goals are pursued. For example, you may very well want to generate more sales through branding. This is different for every company and is therefore not just one goal.
What are the benefits of SEO?
Search engine optimisation should not be considered separately from a larger inbound or online marketing strategy. It is one of the components that together provide a greater reach and more revenue. But SEO does have its advantages compared to, for example, Google Ads or social media advertising.
SEO is permanent
Search engine optimisation fits very well into a long-term strategy. When you optimise a website for search engines, you don’t (usually) expect to see an immediate result. It takes weeks, months, sometimes years to achieve. But once you have achieved this, the traffic and the resulting turnover will be stable and for the long term.
SEO ensures relevant traffic
A lot of traffic to your website is nice, but relevant traffic is nicer. By investing in improving your organic position on keywords that are valuable to you, you ensure that more relevant traffic comes to your website. Relevant traffic has the advantage that it is looking for your product or service. This traffic converts well and is therefore the most profitable.
SEO is “free”
If your organic position has improved or if you have reached the coveted number 1 position for a high volume keyword, all visitors who come in via that route are “free”.
Of course, it is not really free. The investment that preceded it should not be forgotten. Search engine optimisation is therefore known as a sustainable investment that pays off over a long period.
In the long run, investing in SEO ensures more relevant traffic that costs you nothing. To get there, however, you have to consider an investment. A high position in Google or Bing does not happen by itself.
What are the disadvantages of SEO?
Every advantage has a disadvantage, as well as search engine optimisation. Apart from the fact that it requires an investment, there are also a few other disadvantages to investing in improving your website for search engines.
SEO is not 100% measurable
Where you can print an accurate report to the letter with Google Ads, you can’t do this with search engine optimisation. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools give you insight into the keywords, search volume, number of clicks, CTR and your average position. However, the keywords are kept general. This means you will never get an exact answer to the question of which words convert the best. For this you need Google Ads.
A search engine optimisation specialist is dependent on the algorithm of the search engine. Although it is known what the most important elements are and what you should pay attention to, it is impossible to comply with all 200+ factors that are incorporated in the algorithm. This is one of the reasons why (almost) no guarantees can be given for achieving a certain position or a certain amount of traffic. Let alone achieving a certain turnover.
In short, SEO does have its disadvantages. Besides the fact that it is not 100% measurable, time-consuming and no guarantees can be given, a healthy dose of knowledge and understanding is required to make a website easily findable. An SEO specialist can help with this.
The 4 pillars of SEO
Now that we know which advantages and disadvantages search engine optimisation has, we can look further. SEO is more than just writing a nice text. To be easily found you need to take into account four pillars that together ensure that your website will be found better. In short, these are technique, content, authority and user experience. The better you organize these pillars, the greater the chance that your website will work for you.
Within technology there are a number of components that affect your rankings within a search engine. Most of these components are set correctly by default by a CMS. To determine whether the technique of a website is in order, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- Can a search engine crawl your website?
- Is your website indexable?
- Is your website responsive?
- Is your website fast?
- Is the URL structure logical?
- Are all pages accessible through the menu or footer?
If these answers are positive, then you have a solid basis for a well findable website.
For Google and others it is all about showing the most relevant results based on a search query.
based on a search query. Where Google used to index pages in the past, it will (probably) move more and more towards a passage or answer based search engine. This with the aim of keeping you in the search engine for as long as possible. After all, you no longer need to ‘go to a website’ if the search engine already provides the answer to your question. However, your content must be top notch to provide such an answer.
This means that there should be enough words on the page for a search engine to understand what the page is about. There needs to be structure in the page through the use of headers and preferably images and/or videos.
Ideally, your content should be considered valuable by your audience. So don’t write for search engines but for people. If your content is valuable enough, people will link to your website. This in turn is relevant for the next column.
The authority of a website is not so much determined by a search engine but rather by the number of links that point to a website. Not only the number of links but also the quality plays a role. When a website has links from other authoritative websites, then those links have more weight than links from a less authoritative website. So you can imagine that a link from Belastingdienst.nl has more value than a link from a local hairdresser.
The activity that goes with generating links is called link building. There are various techniques that ensure that you get valuable and less valuable links to a website. By investing in a technically well-functioning website, the right content and authority you will usually rise in the search results.
How a user experiences your website also affects your position in the search results. Several technical and non-technical metrics ensure that a search engine can assess whether a website has a positive user experience. Think of page speed, mobile usability, layout of a page, the bounce rate (supposed) and the URL structure.
Useful approach SEO
Now that we know which parts (pillars) are important to get a website higher in Google, the next question is: how do you approach this? As a company you have to consider whether you hire an SEO agency, whether you do SEO yourself or that you improve your website step by step with guidance.
Assigning an SEO agency
The advantage of using an SEO agency is that you (in most cases) directly deal with experts. The results that you can expect from an SEO agency are often faster than when you do your own research. However, this does come with an investment. Search engine optimisation is a long-term strategy and not just a few clicks away. For this reason, we work with a monthly retainer whereby changes are made every month to improve rankings.
In addition, you must take into account that an agency can never do everything for you. Together you try to achieve the best possible result with the resources you have. Here, 80% of the work comes from the agency and you will have to provide 20% yourself if you want to reach the absolute top.
Optimizing your website for search engines is very well possible. There are several accessible online resources that provide valuable SEO information. Think of blogs, online courses and video instructions on Youtube. The advantage of optimising your website yourself is that you already have a very good idea of your audience and the things they are looking for. This will help you quickly in the process. A disadvantage is that you probably do not have the goal of becoming an SEO expert. In addition, it will probably cost you a lot of time and energy to grow your business in this way.
SEO under the guidance of an expert
A third option to improve the findability of your website is to hire an SEO expert who guides you in improving your website. This is a middle course. The expert gives you assignments on the basis of a plan that you have to carry out yourself. If you do this well, the knife cuts both ways. You quickly learn how to make a website more findable and you immediately benefit from the improvements.
Do you want to know more about SEO and what we can do for you? Please contact us for an exploratory meeting.