April 20, 2015

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Today and Tomorrow!

SEO is, in the truest sense, the process of making websites more visible and understandable to search engines and humans alike. It focuses on using right keywords and unique content to help search engines find and rank your site higher than millions of other sites flooding the internet. 

“The best place to hide a dead body is Page 2 of Google search results”, goes a famous saying. Well, it’s quite true! The very first page bombards the viewer with so much information and content that he hardly feels the need to visit the rest. A brand stuck in the second or third pages of Google is therefore quite synonymous to a dead body due to its near to zero visibility.

What is the bail out plan? SEO and effective Digital Marketing and some PR.  Amongst these, of lately, SEO is the most overlooked branding tool by marketers and brands alike. We see debates about the supposed “Death of SEO” doing regular rounds on Social Media channels and Google. So much so that a simple search on “Is SEO dead?” gives you in return over 45 million references! So what really happened to this once highly relied upon digital tool?

Continuous changes in Google’s algorithm over the past 7 years have drawn a clear line between the two kinds of SEOs - unethical SEOs/ the Black Hats and the ethical ones/ the White Hats. While the white hat SEO are considered as acceptable SEO techniques, the black hat SEO techniques are considered unethical. You could say, the Black Hat SEOs are therefore the ones dying a slow death. They use unethical ways like Keyword Stuffing, Cloak pages etc to tweak the search results which may give immediate results but ultimately leads to the site being banned, de-indexed or penalized through lower rankings. On the other hand, the right kind of SEOs – the White Hats – are still very much thriving and necessary for a successful brand development. They indulge in research, analysis, re- write meta tags, optimize content and redesign websites. The White Hats play by Google’s rule and bring in long term results.

Why is ‘White Hat SEO’ important?

Search engines have their own abilities and limitations. However sophisticated they may be, they still cannot decipher things the way humans do. This is where SEO comes into play. Without it, websites and brands could be invisible to search engines. Here are a few reasons why your business needs to invest in SEO.

1.  How It works

The many changes in Google’s algorithm over the years have not deterred the techniques used by SEOs. It can still raise your page rankings and improve your brand visibility through the deployment of the right kind of techniques. A lot of case studies published after the release of ‘Hummingbird’ ( one of the latest search algorithms of Google) can testify this.

2. Search Engines dominate the market

Researches have shown that somewhere between 80-90% of the customers now search online reviews prior to making a purchase and this number is only going to increase further. It won’t be long before everyone starts searching for products and services online. The question is, Do you want them to locate your business? Without the right kind of SEO, you might just stay invisible to your potential customers.

3. Maintain good content repository

With every change in Google’s search algorithms, search engines are changing the way they analyse websites. Keyword stuffing, content duplication and bad backlinks are passé and could be detrimental to your brand. Creating great content with the right amount of keyword density is the way forward as it is one of the factors Google evaluates while analysing your page or website.

4. Your competitor does it anyway

Knowing what your competitors are doing is crucial in running a successful business and SEO is definitely one of the valuable business tools firms are sure to invest in. If you wish to stay competent and searchable in Google and other search engines, make sure you utilise SEO techniques.

5. It is light on your pocket

SEO provides fairly good ROI as compared to other marketing tools like Social Media Marketing, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, Email marketing and such which involves shelling out quite a sum. These may drive more revenue and build your digital image, but the little to nothing you invest in organic SEO can give your brand a strong online presence.

Businesses should definitely put in place a well charted SEO strategy if they wish to succeed in online marketing. SEO may no longer be a lone ranger and may need the support of a sturdy Marketing plan, PR, advertising and other marketing tools. However, this doesn’t in any way make SEO redundant, it still remains to be one of the most important tools in the branding process. Ignore it at your own peril.