SEO - what, how & why

By Ryan Mitchell | Director
02 January 2018

SEO – what it is, how we do it and most importantly, why we do it.

Search engine optimisation (SEO for short) sounds like jibbersh if you have never heard of it before. With the digital marketing industry constantly growing; it’s safe to say that the buzz words will keep on popping up. I’m here to shed light on one of the most powerful forms of digital marketing.

What is search engine optimisation? (cutting through the jargon).

According to Search Engine Land, SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. I understand that you’re probably asking yourself “how does that affect me and what does it mean to my business?” Well, if you’re a dentist in the heart of the city, chances are there will be people searching ‘dentists in Auckland’ trying to find a place to get their pearly whites shined. If you’re a dentist looking for more customers, you will want that person to come to your dental practice and not your competitors.

The unfortunate thing is, you may be the most skilled teeth shiner in all of Aotearoa, however – if you don’t show up on the first page of Google, the customer won’t find you and you won’t get their business, simple. The customer will go to the dental practise that was easy to find when they were searching for it. In business context, SEO is “the art of putting your website in front of people who are actively searching for your product or service, so you can convert them into a customer” (yes, that was made up by the team at Fabric, snazzy right)

In business context, SEO is “the art of putting your website in front of people who are actively searching for your product or service, in hopes that they turn in to a customer” (yes, that was made up by the team at Fabric, snazzy right).

How we do it (simplified without technical buzz).

In the quote for Search Engine Land, you’ll notice the phrase ‘free search results.’, meaning you do not need to pay every time someone clicks on your website; this differs from pay per click advertising such as Google AdWords, because like “PPC’ suggests you pay whenever someone clicks on your website.

Phase 1 – On-page SEO optimisation.

With SEO, you need to carefully select keywords and phrases that your customers are typing in so you can show your website to them when they search. Selecting these keywords is called ‘keyword research’ and we spend roughly 4 – 6 hours on selecting keywords that:

  1. Are transactional / purchase intent based ( ie - dental clinics near me)
  2. Have enough search volume (no point ranking for searches when no one searches for them)
  3. Are relevant to your business (ranking for ‘SEO Auckland’ when you are a dental practise won't bring in relevant traffic)

Once we find out what keywords your customers type in, we weave (Fabric pun, da dum tss) those keywords throughout your websites content and meta-data so Google or any other search engine can easily tell that your website is about those keywords.

We also analyse your websites architecture and mark up to ensure that there are no red flags or errors – Google does not like it when websites are slow, spammy, are coded poorly or violate any of Google’s guidelines (there are a lot, I will write more about it later).  Depending on the size of the site, we spend roughly 10 - 20 hours optimising the on-page SEO factors. I have only briefly touched on them, we commence over a 100-point SEO on page guide to ensure we fix every nook and cranny.  On-page SEO accounts for roughly 30% of your keyword ranking.

Phase 2 – Off-page SEO optimisation

Once your website is up to Google’s standards, we start building back links to your website. The more links you have pointing to your site, the more Google sees your website as an authoritative and important site on the internet, and the higher up it will show your website for search results.

We carefully stage our link building process so that we don’t do too much, too quick – an influx of back links to your website can look unnatural. The first month consists of getting your website on local directories; these sites are a great way to get a link and attract relevant traffic through to your website. Back link building is so vital to your websites ranking, it accounts for roughly 70% of Google’s ranking factor.

After your website is on the directories, we start creating relevant content related for your industry. If you are a dentist, we may write an article how ‘Brushing your teeth twice a day decreases gum disease by 40%’. We distribute it to a niche news or PR site and ensure that there is a link to your website somewhere in the article. When Google commences its regular crawl of the entire internet, it will pick up the article we have posted, analyse it and realise that the article is linked to your site; which will tell Google that your site is important because you have a link from another important site. There are a few more factors and technicalities like anchor linking, content quality and proper use of keywords throughout the article but I won’t go into this.   

Depending on how aggressive you want to approach your websites SEO, we release up to 3 articles a month across various news websites and niche blog sites – once again, a lot more technicalities and strategy goes into play that I could write about all day.

Why we do it. (It's because we are slightly obsessed with SEO).

I’m not one to beat around the bush and fluff things up. We do SEO because WE LOVE IT (cheesy but true). There is something extremely satisfying about bringing a website from position #60 to #1 - #2 for a variety of keywords and seeing qualified traffic and new leads come pouring through the door. Let me say that again, qualified leads coming in from customers you have never met because you rank highly on Google.

Take the search phrase ‘Adwords management agency’ as an example. 6 months ago, we weren’t even showing on Google for the keyword. Now we sit at a comfortable #1 - #2 (search engine results always fluctuate, again – I won’t go into it).

SEO is an art form that has no definitive clear path to success; sure, there are guidelines, but Google doesn’t release the exact way it’s algorithm ranks websites – opening a massive amount of interpretation, testing and iteration. Being an SEO Company means you need to constantly adapt and learn with the realisation that what worked yesterday, may not work today, and what will work tomorrow is still unknown (yep, just made that one up too).

I understand that there is still doubt in a lot of business owners mind that SEO doesn’t work; I feel this is due to the sheer number of cowboys in the digital marketing industry; I was even asked if ‘being in the digital marketing industry is hard due to all of the competition’ by a CEO of a local company a few days ago, my reply? It isn’t when you’re awesome at it. When done right, SEO is an amazing form of digital advertising that provides an extremely high return on investment.

Over and out,

Ryan