I started speaking to a restaurant owner recently about redesigning their website and taking over their digital marketing. Naturally, to understand how I could help him, I had a variety of questions for them about his current marketing.
“How do you manage your social media?”
“Do you run run paid ads?”
“Do you do any search engine optimization?”
One of his replies was very interesting to me. His words were “Our website has SEO on it”.
He explained that when he had his website built, they “added” SEO to his website.
“But that’s not how SEO works” I explained to him.
I realized this would be a great topic for this site, so here I am writing about it.
You see, SEO isn’t something that simply gets “added” to your website. It is a long-term, ongoing process that takes a lot of work. And if you’re NOT doing SEO, and your competitors are, it means they’re likely getting further and further ahead of you in their SEO authority and it will be more and more difficult to outrank them.
So, in this article, I’m going to explain how SEO works and why you must constantly work on it.
Google displays websites and information based on a combination of relevancy and reputation.
They always want to help their users find exactly what they’re looking for as quick as possible.
So Google constantly analyzes all the websites online and looks at key indicators that your website will be the most relevant and reputable for their user. The top three indicators are:
All three of the above top ranking factors require constant work.
Content – Website content is an ongoing thing – you need to constantly put new, relevant content onto your website so Google can learn what your website is about. The more relevant content you have on your website, the more authoritative Google views you as. This is a constant race to out-do your competitors. If you simply have 4 outdated blog posts on your website while your competitors are putting up new blog posts every week, Google is simply going to trust their website more.
Inbound Links – Perhaps the biggest element of SEO is links. Google evaluates the links that are directed back to your website. Bigger, higher ranking sites that link back to your site give you tremendous credibility in Google’s eyes. For example, if you’re a shoe store and Nike puts a link on their website to yours, Google recognizes that as a leader in your niche trusting you enough to link to your site. This significantly increases your SEO.
In fact, there are whole agencies that do nothing but find link building opportunities for you. If you’re paying someone for SEO, then its part of their job to reach out to these big businesses and websites and negotiate a link swap on your behalf.
Additionally, you may have 20 links directed back to your website, but you may have a competitor who has been in business longer or who has gotten the SEO jump on you and has 500 links. You’d need a couple hundred reputable links back to your site to even compete at all. And by the time you’re done, your competitor may have 100 NEW links back to their site that you have to out do.
The point of all this is to show you that the key factors Google looks for while deciding how to rank your site require ongoing work. It’s a constant battle against your competitors to out-content and out-link them. It’s why SEO is usually the most expensive marketing service that an agency would offer you. It takes a lot of work, time, and know-how!
Don’t let anyone fool you and tell you otherwise. A one-time “SEO package” to format your website content properly is the first step, but then theres ongoing work after that if you really want to be competitive.