SEO Buyers’ Guide

With around 90% of consumers beginning their buying journey online – it has put a huge focus on businesses being able to successfully market their products online. People will often research a brand, product or even service before making their final choice on whether they want to go through with the purchase or not.

With this huge online focus there is now more competition than ever online and businesses need to know the best way to increase their online visibility or risk not being able to grow. Enter SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Being able to cater your business to have an effective SEO is the number one way to stay in business – it’s either go digital or go dark.

We know that understanding the best move for your business isn’t easy, there are so many different routes to go down and it’s hard to know from a glance which will be the most beneficial. So Vendo Digital has created a guide that goes over all the basics of SEO, how SEO is effective for your business and how to best maximise your efforts for your business.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your digital visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) through a variety of organic or non-paid website optimisations. The whole goal with SEO is to be as close to the number one ranking result when someone searches for your business. Very rarely will people go to the second page, you need to be at the top to make sure you are driving relevant traffic your way. SEO aims to boost your search ranking so when people search online for your product or service, it is your business that stands above others as a trustworthy business that people know and love.

Who Needs SEO?

SEO is vital for a wide range of individuals and organisations who wish to ensure their website is easily discoverable in search engine results. This encompasses businesses of all sizes, bloggers, online retailers, news providers, service providers, and virtually any entity aiming to enhance their online presence and reach. 

For businesses, SEO is crucial in attracting potential customers by making their products or services more visible in online search results. This visibility is especially important in highly competitive markets where being easily found online can be the difference between success and obscurity.

Bloggers and content creators benefit from SEO by gaining a larger audience for their articles, videos, or other content. This increased visibility can lead to higher engagement, more followers, and potentially, opportunities for monetisation.

Online retailers need SEO to stand out in a crowded e-commerce landscape. By optimising their sites, they can attract more traffic, which can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.

Information and service providers, such as news websites, educational platforms, or professional services firms, also rely on SEO to ensure their valuable content and offerings reach their target audience effectively.

In essence, SEO is a fundamental tool for anyone seeking to maximise their online visibility and effectiveness. It’s about making sure that when people search for products, services, or information relevant to what you offer, your site appears prominently in the search results, thus increasing the likelihood of attracting visitors and converting them into customers or followers.

How Does SEO Work?

Search Engines such as Google and Bing have three main jobs.

That’s it!

When search engines are finding the best pages for the user they are looking at hundreds of different ranking factors.

Web Crawl

A web crawl is a process used by search engines to systematically browse the World Wide Web for the purpose of indexing its content. This is done by an automated program known as a web crawler, spider, or bot. Here’s how it typically works:
The ultimate goal of web crawling is to have an updated database of all accessible web content to improve the search engine’s ability to return relevant and timely results to user queries.

Index

After a website has been crawled by a search engine, the next step is indexing the information gathered during the crawl. Here’s a basic overview of this process:
The indexing process is crucial because it organises the vast amount of information on the web in a way that makes it easily retrievable and relevant to the user’s search query. This process is what allows a search engine to quickly provide relevant, organised, and ranked search results out of the billions of pages available on the internet.
Boost your ranking and revenue with a customised SEO strategy. Choose the SEO service that generates meaningful web traffic for your business. Book your FREE consultation with an expert today.

What are the three main types of SEO?

To fully maximise your SEO efforts there are two different areas to focus in: On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO and Technical SEO.

On-Page

This is the process of optimising your website. This includes making sure every page has relevant and optimised meta data, images have alt tags, there is a great internal linking structure throughout the site

Off-Page SEO

This is the collection of strategies you undertake to promote your content and build links from other websites back to your site. This involves link building, digital PR, social media marketing and other techniques.

Technical SEO

These are activities – like on-page SEO – that are on your website that directly impacts the indexing and crawling of your site by search engines. This involves structured data, using canonical tags on pages, creating a XML Sitemap and more.
It is important to know that to fully utilise an effective SEO strategy – you can’t just pick On-Page, Off-Page or Technical SEO – you need both to establish your brand authority and rise above the business competition.

How Does SEO Work?

By utilising a good SEO focus on your website – you are sure to see traffic come through to your site and your brand will grow. Unlike paid marketing, like running a Google Ads campaign, however you won’t see instant effects.

There is no exact time frame that can be given to give you an understanding of how long your SEO efforts will take. Some companies can see results in a few weeks, typically this is true for a more established brand that has a mature site or if the business is not in a competitive industry, and others if it can take several months and sometimes longer.  

