SEO used to be a ‘game changer’ for helping site owners and online businesses for standing out against the rest of other sites to get the traffic online. From optimising the site architecture and having optimised pages that the search engines could scan, to having lots of links to your website from external websites – SEO was what made the different between success and failure. Nowadays, SEO is just a feature:
A box ticking exercise
What we mean by being a feature is that SEO is a box ticking exercise that every web design and development team have to pay attention to, it is just one of the many things that a new iteration (because it is an iterative process) of a website has to go through:
- Are the brand core messages there?
- Does it load fast?
- Are the pages accessible?
- Are the pages scannable?
- Are there social media sharing buttons?
- Are the call to actions present?
- Is there a good flow for the user journey?
- Is it secure?
- Is analytics installed?
- Are the pages laid out correctly?
- Is cross browser compatible?
With any business that relies on a website as part of it’s communications strategy, there are many aspects to get right amongst user experience and SEO is just one of them.
Is SEO still relevant?
Absolutely as long as people use search engines, businesses want their pages to be found in Google and the right page to show up for the right search phrase.
SEO is still relevant due to the increase in budget and affordability of other ways to communicate messages. A video for example used to be an unthinkable luxury for most Small Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), now it’s affordable to the extent that a video could be justifiable for each and every landing page let alone just the home page. With more ways of communicating online, businesses will be highly reliant on SEOs to ensure their content is searchable.
Another thing to bear in mind is that search habits are changing, whilst optimising web pages on a site important to ensure that there is no conflict (i.e. keyword cannibalisation between pages) and that the search engines and users are very clear on what the page is about from a search point of view – SEOs need to think about sticking in sub trademarked terms for products and services. Not only does it help companies stand out from their keyword laden competitor sites, it also creates a brand query that is very difficult for competitors to attack as you should be ranking for your own trademark not just your business name.
Isn’t it all about content and social media?
Content certainly helps you tell your story and whilst social media has done the whole online world favours by making it easier for journalists to be more contactable by businesses and for search engines to measure how compelling the content is – social media still remains a feature – i.e. a tick box to ensure we don’t leave of the social sharing buttons on the website, we link to our social media accounts and our marketing manager remembers to tweet the blog or press release that came out. Everybody should be doing it, it’s no big deal. Tweeting three times a day about how you’re attending this event may be great for maintaining your followers’ interest in you – it’s not the game changer.
What is the game changer?
In a word – research. Research is what will make one organisation’s content drab and another totally viral. There is content and there is content. Research will determine:
- Whether enough people care about your content
- How valuable the insights in your content is
- The robustness of your insights statistically speaking
From the above, getting it right means that editors and site owners will take you seriously, their audiences will find your content compelling enough to share it and make it near impossible for search engines and people looking for you do – to not take notice of you and even buy off you.