Getting to grips with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Most business people shudder at the thought of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

For most of us SEO seems overly complex, widely misunderstood, geeky and technical.

It’s also a frequently changing landscape, and as busy business owners we don’t have time (or perhaps the desire) to keep up with it all.

However, there’s no denying that every business with a website wants to be found in search engine result pages (SERPs).

In fact, a few of the most common questions I get asked are “How can I improve the performance of my website?” or “Why can’t I find my website on Google?” or “How can I get my website on to the 1st page on Google?

Therefore, whilst Google and other search engines exists, SEO is an essential tool in your content marketing toolbox and will matter a lot if you want your website and content to be found.

What are other business people saying about SEO?

However, before we draw any specific conclusions, let’s find out what other business people are saying about SEO.

I asked our Content Marketing Facebook Community

“When someone mentions SEO to you, what do you immediately think or feel?

Also, do you feel this is an area that you need to know more about? If so, what are your biggest challenges with SEO?”

So, before we dig into the SEO resources we’ve pulled together for you, let’s have a look at what some other people said about SEO…

Jason Parsons said…

I worry that someone is about to tell me how they have handed over vast quantities of money to an “SEO Expert”.

I think it is still seen as a dark art when it comes to website and optimization. A lot of cowboys out there in my opinion. Yes it is important, but not worth what some people try to charge.

Also, as we all agree, there are more ways to drive traffic and ensure your website is being seen.

Oscar Heron said…

I think it is important to understand what SEO is, and to take the necessary steps to determine how much is needed within your website/content.

Yes, we can all go ahead and say Content is King, but what good is content when no one can find it?

Mike McGrail said…

Your site/blog etc and the content within it still needs the fundamental building blocks in place to make sure Google can index you properly. Meta data, especially on blog posts is vital.

Over and above that, as Moz say, remember to write for humans, not robots. Google will always have things it looks for, and matching those is SEO, but always think of the end user first.

Derek Buntin said…

SEO is merely one spoke in the online success wheel.

One must remember Google is in the business of delivering quality content, not websites that are keyword stuffed or with poorly written content.

Alan Hutchison said…

I think the danger is that believing Google’s mantra that “Content is King” needs to be approached with caution. Yes great content is vital – but unless folks can find the content then you could be writing quality content for not a lot of audience.

Julie Christie said…

I believe people stumble across content mainly via social media these days. I could be wrong but it’s certainly true for me and my circle. I agree that you need both [Social and organic/SEO] but I think you should spend much more time and effort on creating good content. You can be number one on Google and sure I’ll ‘find’ you, but if you can’t keep me there with your fabulous content then what’s the use? However someone who creates kick ass content can still be found no problem at all even if they don’t consider seo much at all.

Ross Coverdale said…

I think there’s absolutely a place for SEO but it’s all about how people are coming across your content. I think if people want an answer to a question, they will likely ask Google, in which case SEO will play a big part in whether they find you over someone else. However, if you’re predominantly being found via referrals/sharing, then you have to weigh up how much time/money you’re willing to part with for SEO over creating great stuff.

What can you do about SEO?

After much discussion, going back and forth and round in circles, it seems that SEO is still very important. It all really comes down to how you define SEO.

If you define SEO simply as a method you can use for making sure more relevant people find your content and your website, then SEO certainly should be included as part of any content marketing strategy.

As mentioned, because search engines are still used heavily for people find stuff on the Internet, it’s important that your content can be found in search. Although, as we have read from the comments above, it’s certainly not the only way for content to be discovered.

Whether or not you decide to do the SEO yourself or outsource for expert assistance, as a business owner I think it’s crucial that you have at least a basic understanding of the core concepts of SEO and how it all fits in with your content marketing plan and strategy.

Getting to grips with SEO

To help you get to grips with SEO and develop a better understanding we have pulled together some of the best resources on SEO from the best information sources on the Internet.

Take the time to dig into all these resources and go down the SEO rabbit hole. When you come out at the other end you will have a much better understanding of what SEO means for you, your content and your business.

