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What does SEO mean and what does it do for your business?

By Daniel O’Connor, Co-Founder

Someone once described the internet as six billion people on soap boxes all shouting at once. Some of them want to sell you their services. Some of them want to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge and some just want to show you a photo of their dinner. If the internet was transposed into sound it would be an endless cacophony of voices.

However, there are just as many people listening as there are speaking and, with the right strategy, you can reach the exact people who you need to hear your message. There has never been a better platform for reaching a specific audience in the history of communication. So, how do you cut through all that noise and get your message to your target audience?

The answer is – Search Engine Optimisation.

Search Engines and Page Ranking

When you look for anything online you use a search engine. Google is the world’s most popular search engine – who has over 75% of the market. Google, like every search engine, uses a series of algorithms that scan every available page on the internet and present you with a list of pages that mentions your search terms. Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine how pages are ranked.

Those websites closer to the top of the search results will get more traffic. In fact, it helps if you’re on the first page of any search. The data shows that almost everybody stops after the second page of any search engine.

Think about the last five things you searched for online. When was the last time you went beyond the second page of your search? Most of us stop at the bottom of the first page. If we find ourselves on the third of fourth page we’re either obsessed or in desperate need of getting out more (even in lockdown).

google search box

Hold the First Page!

So, the big question for most online businesses is – how do I get my site onto that first page every time someone looks for the goods or services I provide? This is the crux of all SEO. The answer is neither easy nor simple. But, let’s face it, it was never going to be was it. If it was, you’d already be doing it and I’d be doing something else for a living.

The basis for the answer lies in three areas. The way people search for things online. The things they type into a search engine when they’re looking. And what the algorithm looks for when it’s deciding on the page rankings. Once you have as much of this information as you can get, you can then begin to come up with a series of words and phrases that will get the content of your site noticed. Building on that, you’ll need to include a series of links and hyperlinks, within the body of your content, that take the reader to other parts of your website and to other sites that support the ideas and claims you’re making. Finally you need to make sure your content is regularly shared on as many online platforms as possible, from Twitter and LinkedIn to the leading lights of the blogosphere.

And if you think that sounds complex, trust me, I have only just scratched the surface. For one thing, the terms and phrases that people search for change all the time. So do the algorithms search engines use, as does the way the algorithms work. To get SEO right, you have to be constantly on top of those changes.

man holding facebook binoculars

The art of SEO

I’ve said before, on this blog, SEO is as much an art as it is a science. What I’ve described above is the science part. The art comes from how you use this knowledge to create content for your site. You can’t just string a load of phrases and links together without running the risk of sounding like gibberish. You need to weave it all into a coherent text that grabs the user’s interest and keeps them scrolling through your site. If you get this right, and create compelling content that utilises the latest SEO technology, then the chances are your page rankings will be pretty high. But not as high as you might want.

If by now you’re throwing up your hands and shaking your head, don’t worry. Like I said before, if this was easy I wouldn’t have a job. To get the very best out of your SEO you need to turn your website content into Thought Leadership.

What Thought Leadership can do for your organisation

Thought leaders don’t just comment on their industry or their specialised field. They set the agenda for everyone else working in that field. They provide the insights, the information and the research that shapes the market. They are the people that everyone pays attention to, because where they lead, all their peers and competitors will follow.

This might sound a little daunting at first, but don’t worry. Trust me when I say you already have all the knowledge, expertise and insight within your organisation to become a thought leader. All you need is someone to help you bring it all together. When you combine thought leadership content with search engine optimisation, and you get it right, then your page rankings will always be stellar.

As you’ve probably guessed, this is where we come in. At Transform Digital we pride ourselves on staying on top of the very latest development in SEO. While our sister company Transform Communications are experts in Thought Leadership campaigns.

If you have any interest in search engine optimisation, Thought Leadership or any of the other issues I’ve covered above, then we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line or give us a call and we can get a conversation going.

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