Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of improving a website's natural rankings in the search engine results for relevant keywords. The higher a website ranks in the natural search results of a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo the greater the organisation's online reputation, traffic and subsequent sales or fundraising performance.
Organic search, an alternative description for SEO, is one of the most effective methods of marketing as it drives new customers who are looking to buy at the time of search. Once your website appears at the top of the search engine results for relevant keywords you will start to receive more relevant enquiries.
Unlike most other forms of marketing, the conversion rate is much higher which means you can generate more return on investment (ROI) from the same spend. However its important to understand that SEO is a long term strategy which typically starts to be cost effective after 3-6 months of sustained optimisation. Whilst natural search doesn't deliver immediate uplift, after 3-12 months SEO can deliver up to ten times its initial costs or 1000% ROI.
To guarantee instant placement at the top of the search engine results, you can use pay per click (PPC). Unlike natural search, you pay the search engines to be returned in search results on a pay per click basis. This means every time a user decides to click through to your website from the search results you pay £1-50 depending on your market. The most competitive markets such as insurance can pay up to £50 for every visit to their website from pay per click but most markets are much closer to the region of £1 per click (sometimes just a few pence per click).
Paid search, an alternative description to PPC, is a great way to test search engine marketing and see if it sends relevant traffic that converts to sales. Once an investment has been proven through pay per click it can then make it easier to justify budgets for a longer term SEO strategy. Using PPC interfaces such as Google Adwords & Microsoft Ad Centre can be easy to use for people with marketing or technical experience, although getting advice from a SEO expert can help you avoid the common pitfalls and potentially costly mistakes.
Combining both SEO & PPC across the long term can prove a highly effective strategy known as search engine marketing (SEM) or integrated search. With PPC you pay a small fee for every click through to your website. With SEO you don't pay anything to the search engines for visits to your website.
PPC results data can be used to prioritise keywords to target for SEO, making SEO more effective and paying less for the keywords which convert. PPC can also be used to test newly identified keywords and seasonal keywords where it would be impractical to create the volume of search engine optimised content required to rank naturally.
DIY SEO or SEO Expert?
You can choose to manage search engine optimisation yourself or use a SEO expert. Whilst investing your own time doesn't cost anything, SEO experts have tried and tested SEO practices that they know can work for your site in a very short amount of time. DIY SEO is going to take longer to achieve results, but great if you don't mind waiting or have the time to invest in long-term continuous learning… there's a lot to learn!
The White Label SEO directors have over 30 years of search engine optimisation experience getting websites to the top of Google for highly competitive keywords such as insurance, bingo and lawyers.
- www.twitter.com/whitelabelseos If you are looking for DIY SEO, please follow us on Twitter @whitelabelseos for lots of free SEO advice.
- http://hubpages.com/profile/white-label-seo Our detailed SEO guides tend to be posted here. We are on a mission to ensure everyone's analytics is installed properly and have created a Free Google Analytics Installation Guide which we urge you to double check your install, particularly if you're using pay per click.
- www.slideshare.net/whitelabelseo We like to share our expert SEO knowledge in presentation format too. You'll find information including the latest linkbuilding tips for 2011 and how the Advertising Standards Authority March 2011 changes now include websites and social media.
- www.whitelabelseo.biz Our White Label SEO Services & SEO Reseller Packages are available if you need any SEO help in the future – from a 5 minute phone call to an international e-commerce migration project. Why not check out our SEO Tools in the interim?
- www.mattcutts.com Get the latest search engine optimisation tips straight from this Google engineer.
- www.searchengineland.com SEO guru Danny Sullivan delivers the very latest search engine marketing news and features.
- www.searchenginewatch.com Search engine industry news and analysis for search engine professionals.
- www.seochat.com Quite simply, lots of SEO chat and SEO tools in handy lists.
- www.masternewmedia.org Independent source of all things online marketing collated by Robin Good.
- www.mashable.com Social media hub of all things digital founded by Pete Cashmore.
Talk to the White Label SEO team on 01273 727 649.