One – SEO for Small Businesses by Chris Marr

“If you have a website, and no one knows about it, does it really exist?”

In this article Chris provides you with some basic SEO tips for creating blog articles and webpages.

  • Why you should care about SEO
  • Getting to grip with keywords
  • The main on page SEO factors

Click here to read this article

Two – SEO Success for your blog in 10 easy steps from Schaefer Marketing Solutions

This article gives great advice for SEO beginners, here are the first few steps that are covered in the article:

  • Site-wide Keyword Strategy
  • Meta tags, titles and keywords
  • Develop internal links
  • External link building

The article also indicates how important and difficult these steps are – very helpful!

To dig into the 10 steps in more detail click here

Three – The beginners guide to SEO from Moz

“SEO isn’t just about building search engine-friendly websites. It’s about making your site better for people too. At Moz we believe these principles go hand-in-hand.”

This is certainly one of THE best SEO resources available on the Internet today.

New to SEO? Need to polish up your knowledge? The Beginner’s Guide to SEO has been read over a million times and provides comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

Click here to dive into this amazing resource from Moz

Four – The Future of SEO by Marcus Sheridan

“SEO is a funny thing. Some people love it. Others think it’s the bane of the entire internet. As for me, I simply accept the fact that it not only exists, but can literally make or break a business in the digital age.”

Marcus Sheridan offers some fantastic insight into how SEO will evolve in 2015 including 4 factors that will become less important over time and what will matter the most for SEO going forward.

Click here to read this article on The Sales Lion.

Five – 100 Lessons Learned from 10 Years of SEO from QuickSprout

Quicksprout is one of our favourite sources for excellent resources for business owners and marketers.

This article explains 100 very helpful points that everyone from a beginner to an expert in SEO should know.

Here are a few selected points from the article:

  • Don’t obsess over rankings
  • Write content to reach your audience
  • There’s no alternative to experience
  • There is no replacement for unique content

To read this article click here

Six – The Ultimate SEO Checklist from The Content Marketing Institute

“With search engines updating algorithms on a frequent basis, how is a mortal content marketer supposed to keep up?”

This article outlines a simple and effective way to get the most out of SEO by providing you with a step by step checklist to make sure you have thought about the most important SEO factors.

Click here to read from the Content Marketing Institute

Seven – Businesses Desperately Need SEO Education by Mike McGrail

In this article Mike McGrail tells a story about one woman’s experience with SEO that may make you think twice about how you go about your own SEO.

“While necking barely palatable coffee at a networking event last week, I got chatting to a lady who runs a commercial laundry service. As soon as I mentioned ‘digital marketing’, she visibly winced. I quickly established that it wasn’t the coffee that caused the wince, but the memories of a recent and harrowing SEO experience…”

Click here to read on…

Eight – Getting Started with Small Business SEO, with Neil Patel: A podcast from Chris Ducker

In this episode of Chris Ducker’s New Business Podcast he speaks with Neil Patel about important SEO tools, the role of social media in SEO and much more.

  • How link building has changed.
  • The easiest and most effective way to get backlinks to your site.
  • Neil’s take on all of the changes Google made last year.
  • The three most important tools to have in your SEO arsenal.
  • The role that social media plays in the overall SEO landscape.

Click here to listen

Nine – Seven Free SEO Tools by Neil Patel

So far we’ve provided you with a lot of educational content that will help you to understand and demystify SEO.

But what about the tools to help you?

Here are just a few free tools that come highly recommend by Mr Patel to help you to start implementing great SEO practices in your business.

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Keyword Planner

Check out this article here

Your turn

If you are reading this it means that you are at the end of the article, and I hope you managed to get through all of the resources we pulled together for you.

I’d really love to know what your thoughts are about SEO…

  1. Do you have a better understanding of SEO now that you have read through this?
  2. What specific questions do you have about SEO?
  3. How important do you think SEO is for your content strategy?

Let me know in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

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About Chris Marr

Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.