Therefore to fully maximise your marketing efforts it is a great idea to build out your SEO while running paid ads such as social media ads. You will see the instant results from your paid campaigns while you’re optimising your sites and then before you know it you are bringing in passive leads and conversions. With paid ads, the second you turn it off you stop seeing results, whereas if you have built up a great SEO then you are building up a great foundation that will still see results even if you don’t continuously optimise.

How Often Do I Need to Optimise My SEO?

Updating your SEO strategy is an ongoing process, rather than a one-time task. The frequency of updates depends on various factors including changes in search engine algorithms, your website’s performance, competition, and the dynamics of your industry. Here’s a more detailed look:

Search Engine Algorithm
Updates

Search engines like Google frequently update their algorithms to improve user experience and provide the most relevant search results. These updates can affect how websites are ranked. It’s important to stay informed about these updates and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. Major updates might require significant changes, while minor ones might only need small tweaks.

Website Performance Metrics

Regularly monitor your website’s performance metrics, such as organic traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, and keyword rankings. If you notice a significant change in these metrics, it might be time to update your SEO strategy. For instance, a drop in rankings for your key keywords would indicate a need to revise your content or on-page SEO tactics.

Industry Changes and Trends

In fast-evolving industries, it’s crucial to update your SEO strategy more frequently to remain competitive. This includes updating keywords to match current trends, revising content to reflect industry changes, and ensuring your website aligns with the latest user search behaviours.

Content Updates

The freshness of content is a factor in search rankings. Regularly updating your website with new, high-quality content is beneficial. This could be in the form of blog posts, new web pages, updated product information, etc. Also, revisit old content to update it with current information and ensure it remains relevant and accurate.

Technical SEO

Aspects like site speed, mobile responsiveness, and user experience are crucial for good SEO. Technologies and best practices in these areas evolve, so it’s important to periodically review and update the technical aspects of your website.

Competitor Analysis

Keep an eye on your competitors’ SEO strategies. If they make changes that significantly improve their rankings, you might need to adjust your strategy to keep up or stay ahead.

Link Profile

Regularly review and update your link profile. Acquire new, high-quality backlinks and remove or disavow low-quality or spammy links.

Compliance with Guidelines

Ensure that your website stays compliant with the guidelines set by search engines, such as Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Non-compliance can result in penalties which can negatively impact your search rankings.
While there’s no set rule for how often you should update your SEO, a good practice is to review your SEO strategy at least quarterly. However, always be prepared to make immediate changes in response to major search engine algorithm updates, significant shifts in your website’s performance metrics, or notable changes in your industry. Regular updates and adjustments are key to maintaining and improving your search engine rankings and online visibility.
Boost your ranking and revenue with a customised SEO strategy. Choose the SEO service that generates meaningful web traffic for your business. Book your FREE consultation with an expert today.

What Ranking Factors Are There in SEO?

SEO ranking factors are the criteria applied by search engines when evaluating web pages to determine their position in search results. Understanding these factors is crucial for optimising a website effectively. Here are some key factors:

Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric that predicts how well a website will rank in search engine results. It’s based on several factors, including the age of the domain, its history, and the number and quality of backlinks. Websites with a higher DA are typically seen as more reputable and authoritative, and thus, are more likely to rank higher.

Keywords

The use of relevant keywords in your website’s content is essential. Keywords should match the terms and phrases that users are searching for. This includes their placement in titles, headers, body content, URLs, and meta descriptions. It’s important to use keywords naturally and avoid overstuffing, as search engines can penalise for keyword spamming.

Mobile-Friendly

With the increasing use of mobile devices to access the internet, having a mobile-friendly website is crucial. Search engines favour websites that are responsive, meaning they adapt and display well on various device sizes. Google, in particular, uses mobile-first indexing, meaning it predominantly uses the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking.

Backlinks

Backlinks, or inbound links from other websites, significantly impact SEO. Search engines view backlinks as a form of endorsement. The more high-quality, relevant backlinks a website has, the more trustworthy it appears, which can boost its rankings. The quality of backlinks is more important than quantity; links from reputable, high-authority sites are more valuable.
High-quality, relevant, and informative content is a cornerstone of SEO. Content should provide value to the user and be regularly updated. Search engines favour content that is well-structured, well-written, and comprehensive. This includes using appropriate headings, subheadings, and including images or videos to enhance the user experience.

