Once you’ve built a website, it’s easy to think your website is now complete. After all, customers will simply flock to your business – right? In fact, developing a strong digital presence takes more work than that. But one of the best ways to start is by using SEO techniques. In this article, we’ll look at some of those techniques. Then we’ll focus on the benefits and the costs of SEO.
What is Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation is the full name for SEO. It’s all about improving your website, its content and its backlinks to appeal to the search engines. The aim is to get your site to rank higher in the search results. Ultimately, that should lead to more visitors – and more sales!
There are actually two types of SEO – on-page SEO, and off-page SEO.
On-page search engine optimisation refers to changes you can make on your own site. If possible, try to think about SEO before you even position your business online. Pick a domain name that includes keywords related to your sector. This can make it more likely that your site will rank well.
Helpful hint: Keywords are the words (or phrases) that real people enter into search engines.
You should also think about keywords whenever you create a new webpage on your site. Try to give each page a unique, keyword-rich URL. Here’s an example that would work perfectly for a business selling cheap flights to London: example.com/cheap-flights-london
Helpful hint: To get the best benefits of SEO in the UAE, choose a .ae domain name. This could boost your position in the search results displayed to Emirati internet users.
Having the perfect domain name and URLs is only the start. High-quality content also supports a higher search position. It’s important to focus on relevant content, to help the search engines understand what your website is all about. Your content should also include keywords linked to your products or services.
Finally, on-page search engine optimisation should include technical, behind-the-scenes changes. For example, you could switch to a web hosting provider that uses faster servers, to boost your page-load times. Or, you could use 301 redirects to help visitors (and Google) find moved content.
Off-page SEO is often called link building. Link building is all about trying to get more high-quality backlinks for your website, to improve its search position. Search engines like Google keep track of how many backlinks each website has. If your website has lots of links from other sites, then that’s a great sign that it contains high-quality content. As such, the search engines are more likely to rank your pages higher in their results.
Some backlinks are better than others. A backlink from a big, established and respectable site is worth a lot. But a link from a small, brand-new or disreputable website won’t help you much. In the worst cases, backlinks can actually be damaging. That’s why you need to take care only to encourage links from high-quality sources.
Helpful hint: Some businesses buy extra backlinks. While this can offer short-term benefits, it can also be risky. Google sometimes applies penalties to websites with unnatural (paid) backlinks from disreputable sources.
Top Benefits of SEO
The top benefit of SEO is obvious – a better position in the search results. But what does this mean, in practice?
Getting on the first page of the Google search results counts for a lot. If you make it, you could expect to receive far more clicks, leading to more visitors on your website. But SEO is about more than increasing your website traffic. Optimising your site to rank for the best search terms will also lead to better quality traffic.
To explain this, let’s look at our example of the business selling cheap flights to London. Optimising their content around the words ‘flights London’ could bring a lot of traffic. But many of those visitors could be looking for first or business-class flights. Focusing on the right keywords, ‘cheap flights London’, would deliver better results. This way, the business should attract visitors looking for exactlywhat it sells.
What is the Cost of SEO?
There is confusion around how much SEO cost. The truth is, you can spend as much, or as little, on SEO as you want. This depends largely on how much of the work you can do yourself.
If you’re confident about configuring your own website, then you could handle the technical SEO yourself. If not, then you’ll need to bring in a web developer to help out. Likewise, if you’re a talented writer, then you may be able to create SEO website content yourself. If not, then you’ll need to hire a freelance copywriter. If you don’t have the time to manage freelancers, then you could outsource all your SEO to an agency. But keep in mind, this is typically the most expensive option of all.
SEO: Costs vs Benefits
Ultimately, you need to weigh the cost of SEO against the benefits of better online exposure. As a minimum, every business should perform some basic optimisation. But if you’re serious about your online growth, then you’ll need to invest more time or money to achieve the best results.