SEO – Does it live up to the hype?

SEO – A word that drives the Google search results, has created a whole industry, provides good business for hundreds of thousands of SEO agencies, sparks both excitement and fear into the heart of digital marketers and often confuses the life out of business owners who “just want more customers”!

SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation, is both the art and science of optimising your website with the sole aim of ranking at the top of Google for your chosen keywords.

Keywords are search phrases that a suer types into Google to find what they are looking for.

Keywords vary and often have intent behind them, so for example someone may search for “men’s red shoes” and may be looking at a range of red shoes available for men – They may just be browsing on their lunch or bored at home looking to see what’s on the market.

This then differs to the user who searches for “red adidas originals price” – This search term has more intent behind it and shows that the user is a little more down the buying funnel and likely ready to buy a pair.

The difference between the two is the intent and this is something Google can figure out to provided different search results for the different search intent.

So, Does SEO live up to the hype?

In short, the answer is yes.

And the Covid lockdowns have proved that!

What’s worth remembering at this stage, is when people think of SEO, or search, they think of Google, but actually Google, YouTube, Facebook and Amazon are 4 of the most utilised search engines in the world.

Amazon and YouTube also work on SEO and there are ways to do Amazon SEO and YouTube SEO to get your products/video content ranking higher in their search results.

We first saw how important SEO was round about 2012 when Google launched the Penguin update aimed at cutting down on web spam.

Back in 2012, SEO was a little more easier and very easy to manipulate, low quality content, dodgy backlinks and producing automated ‘spun’ content were all the rage.

Google then got wise to this and wanted to provide the best, most recent and most relevant content to those searching and so along came Penguin and along with it went a number of business who relied heavily on their search engine rankings.

Google heavily penalised or rank dropped those who fell foul of the Penguin update and so became a new dawn in SEO.

With the high number of business that this affected it was easy to see just how important SEO had become.

It has spawned a new industry and you could search your local area on Google to find an SEO agency using a keyword such as seo agency Birmingham.

From there on, SEO became far more difficult and the number of great seo agencies, such as the Digital Cornerstone linkbuilding service, who could actually deliver results to their clients became fewer and fewer.

Along side this came the rise of Google Adwords.

That’s the little paid ads that you see at the top of search results where you pay each time someone clicks your ad.

This started to compete with SEO – But data still shows, despite more people clicking the ads than previously before, the organic rankings are still where most of the attention goes.

Covid has further shown just how important SEO is.

When lockdown hit and retailers were shut, everyone went online.

Whether that was to shop, find new products, learn new skills or just to forget the world and have some fun – search boomed and the need to be found became even more important.

This may be a huge shift to online and a change to peoples buying habits and so if shopping online really does become the new normal than SEO will be more important than ever.

We’ve seen this year 3 core Google algorithm updates as it is, the most recent in December showed early signs that bigger retailers like Amazon had been potentially hit a little bit and that smaller retailers have been given a boost – but this is still early days and far too soon to confirm.

That potentially shows that Google is listening to small businesses and providing them a little help during the Covid pandemic.

What was also seen during the lockdown period was a huge surge in demand for SEO services, which still continues to this day in December – With business now exploring their SEO options.

With staff working from home, traditional marketing such as telemarketing and direct mail becomes a little trickier as there’s possibly no one there to answer calls or collect mail, so SEO is really booming.

SEO is booming, online searches are booming and this is likely to be the way for the next 18 months or so at least, proving that SEO is living up to the hype and will be a valuable tool for businesses as part of their digital marketing strategy as we head into  a new era and bigger than ever reliance on digital.

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