Everyone talks about the importance of a good search engine optimisation strategy and how well it can support a business’s goals. After all, through this process, you are improving your landing page position in organic search results. But, is it the only way to do that?
SEO is a long-term process that requires constant attention. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, so the job of an SEO expert is never really done. Some business owners with fewer resources to spare may look for some alternatives. Is there another way to make Google notice, without adopting SEO techniques?
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What SEO Really Is
Search engine optimisation refers to a group of different techniques designed to increase your website’s user experience, and address search engine ranking factors directly. Through these strategies, you can effectively improve your search results rank, and potentially bring a lot more high-quality traffic to your website, where the rest of your content and sales pitches can help you make a conversion.
This is the gist of SEO and what it aims to achieve, and from here we can extrapolate a wide array of other benefits SEO techniques have for a business, such as:
- Better websites
- Better content
- Being truly mobile-friendly
- More brand visibility
- Improved digital marketing efforts that seem non-SEO related (such as paid ads on social media or the search network)
- Remain competitive and relevant, etc.
SEO makes for better websites and pushes your webpages closer to what these tools should look like in the present. It’s not just done for Google and other search engines, but to meet the increasingly high consumer expectations as to how websites should look and feel.
How Does Google Rank a Website?
Considering just how much information is online today, finding what you need would be virtually impossible even with search engines if not for a way to sort through the noise. This is why Google and other search engines have established a set of ranking factors that help organise this information to ensure the results are relevant for the user query.
First, Google sends out a web crawler to scan the web and bring back information about websites. These sites are then indexed and wait until the moment a user searches for something. When the user types in something, Google considers the query and tries to match it with the web page content that could contain what the user needs.
Except, again, there’s a lot of information out there, which means there are lots of web pages that could potentially have the answer to the user’s burning question. But we know the results pages show the links in a particular order. The higher the placement, the more likely that link can be clicked on by the user.
So, how is this order established, if matching the search query is only the first step of the process? Well, Google will also look at a set of other aspects of the web page, such as:
- Page quality (the loading speed, bounce rates, etc.)
- Content quality
- Meta descriptions
- Other elements based on the user query, such as the location or user intent
What Google ultimately wants is to ensure their searches bring relevant information on high-quality websites. This ensures their audience is satisfied with the Google services, and keeps them coming back, and not jumping ship to a different search engine.
What Does SEO Actually Look Like?
Good SEO is made up of two major components:
- On-Page SEO
On-page SEO refers to all the different SEO techniques that occur on a web page to improve user experience.
These techniques include:
- Keyword Research
Through keyword research, you can find the different search terms users rely on to find information about your products and services. Leveraging keywords in a piece of content and even meta descriptions help search engines match the query to the page.
Content is king in the world of marketing, as both search engines and users need it. A content marketing strategy helps businesses leverage their most important keywords, and convert users from website visitors into returning customers.
There’s a plethora of work to be done to ensure a web page and site are high quality, from addressing issues with broken links to removing duplicate content, improving page load speeds, fixing issues with navigation, and optimising images.
Off-page SEO refers to the SEO actions that you take outside of your website, and the most prominent effort here is link building.
Your website is filled with links that allow users and web crawlers to jump from page to page without problems. If there is a page on your site that is not linked anywhere on the web, it’s virtually invisible to Google, and your Google Analytics or the Google Search Console will likely show very poor stats in terms of traffic.
But believe it or not, fixing navigation and internal linking is actually the easy part of link building. The difficult and most time-consuming stage is building backlinks, which are links on other websites that redirect their audience to your web pages. Google sees these links as votes from other sites, and the more backlinks you have from other, high-authority, and quality sites, the more Google sees your content and site as relevant, which in turn improves your rank.
Building backlinks is a difficult yet very rewarding strategy, but for it to work you need to do a variety of different things such as:
- Creating high-quality content that encourages other brands and sites to link to yours.
- Guest post on other website’s blogs.
- Be active on social media.
- Take part in local, offline events
- Improve your PR and encourage media exposure, etc.
These types of links are earned, not created. You can speed things along to an extent, but if you routinely buy your way into other sites, Google will catch on, and not be too happy about it.
So, Can You Be Ranked Without SEO?
Technically, you can have a website ranked without SEO, but just because something is technically possible doesn’t mean you can easily turn it into reality.
Google wants to show you the information you are looking for, so if, for instance, someone is looking for you through a branded search, your links will be delivered at the top of the SERP even if you’re not implementing SEO techniques.
And you can argue that if you are able to bring enough traffic to your site through other methods, and improve your brand recognition, you may be able to still rank well because your site is relevant. But achieving this without SEO is nearly impossible for small businesses.
Big brands that have been around long before the internet was so popular already have enough brand recognition to ensure they are visible and relevant without needing to address Google’s website quality requirements.
Yet, if you look at the websites of these brands, you won’t see “bad” websites at all. You’ll see modern layouts, or mobile-friendly pages loaded instantly to show their content because consumers come to expect it.
And for the rest of us, such as a small or local business looking for ways to improve its visibility and reach a target audience, the best way to grow and ensure you earn a good rank is through SEO.
These days, ranking well in Google without a good SEO strategy in place is nearly impossible. Though Google’s goal is to show the user the most relevant web pages based on the specifics of what they are searching, tapping into a new audience to convert them is best done through Google search. And Google simply won’t promote new sites unless they live up to their expectations.
Improved search rankings bring about amazing benefits to all types of businesses, and if you want to earn that top position, you’ll need an experienced Google Partner to help guide you through the process. Australian Internet Advertising is here to assist Sydney local business owners with all their SEO needs.
Contact us online to find out how we can help you, or chat with us at 1300 304 640.