Site Speed

Website loading speed is a significant ranking factor. Faster websites provide a better user experience, reducing bounce rates and improving the chances of engagement. Search engines, therefore, prioritise websites that load quickly. This can be improved by optimising images, using content delivery networks (CDNs), and minimising the use of heavy scripts.

Location

For local searches, location plays a crucial role. Local SEO involves optimising your website for specific localities. This can include having your business listed in local directories, including local keywords in your website’s content, and ensuring your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across the web.

Site Security

The security of a website, often indicated by HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), is a ranking factor. Websites with HTTPS encryption are favoured by search engines because they provide a secure connection, protecting users’ data. Sites without this may be penalised or marked as not secure, which can deter users and negatively impact rankings.
By focusing on these factors, you can improve your website’s SEO performance and enhance its visibility and ranking in search engine results.

How Effective is SEO?

When searching for a product – consumers are more likely to choose one of the top 5 suggestions. With a huge drop off in traffic as you go further down the page. Backlinko did a study where they looked at the Click Through Rate (CTR) of the first 10 organic search results and it shows the extent of how easily user traffic will drop depending on your ranking.

With the top 3 search results bringing in 54.4% of all clicks from the SERPs you see just how important it is to build up an effective SEO strategy to get your business the clicks that it deserves.

Where Does SEO Fit into Digital Marketing?

SEO is a vital component of any business’ digital marketing strategy but isn’t the only tool that companies should use to help grow their business online.

There are 2 main branches of marketing for you to consider – SEO and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing.

What Are the Key Differences Between SEO and PPC?

SEO and PPC are both digital marketing strategies used to increase visibility and traffic to websites, but they have some key differences:

Cost Structure

SEO: This is an organic approach, meaning you don’t pay for placement in search results. The costs associated with SEO are generally for the work involved in optimising the website, such as content creation, site optimisation, and link building. 

PPC: As the name suggests, you pay each time a user clicks on one of your ads. Costs can vary based on competition for keywords, quality of the ad, and other factors.

Traffic

SEO: Traffic from SEO is often referred to as “organic traffic.” It takes time to build up, but once your website ranks well for certain keywords, it can provide a steady flow of traffic.

PPC: Traffic is generally instantaneous. Once your PPC campaign is set up and live, your ads will start appearing, and you can begin getting clicks and traffic to your site immediately.

Time Frame for Results

SEO: It’s a long-term strategy. Significant improvements in search rankings can take weeks, months, or even longer. The benefits, however, are more enduring once high rankings are achieved.

PPC: Offers immediate results. As soon as your campaign starts, your ads appear in search results or on chosen websites, and you can see traffic and conversions almost immediately.

Targeting Options

SEO: Targets users based on their search queries. The goal is to appear for specific keywords that your target audience is searching for.

PPC: Allows for more granular targeting options including demographics, interests, location, and even retargeting (showing ads to people who have previously visited your website).

SEO: Organic listings appear below the paid ads on a search engine results page. The position is determined by the search engine’s algorithm and your website’s relevance and authority for the search query.

PPC: Ads typically appear at the top and bottom of search engine results pages, giving them higher visibility. The position of your ad can depend on the bid amount, ad quality, and competition for the keyword.

Sustainability

SEO: While it takes time and effort to get to the top of organic search results, once you’re there, you often maintain visibility even if you reduce your SEO efforts.

PPC: The moment you stop paying for clicks, your presence in the paid search results stops.

Credibility and Trust

SEO: Many users trust organic search results more than ads. Ranking highly in organic search can lend credibility and authority to your business.

PPC: While PPC ads are less trusted than organic results, they are an effective way to gain visibility and can be particularly useful for promotions, special offers, or targeting specific demographics.

SEO is a cost-effective but slower method to build traffic organically, best suited for long-term results. PPC, on the other hand, requires a budget to pay for clicks but can generate immediate traffic and is highly flexible in targeting. Often, a combination of both strategies is used to achieve a balanced and effective online marketing approach.

Should I Focus on PPC or SEO?

In an ideal world, as stated, it is best to run both PPC and SEO for your business. They go hand in hand and ensure that you are maximising your growth potential.

But what if you only had the budget to focus on one?

It depends on your exact personal situation as there is no ‘one answer to rule them all’ here. Typically however, having a focus on SEO straight away helps build up your brand and has a better effect when started as early as possible. While PPC is an instant effect but stays pretty linear, your SEO efforts will compound over time and bring in high volume traffic when fully optimised.

