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A guide to SEO and SMO
With hundreds of millions of websites out there, how do you get yours to stand out? How do you ensure you’re connecting with the customers you need to make your enterprise a success?
One important tool is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO improves your website’s visibility by making it appear as early and often as possible on popular search engines like Google. When running a web search, most people never look beyond the first page of results, so if you run a car rental company and someone types ‘car hire’ or ‘hire a car’ into Google, you need your website on that first page. Then you’re far more likely to get that person’s business than if you’re on page ten, which they’ll probably never see.
An SEO expert will tune your website’s code and content, making it easier for search engines to understand and index, increasing its ‘rankability’. They’ll also get you all-important ‘backlinks’. These are links from other websites to yours and are seen by search engines as votes of confidence in your site. A website frequently linked to by others is considered an authoritative source of information and therefore appears higher in searches.
But beware! Some SEO companies employ unscrupulous tactics, such as stuffing web pages with excessive or irrelevant key words and phrases, to trick search engines into assigning them a higher rank. This technique is dangerous, not only because search engines often ban websites using these methods, but also because companies like Google frequently update their search algorithms to weed out these cheaters, meaning you could risk having your site banned for very little benefit.
The best SEO agencies will use so called ‘white hat’ tactics instead, working to improve the quality of the content on your site and getting links from relevant sites.
Working alongside SEO, Social Media Optimisation (SMO) is increasingly important in developing an effective online presence. SMO is all about getting your business extra publicity through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter using shareable content linked to your business to drive users to your website.
SMO is great for generating buzz around new products or services and, by inserting your message into exciting content users will want to share, you’re effectively getting them to do your marketing for you.
Social media also lets you manage your brand identity, engage with customers and even recruit staff, giving you a dynamic, responsive web presence and encouraging healthy business-to-consumer relations. And the great thing about SMO is it also feeds back into SEO as search engines are increasingly using the amount of shares a web page gets on social media to decide its rankability.
It’s increasingly clear that having an effective online presence is vital to having a successful business in the 21st Century, but, unless you’re already an SEO and SMO expert, the safest bet is outsourcing your website optimisation needs to a specialist. Look for a digital marketing agency with a proven track record of getting their clients’ websites onto page one of major search engines like Google, and who can point you to successful social media campaigns they’ve run. That way, you’ll know your web footprint is in safe hands.
[insert name] is a freelance writer and blogger with a keen interest in digital media. He has recently become involved in writing for SEO and SMO and recommends KPI Business Services Ltd for all your digital marketing needs.