What’s the point of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? It’s a question we ask ourselves quite regularly. Usually after someone has been on the phone discussing how vital ranking well on Google is for their business, The fact is that whilst having a strong message & getting that message out there is a vital part of marketing, focusing on search rankings is totally missing the point. It is questionable whether for your average business, devoting significant effort to optimising content for search engines is the best use of resources.
The role of Search Engines
Firstly, let’s look for a moment at the role Google plays in marketing. We can’t deny that usually, when someone is looking for something on the web they will turn to Google for their search. Google aims to deliver high quality, authoritative information on any given subject so they are continually honing their systems to ensure that they achieve this. At the same time they want to keep low quality, irrelevant content out of the listings. What this means is that if you have something valuable to say for a given search Google will want people to find it!
SEO from a Marketing Perspective
As mentioned at the top of the article, much of marketing is about having a strong message & getting that message out there. If you ensure your website is full of content valuable to your audience, it is likely that it will be “high quality and authoritative. On this basis, it is likely that people will tweet it, link to it, share it on Facebook etc. Thus raising the visibility of your content. By taking this approach you are effectively “optimising your content for search”. Search engines want to deliver good quality, relevant content. If you deliver this type of content, they will want to list it.
Who is your Audience
One danger of focusing on SEO is that you write content for search engines rather than for your audience. Whilst this may pay dividends from a search ranking perspective, it is unlikely to create content that delivers real marketing benefit. Rather than writing content focused on keyword optimisation, it is better to write content that is optimised (interesting & relevant) for your audience. That way when people do find it they might actually want to read it. And when they do, they are more likely to contact you when they have a need. Lets face it, that’s what marketing is all about!
So what about keyword optimisation
This all sounds great, but in most cases visibility on search engines is still important. Furthermore, however fancy Google’s algorithms get, if they can’t connect your content with a given search term (Key phrase) they won’t list it. So thinking about keywords is still very relevant. Whilst it shouldn’t be the prime focus, it should still be on the agenda. And if you are creating your content in WordPress, there is a great tool for ensuring that this happens. This tool is Yoast SEO. A free WordPress plugin, Yoast analyses your content against a given key phrase and suggests how you could improve it. Yoast is one of our top 4 WordPress plugins. Whilst it should not be the first thing you consider when writing a post, once written Yoast is a great tool for tweaking the content to take SEO into account.
So should you bother with SEO, and worry about how your content ranks on Google? The simple answer is yes. There is no denying the value of search engines, or the importance of being found on them. On the contrary, when someone is looking for your website, it is vital that they can find it. So ensuring that Google knows that your site exists, and that your content is appropriately keyword rich is vital. Ensuring this should be part of any marketing strategy, and considered in the design of every website. This is one reason we use WordPress. When budgets are limited, focus should be on creating solid interesting content rather than on SEO.