Where Does SEO Belong in Your Web Design?

The perfect website has the best balance between a beautiful web design and a strong SEO foundation. This means that you will have a high search volume of potential customers coming to your site and then having a good user experience. Bounce rate matters a lot in SEO so if you have a site that looks awful and people click off straight away, your SEO will be seriously affected.

It is important though to make sure before you even begin with web development that you have the structure of a good SEO going throughout the site.

Your outlined approach to SEO throughout the various stages of web design, development, and post-launch is comprehensive. Let’s explore these stages in more detail:

1. SEO During the Setup and Planning Phase

This phase lays the groundwork for a successful SEO strategy.

2. SEO During Design and Development

In this phase, SEO is integrated with the technical aspects of website development.

3. SEO After Website Launch

Post-launch, the focus is on maintaining and improving the website’s SEO standing.

4. Continuous Nature of SEO

As highlighted, SEO is not a one-off task. It’s an ongoing journey that requires continuous monitoring, adapting, and optimising to maintain and improve search engine rankings. Staying up-to-date with the latest search engine algorithms, understanding user behaviour, and responding to competitive movements are all part of maintaining a robust SEO strategy. This long-term commitment is essential to ensuring the website not only reaches a high ranking in search results but sustains it over time.

How SEO and Social Media Partner Together

SEO and Social Media, often considered distinct aspects of digital marketing, actually complement each other in multiple, impactful ways. SEO focuses on optimising your website to rank higher in search engine results, thus increasing organic traffic. Social media, on the other hand, is all about engagement, creating brand awareness, and driving traffic through social channels. When combined, they form a robust digital marketing strategy that can significantly amplify your brand’s online footprint.

Enhancing Visibility and Brand Recognition

Your social media presence can significantly influence your SEO efforts. Regularly sharing high-quality, SEO-optimised content on social media platforms not only engages your audience but also drives traffic back to your website. This increased traffic signals to search engines that your content is valuable, thus potentially improving your search rankings.

Keyword Synchronisation: Bridging Content and Conversations

Keywords play a pivotal role in both SEO and social media. By aligning the keywords used in your website’s content and those prevalent in social media conversations, you create a cohesive narrative. This synchronicity ensures that your brand stays relevant and visible across different online platforms.

Building Trust through Social Proof

Social media platforms are hotspots for building brand credibility. Reviews, shares, likes, and comments act as social proof, enhancing your brand’s reliability. High engagement rates on social media can indirectly boost your SEO by establishing your brand as an authority in your field, which is a key factor in search engine algorithms.

Leveraging Social Insights for SEO Enhancement

Social media is a goldmine for understanding audience preferences and trends. Insights gained from social interactions can inform your SEO strategy, helping you create content that resonates with your audience, answers their queries, and meets their needs. Incorporating SEO principles into your social media strategy ensures consistency in messaging and brand voice across all digital platforms. This unified brand experience fosters recognition and loyalty, encouraging more interactions and shares, which further boost your SEO efforts.

Is SEO Worth The Investment?

In an increasingly digital world, businesses are continuously seeking strategies to stand out online. One pivotal question that surfaces is: “Is SEO worth the investment?” 

SEO isn’t just a marketing tactic; it’s a long-term investment with a spectrum of benefits. Here’s a breakdown:

Short-Term Benefits

Long-Term Benefits

SEO is not just a worthwhile investment; it’s an integral component of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Its ability to deliver both immediate and long-lasting benefits, coupled with its impressive return on investment, makes SEO an indispensable tool for businesses looking to thrive in the digital age. The investment in SEO is not just about getting to the top of search results; it’s about establishing a dominant, enduring online presence that drives real business results.

Why Use an SEO Agency

Using an SEO agency brings several advantages:

Specialisation and Experience

Look for an agency with a proven track record in your industry or market sector.

Transparency and Reporting

Choose an agency that values transparency in its processes and provides comprehensive, understandable reporting.
Customer Service

Communication and Service

Ensure the agency is communicative, responsive, and willing to understand your specific needs and goals.

Ethical SEO Practices

The agency should use ethical, white-hat SEO techniques to avoid penalties from search engines.

Customised Strategies

Avoid one-size-fits-all solutions. The agency should offer tailored strategies that align with your business objectives.

Understanding Your Business

Do they understand what makes you special? What understanding do they have of the market you operate in – its best to go with someone who can achieve your goals from day 1.

