Search engine optimisation vital for attracting customers

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You’ve built a dynamic new website and you’re wondering why hordes of visitors haven’t yet arrived. Chances are they won’t – unless you’ve implemented effective search engine optimisation (SEO).

You can’t expect people simply to stumble onto your website. You must find ways of driving them there. And the ever-evolving science of SEO is a key way to encourage the right people to visit your pages.  

At Catgraphics we believe that SEO, used correctly, can vastly enhance your online visibility.  

What follows is a very brief guide to some SEO basics. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy. We hope this will encourage you to take those first steps on your own SEO journey.  

What exactly is SEO?

Prospective customers use search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to find the products, services and information they need. Search engines rely on automated tools (spiders) to index websites and their content so they can deliver the sites best-equipped to answer searchers’ queries.   SEO will help your website rank highly on the results pages.

SEO techniques need to be applied to every aspect of your web site, from the development stage through content and social networking integration. 

Where to start

Unless you are a large company that can justify an in-house search team, the best way to start is to engage the services of a reputable SEO company. SEO is highly complex and constantly evolving. Trying to do it yourself may just condemn your web site to being dismissed by search engines as spam. 

It’s not just about using the right keywords in your content and metadata. As SEO specialists get cleverer, so do the search engines. Not so long ago it was relatively easy to ensure a good spot in the rankings. It’s not so simply any more as search engines get more sophisticated and penalise websites that ‘cheat’ to get higher in the rankings.

Professional SEO companies ensure they keep up to date with advancements in search.  Google recently updated the algorithm it uses to index sites. Companies worth their salt have been carefully assessing the changes to understand exactly what this major search engine is now looking at and how it now ranks different components. 

If you do choose to work with a search company, make sure you work very closely with your team so you can use this experience to educate yourself about SEO. 

Key trends for 2014

These are the five key SEO trends ( that every entrepreneur should know, according to Jayson DeMers of SEO agency AudienceBloom:

1.A strong SEO strategy has three core components: links, content and social media. 

2.Content marketing was the top marketing buzzword of 2013, and it's a trend that's here to stay. Brands need to become savvy about telling their own stories and creating content that resonates with audiences. 

3.Mobile optimisation is no longer optional…it's getting harder for sites without a mobile strategy to rank well. This includes both a responsive design and a mobile content strategy. 

4.A strong brand is playing an increasingly important role in SEO. 

5.Google is relying more than ever on human signals in the form of shares and mentions on social media to help vet sites. If you don't have a strong social media marketing presence and a strategy that makes it easy for people to share your content, it's time to implement one. 

“Remember that all these trends add up to two things: integration and balance. Invest in all the key areas – from writing good content, to building links and developing your social platforms – with the understanding that they mutually support each other,” says deMers. 

SEO must be dynamic

Finally, it’s not enough to do an SEO exercise once and leave it there. It has to be a dynamic process if you don’t want your site suddenly to be relegated to page 10 of the search results.