Understanding SEO Services & Search Engine Optimization
You know you need SEO, you even want to engage some SEO services, but the problem is… you’re not entirely sure what Search Engine Optimization is. Don’t worry, our handy guide is here to help.
Part of the job of any SEO Specialist is helping to pull back the curtain and shine a light on the perceived mystery of SEO. Nobody is expecting you to become an expert overnight, but if an SEO agency can’t explain what it is they’re doing, frankly they’re not doing their job right.
SEO isn’t some kind of exclusive magic. There’s no strange fairy dust that tells us the best search engine to optimize for in Malaysia, or secret handshake that gets us ranked. Yes, it’s a complex skill set that takes dedication to master, but understanding the basics is an important place to start.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is about making the most of your online presence. It’s about building, presenting and amplifying your website in a way that reaches as much of your desired audience as possible.
The ‘optimization’ comes from knowing and working by the rules that search engines like Google and Bing utilise to judge how valuable your website’s contribution is. That judgement is based on the relevance of your answer to a particular search query, and how much authority your website is deemed to have in answering that query.
Why does SEO matter?
Search engines are the digital curators of the internet. Ultimately they determine how high your website will rank in search results. That search engine ranking really does matter.
Each ranking on a search engine’s results page corresponds to an average ‘click through rate’. Basically that’s how many people see that result, then click on the link to go to your webpage. Where your website is on that ranking heavily impacts that share of digital traffic you enjoy.
- 30% of searchers click through to 1st place ranking
- ~17% of searchers click through to 2nd place ranking
- 12% of searchers click through to 3rd place ranking
- Less than 2% of people click through to a 9th or 10th place ranking
Almost 60% of traffic from search engines is gobbled up by the top 3 rankings in search engine results. With over 3.5 billion searches undertaken on Google every day, that’s a powerful argument for making sure you’re one of the top performers. No audience, no converted business results.
What makes good SEO?
There are a huge number of ranking factors which play into ‘good SEO’. Frankly it’s impossible to accurately pinpoint how each and every ranking factor impacts and interacts with each other. Aside from generating a feeling of barely repressed resentment in the SEO community, this state of affairs means that SEO is best broken down into some essential elements, and more broadly into some key influencing factors.
Relevance is a critical part of understanding search engine results. This frames the idea of search engines wishing to present the best possible answer to meet the needs of the searcher relevant to their query. Relevance is where good copy and understanding of keywords and searcher intent plays a big role. You want to know what it is your target audience are looking for, what keywords and terms they’re using to look for it, and then understand how best to provide high value content to answer their queries.
Reputation is the critical qualifier by which search engines understand the authority of your website to answer these queries. Think of it like wanting to get the first answer to your question from someone who is recognised as an expert on the subject. You wouldn’t go to speak to a nursery teacher about space travel if you had an astronaut handy. Reputation is framed by multiple factors, from how technically well-constructed your website is to how many backlinks and mentions it receives from other websites and domains. The better your digital reputation, the more likely it is that Google will choose you as the best answer for a query. After all, there are probably 40,000 people all trying to entice the same search audience with similar content.
This explanation of Relevance and Reputation offers a broad answer to what can at times be a complex field. Understanding these two key elements forms a pretty good basis to understand the key SEO services, and why they’re important.
What are the common SEO services?
SEO services come in all sorts of colours and flavours, from comprehensive web build packages to bespoke analysis and campaign tracking. Here’s a brief list of some common SEO services that fall under the umbrella.
Keyword research is a process whereby you undertake an analysis and exploration of the search terms and phrases that your target audience are looking for. SEO specialists will use software tools to both analyse the words and phrases that can direct web traffic, but also the competition for those phrases. It’s about strategic understanding of how to gain the most relevant traffic.
SEO copywriting is about creating well-written content that helps answer the specific queries of your target audience. Keywords play a big part in this, but ultimately it’s about great content that is of value to your reader. SEO copywriting is a crucial part of ensuring your on-page ranking factors, that is the various elements that constitute a webpage such as URL, title and web page content, are all crafted in the best possible way for search engine optimization.
SEO audits are a process of analysing and understanding your current online presence. It’s basically assessing your digital delivery as it stands, looking at how optimized your current website is, and then hopefully using that as a springboard to improve your SEO.
SEO analysis of competitors
A competitor SEO analysis is similar to undertaking an SEO audit, but instead of assessing your own website, you’re assessing that of your key competitors. Like an SEO audit, this competitor analysis can provide powerful insight into how to improve your own SEO efforts.
SEO website build
A full website build is like constructing your digital real estate from scratch. This combines all the key elements from the SEO services mentioned above. An SEO agency can craft everything from the appropriate technical foundations to best-practice copywriting to ensure your online presence is fully search engine optimized.
SEO campaign tracking
Finally, the full works with bells on top would be a comprehensive SEO campaign. This is about comprehensive and detailed optimization and tracking of your online performance, from understanding keywords and competitor performance to tracking the changes in your own performance over a period of time.
SEO should be a thing you’re doing, not a thing you’ve done.
SEO is not something that delivers immediate results over night. While the SEO services above can provide a powerful boost to your online presence, a comprehensive SEO campaign is about understanding and nurturing that growth over an appropriate period of time.
Hopefully whichever SEO services you are looking for, this guide should have given you some insight into what exactly search engine optimization is, and what services might work best for you.
Think back to those ranking factors: SEO really does matter. Now you understand why, hopefully it matters a little bit more to you too.