SEO is a crucial strategy for growing your business’s online presence. By optimising your content to perform better in online search results, you boost your visibility, credibility and brand awareness while generating qualified leads and gaining a competitive advantage.
Embracing various SEO techniques, including on-page, off-page, and technical SEO, is essential for long-term success. With the right SEO tools and analytics, you can effectively improve your content’s performance and achieve a higher return on your content marketing investment.
Why modern businesses can’t ignore SEO
When OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November 2022, marketing trend watchers all over the internet were quick to declare that AI would be the end of Google and search engine optimisation (SEO) as we know it.
Now that the excitement surrounding ChatGPT has calmed down slightly, businesses are waking up to the reality that SEO still matters – in fact, it’s more important than it ever has been, now that AI-generated text is becoming more and more prevalent online, and businesses must work even harder to stand out from the crowd.
SEO is still the most effective tool at a digital marketer’s disposal when it comes to building your brand’s visibility and credibility. In this comprehensive blog, we explore all aspects of modern SEO, from the basics to advanced strategies for getting your company’s search strategy up to speed.
Introduction to SEO: Making your content accessible to the right audiences
SEO is a set of practices for creating content in a way that makes it as easy as possible to find online. You can apply SEO to any content on your website that is open to the public. It is especially important to apply SEO practices on:
- Your product pages
- Landing and category pages
- Blog content
There are many techniques that contribute to SEO, as we will explore further below. To start, just remember that SEO has one simple goal: to make your content easily findable to people who want to find it.
SEO is about aligning your content with the intentions, interests and desires of your target audiences. That means making sure your content is crafted in a way that is accessible and helpful for your audience members online.
SEO is not about tricking people, stuffing keywords or using clickbait tactics. Because deceiving your readers will only have the opposite effect: you will either attract the wrong audiences or simply fail to attract any high-quality leads.
Why is SEO an important part of a modern business?
Think of the last time you shopped for a new product – one you’ve never bought before – either for business or at home. If you’re like 68% of people on average, your search started online. Most shoppers now rely on Google and even major retail sites like Amazon as their go-to resource for looking for new products. Online search plays an even higher role among B2B buyers, because they are often searching for complex products and services that can only be found online.
This is why findability and SEO play such an important role in your company’s success today. Whether you are targeting a B2C or B2B audience, you can assume that online search will be the starting point for many if not most of your customers’ buyer journeys.
Should I be using SEO?
Even if you’re entirely new to SEO, you’ve probably already been using SEO-friendly tactics without even thinking about it. That’s because there’s a big overlap between plain, old-fashioned good writing and modern, high-tech SEO. Both have the same basic goal: communicating clearly and making sure information is easily accessible.
So, any time you divide your content into multiple sections with clear, informative headers… or add a handy bullet list to make information more skimmable… or carefully proofread to make sure your text is factually correct and free of grammatical errors… you are actually also improving your content’s search engine findability.
If you’re unsure about whether SEO is worth the effort, just consider these astonishing statistics: testing shows that a web page that has been optimised for search engine findability receives 10 times more traffic than non-SEO content. In other words, if you want your content to be found online, SEO is essential.
Benefits of SEO for modern businesses
By taking the time to optimise your content for search engine findability, you open up your business to many benefits:
Increasing visibility and brand awareness
SEO is all about making your content easier to find. Every digital marketer wants to do everything they can to make sure their blog post, product page or landing page is near the top of the Google search results when a potential customer searches for a related topic online.
By ranking higher on the search engine results page (SERP), you expose your brand to a wide audience, which boosts brand awareness, especially at early stages of the customer journey, where the customer is looking for a solution, but not really sure where to start. Plus, the top ranking page on any Google search has an average click-through rate of 26%, which means ranking high is the best way to ensure people will visit your website.
Building trust and credibility
Pages that rank higher on search engines are more credible. This is largely because of efforts on Google’s part to ensure that content quality and helpfulness are taken into account when deciding which pages rank higher. Today, it is rare that you will encounter irrelevant search results, or that low-quality web content will rank high on Google.
So, by ranking higher on search engines, you show the world that your content is valuable and trustworthy. This helps persuade potential customers to click on your content and learn what your brand is all about.
Improving user experience
As mentioned above, many SEO techniques are really just about offering high-quality, easily digestible, well-structured content in the first place. This means by optimising your content for search, you are also ensuring that it is really user-friendly and helpful.
High-quality, value-added content is a successful tool for achieving many marketing goals. These include establishing thought leadership, boosting your domain authority, earning valuable backlinks, but also enhancing the customer relationship, building customer loyalty and generating repeat business.
Generating qualified leads
Some people wrongly think that SEO is about tricking people to click on a link, just so that you can bring more traffic to your site. The truth is much different though. At the end of the day, you really only want people to visit your site if there is a chance they may become a customer of your brand. If you’re simply “casting a huge net” by using misleading headings or clickbait talent, you may generate a lot of traffic, but how much of it will actually be relevant for generating new business?
Proper SEO activities focus on aligning your content with the actual interests, search terms, questions and intentions of people who are likely to be a good match for your product or solution. Be sure to keep those highly qualified leads in mind when optimising your content. Remember that SEO is more about quality than it is about quantity – that means 10 highly qualified leads are far more valuable than 1,000 page views from people who never had any intention of buying something from your company.
Standing out from the crowd
Especially now that so many brands are generating low-quality, unedited AI-generated content, it is getting harder and harder to find helpful, accurate content on company blogs. Some experts are predicting that 90% of online content will be AI-generated by 2026. So, why not be the exception to the rule and offer your readers something original, valuable and memorable?