Benefits of Using an SEO Agency

SEO and PPC are both digital marketing strategies used to increase visibility and traffic to websites, but they have some key differences:

Expertise and Experience

Agencies bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, staying abreast of the latest trends and algorithm updates.

Time and Resource
Efficiency

Outsourcing SEO frees up your internal resources, allowing you to focus on core business activities.

Advanced Tools
and Technologies

SEO agencies have access to advanced tools for analytics, keyword research, and performance tracking.

Better Results

With their expertise, SEO agencies can often achieve more significant and faster results in improving your search engine rankings and web traffic.

Cost-Effective

While there’s an upfront cost, the long-term ROI of professional SEO often outweighs the expense compared to in-house handling.

Continuous Optimisation

A SEO agency will continually refine your strategy, keeping you ahead in a competitive digital landscape.

Comprehensive Approach

Agencies typically offer a holistic approach, integrating SEO with other aspects of digital marketing for maximum impact.

Scalability

As your business grows, an SEO agency can adapt and scale your SEO strategy to suit changing needs and goals.
Boost your ranking and revenue with a customised SEO strategy. Choose the SEO service that generates meaningful web traffic for your business. Book your FREE consultation with an expert today.

Here’s an extensive checklist for you to take to ensure that a SEO agency is a good fit for your business: 

  1. Define Your SEO Goals: Clearly outline what you want to achieve with SEO – increased traffic, higher rankings, more leads, etc.
  2. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Determine which KPIs are most relevant to your goals (e.g., organic sessions, keyword rankings, conversion rate).
  3. Gather a List of Potential Agencies: Compile a list of SEO agencies through referrals, online searches, and industry sources.
  4. Check Agency Credentials: Look at their industry reputation, years in business, and any certifications or partnerships
  5. Review Case Studies and Client Testimonials: Assess their track record and experience in your industry.
  6. Ask for References: Request and contact references to get insights into the agency’s performance and client service.
  7. Inquire About Their SEO Strategy: Understand their approach to SEO and how it aligns with your business objectives.
  8. Discuss Their Tactics: Ensure they use white-hat SEO techniques and steer clear of black-hat tactics that can penalise your website.
  9. Ask About Reporting Frequency and Format: Ensure they provide regular, detailed reports that align with your KPIs.
  10. Seek Transparency in Communication: The agency should be open about their strategies, challenges, and results.
  11. Evaluate Their Communication Style: Assess if their communication style and frequency meet your expectations.
  12. Look for a Cultural Fit: Ensure the agency’s values and work culture align with yours.
  13. Inquire About Technical SEO Expertise: Confirm their ability to handle technical SEO aspects like site speed optimisation, mobile optimisation, etc.
  14. Ask About Local SEO: If relevant, ensure they are proficient in local SEO strategies.
  15. Discuss Pricing and Budget: Understand their fee structure and ensure it aligns with your budget.
  16. Review Contract Terms: Carefully read the contract terms including duration, services provided, termination clauses, etc.
  17. Understand Their Success Metrics: Know how they measure success and what timelines they work with.
  18. Ask About Continual Learning: Ensure they stay updated with the latest SEO trends and Google algorithm updates.
  19. Set Expectations for Ongoing Communication: Agree on regular check-ins and updates.
  20. Plan for Regular Strategy Reviews: Set dates for reviewing strategy and performance.

And finally

  1. Trust Your Instinct: After all evaluations, trust your instinct about whether the agency feels like the right fit.

Remember, the right SEO agency should not only have the expertise but also be able to align closely with your business goals and values. Taking the time to thoroughly vet potential agencies can lead to a successful long-term partnership. If the SEO agency can’t spend the time to make sure that you are comfortable getting in business with them – they are not a great fit for you.

How to Get in Touch

Interested in taking your digital presence to the next level with a professional SEO agency? Getting started is easy. Simply reach out to Vendo Digital through the following methods:

  1. Website Inquiry: Visit our website and fill out the contact form. Our team will get back to you promptly to discuss your SEO needs and how we can help. CONTACT US
  2. Direct Email: Drop us an email with your queries or requirements, and one of our SEO specialists will respond to discuss your project. EMAIL US
  3. Phone Consultation: Call us for a more direct conversation. We can discuss your business objectives, SEO goals, and how our services align with your needs. CALL US

Contact us today to explore how we can help you achieve your digital marketing ambitions.