Does SEO really work?

In the world of digital marketing, there are so many buzzwords thrown around that they tend to lose their meaning. And if you’ve ever sat in a meeting related to digital marketing, it’s likely you had to navigate your way through so much jargon that you lost sight of exactly what was being discussed.

Clickability. ROI. Engagement. Synergy. Big data. The list goes on. And on.

In many ways, SEO feels like another buzzword to add to the list. A word scattered throughout LinkedIn profiles to make a candidate appear smart and in-the-know. Except the difference is, SEO actually stands for something with substance.

Or does it?

What is SEO and why is it important?

Standing for Search Engine Optimisation, SEO is the process of organically gaining traffic towards your website through the use of search engines. In other words, it aims to get your site ranking higher on Google for free.

So even if what you’re offering is a thousand times better than your competitors, poor SEO will leave your website drowning in the darks depths of cyberspace. Or the hundredth ‘o’ on Google.

This is at least what we’ve come to believe. But with constant changes in Google’s algorithms and brand’s investing more money in showing up higher than organic pages, it leads us to ask the question:

Does SEO really work?

In short, the answer is yes. It’s been proven by industry experts that when executed correctly, SEO will help your website rank higher. But it won’t happen overnight. And it won’t necessarily lead to conversion… that part is up to you. Or at least, the quality of the product or service you’re selling.

The secret to SEO is that it picks up steam gradually. It’s like a fine wine that just grows better over time. Unethical SEO specialists will try to lure in new clients by promising them a simple and speedy way to reach the top page listing of Google. And sure, they probably have clever tactics that will drive a quick burst of traffic towards your website. But it won’t have lasting impact.

The key to making SEO truly work for your brand will be creating a sound strategy that you can nurture and maintain.

To see a successful SEO story take place, you’ll need to have a carefully thought-out strategy in place. This will involve on-going consulting from the SEO specialist helping you reach your ranking goals, ensuring you don’t simply sink back into old habits once your partnership comes to an end.

How to ensure SEO works for your brand

So you’ve followed the steps in ensuring your website is as optimised as possible. You’ve hired a specialist to give your site an SEO audit and you’ve been given the green light. Too easy. Right? Wrong, sadly.

Getting your site optimised is just the beginning of your journey into climbing the rankings of Google, albeit a great start. The key to making SEO truly work for your brand will be creating a sound strategy that you can nurture and maintain. Here’s how to make SEO work for you:

Be patient.

Of course we’d all love to jump up to the top of Google’s search pages, but the reality is it simply won’t happen overnight. At the top of your list when it comes to executing a successful SEO strategy is the willingness to remain patient. Invest in time and you’ll ultimately see a return in ranking (and revenue).

Learn from your data.

You don’t need to be a marketing expert to gain a decent enough grasp on the pie charts and bar charts that will help you inform your SEO strategy. Any decent analytics platform will give you a sophisticated insight into what’s working and not working on your website, helping you tailor your content and guide your strategy moving forward.

Be customer-focused.

It sounds obvious, but you must remain customer-focused at all times when building your SEO strategy. The most effective way of doing this is by mastering the art of empathy. Learn to engage with your audience by getting inside their heads and hearts. Empathy will also allow the content across your website to remain sounding human and not robotic when sprinkling keywords.

Monitor the market.

One of the most important aspects to creating your SEO strategy; you must spend as much time monitoring the market as you do creating content for your brand. The digital landscape changes all the time, so it’s important to keep up with all the latest in SEO news and how the algorithms of search engines are changing. Creating Google alerts is the best way of doing this (aside from signing up to my mailing list, of course!).

Be agile.

As a sequel to the above point, you must be willing to change and adapt the same way the market does. Think of yourself as a master of reinvention, a la David Bowie and Madonna. Always looking one step ahead and remaining open to allowing your SEO strategy to evolve. This is where the best results will be seen, as like everything in the digital world – nothing stands still for long. Just when you think you’ve mastered something, it will have picked up some new tricks to learn. This is definitely the case for anything related to SEO.

So although it might feel easy to begin doubting whether SEO actually works once you don’t see quick results; have faith in the process. And remember, like with most things in life, patience is a virtue.

When it comes to SEO, it’s best to look at it like reading a slow-burning novel. It will take dedication, patience and a bit of hard work, but ultimately the outcome will be rewarding and definitely worth the wait.

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