With all that low-value content filling the airwaves, some brands have recognised the powerful competitive advantage of producing excellent content that is co-created by talented content creators. The key is to embrace the advantages of AI, but to always remember the human touch. That means carefully post-editing and improving any AI-generated content to ensure brand safety, audience engagement and… you guessed it…. SEO.
Maximising your marketing RoI
Content creation is a time-consuming activity. It is also a major expense, accounting for around 26% of the average marketing department’s budget. That’s why it is important to try to get the most benefit out of your content. SEO helps maximise the return on your marketing budget investment by ensuring that your content reaches as many potential customers as possible.
Although there may be initial investments in hiring SEO experts or adopting tools, the long-term benefits far outweigh the costs. Once your website achieves a strong organic presence, ongoing expenses are relatively low compared to continuous paid advertising.
Types of SEO techniques
Not sure where to get started with optimising your content for search engine findability? There are many SEO techniques. Generally speaking, they can be divided into 3 categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO.
On-page SEO involves optimising elements that are displayed on your web pages to enhance their search engine performance and user-friendliness. This includes best practices like these:
- Ensuring high content quality: Your content should be created by experienced writers and content creators. Always ensure your content is factually correct, references relevant and current sources when appropriate, and free of spelling or grammar errors.
- Structuring for readability: Use a standard heading structure to break your content into easily digestible sections.
- Keyword-dense: Ensure your content contains important keywords (see more about keywords below). Be sure to use keywords in a natural way and avoid overstuffing them.
- Aligned with search intent: Structure your content (including headings) in ways that answer key questions your potential customers are likely to search for in Google.
Off-page SEO refers to activities that you can undertake outside your own website that will still draw organic traffic to your site, increase branded search and establish your website as a valuable source of information within your industry. These activities can include many different types of audience engagement, both online and offline. Here are a few examples:
- Earned media: Having your company’s CEO or other thought leaders featured in trade press, guest blog posts or new articles is a great way to encourage people to search for your company and website online.
- Backlinks: Similar to earned media, if your website is linked to by other reputable sites as a reference, this builds your domain authority, which helps your content rank higher on Google.
- Social media marketing: Although your social media channels are generally considered “owned” media, you can also generate lots of traffic to your site by engaging with audiences on social media platforms.
Technical SEO focuses on the behind-the-scenes aspects that can make your website easier to find. These tactics help ensure that your content is easily crawlable by search engines or simply improve your site’s overall performance, leading to higher traffic, longer page views and reduced bounce rates – all of which have a positive impact on your SERP ranking.
- Title tags and meta descriptions: By entering compelling, keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions in your content management tool when publishing a new piece of content, you entice users to click on the link when they see it in their search engine.
- URL structure: Short, descriptive, and keyword-optimised URLs make it easier for users and search engines to understand the content of a page. Avoid long, complicated URLs.
- Image optimisation: Adding visuals helps make your content more engaging. Just be sure to compress images to about 70 kilobytes in size, so they do not negatively impact your page’s load speed. A slow-loading page increases your bounce rate – if the page takes too long to load, many people will navigate away immediately.
- Optimise for mobile: Since more and more people search for information online using a mobile device, having a mobile-friendly website is essential. Websites that offer a seamless user experience on various devices, including smartphones and tablets, receive preferential treatment from search engines and cater to a broader audience.
The importance of keywords in SEO
Keywords are one of the most important factors influencing your page’s findability. Be sure to carefully research which keywords are most relevant for the topics you are writing about. It is essential to use a keyword research tool like Semrush, the Google Search Console, Ahrefs or AnswerThePublic, to identify which keywords are most popular.
Be sure to incorporate keywords in a natural, authentic way. Google prefers pages that are clearly written by a human creator. Simply “stuffing” keywords or copying strings of incoherent keywords into the content are not an effective way to improve your SERP ranking.
Local SEO strategies
If your company also sells its products offline through local retail stores, then it is important to have a local SEO strategy in place. This makes it easier for people in your area to find your business when searching for solutions online. Here are a couple useful local SEO techniques to keep in mind:
- Google My Business: To ensure findability, it is important to set up a Google My Business profile and ensure all your information is correctly listed, including the name, address, phone number, website and operating hours of your locations.
- Geo-targeted ads: Running location-specific online advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads with location targeting, can make your brand more visible and drive traffic to your website or physical location. These ads are displayed selectively to people based on their location
SEO tools and analytics
To monitor how successful your SEO activities are, you can use a number of analytics tools. Many digital marketers work every day with popular analytics tools like Google Analytics, Semrush and HubSpot to identify trends, find areas for further optimisation and track their content’s performance.
Some of the most important analytics to track the performance of your SEO activities include:
- Organic traffic: How many visitors are clicking your SERP listings and viewing your content?
- Search visibility: How well are your pages ranking in search results?
- Traffic value: How much would you have to pay for all your traffic if it were generated entirely by pay-per-click (PPC) ads instead of via SEO content? This is an interesting metric for understanding the financial benefit of your SEO activities.
SEO is a process, not an event
The best practices and strategies explained above will help you get the maximum benefit out of your SEO activities.
Just remember: SEO is a long-term game. It may take months before you see a major improvement in your content’s performance.
The key to success is to continually monitor your progress and keep optimising. By regularly reviewing and updating your content – adjusting to new keywords to align with your audiences’ changing interests – you position your brand for greater visibility and organic growth.
Curious about how Contentoo’s expert freelancers can supercharge your SEO strategy? Don’t wait—book a demo today to experience the difference our writers can make for your brand’s online presence.