Recently, we spoke with Nicolai Vittrup, founder and CEO of Webamp, about his story behind the digital agency and his exciting company culture. In this article, he continues to share his insights and explains to us what SEO is, the misconceptions around it, what it can give a company, and how to improve it.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become increasingly important for companies as a large part of doing business has moved online. For organizations, online visibility can be a valuable asset and bring a competitive advantage. Nicolai argues that in today’s market, online visibility equals visibility, period. And SEO is the essential foundation for longtime online visibility.
Without SEO, your website or webshop will most likely find itself on page two or beyond in Google’s search results, which pretty much equals not being found by your customers. People’s attention span is notoriously short when browsing the internet, so don’t expect your customers to scroll through four pages of search results.
Users click on one of the first three search results in Google’s search results page – partly because they will see the top results first, but also because most people assume that the sites at the top provide the most relevant and trustworthy results.
So in short, SEO contributes to visibility and credibility.
So what is Search Engine Optimization?
Vittrup begins by demonstrating that the first place people go to for a product, service, or answer, usually is Google. When going through the results, people more often click on the top results, instead of scrolling down to page two and beyond, statistics show.
These top results are not there by coincidence, Nicolai explains. These results are there because the content and code of websites have been altered, developed, and fine-tuned to show up in the search results in response to what people look for. SEO is the process of ensuring that search engines understand a website’s content and that they know that this website has the best and most relevant content for the user.
Although there is increasing awareness of SEO, companies still have many misconceptions regarding the concept. Vittrup shares with us some of these misunderstandings.
His first example refers to the fact that many companies think SEO can be outsourced:
I can’t stress this enough! SEO is a collaboration between the SEO provider and the company in need of SEO. SEO is not a plug and play solution – one size doesn’t fit all. There has to be a match between your company’s reality and the provided SEO solution. Thus, your company has to engage in order to see results.
Occasionally, companies also don’t understand how much labor goes into search engine optimization. Although SEO revolves around algorithms, bots, and machines, there is still a serious amount of clocked man-hours needed to make for successful results. If companies don’t understand this, they sometimes aren’t willing to pay for SEO, despite the importance of doing so.
Nicolai continues to explain that even though SEO can successfully boost the number of site visitors, traffic is not always king. Rankings and traffic are important for a company, yet if they don’t convert into leads, they are pretty much in vain.
If you were running a steakhouse, you would probably be pretty unsatisfied if all of your guests were vegetarian. And you probably wouldn’t sell many meals.
Traffic has to be relevant to convert into customers or leads.
To ensure relevant traffic and optimized ranking, the entrepreneur gives us his top-5 tips on how to have the best SEO practices in place.
1. Optimize your page content
Way back In 1996, Bill Gates predicted that content would be the very foundation of the internet. And this prediction holds up to this day.
According to Vittrup, content is crucial. Optimizing your content means writing user-relevant quality that is written for people and not for machines. When you have understood the importance of ‘user relevance’ and ‘quality’, your content can increase the possibilities for better rankings.
2. Build relevant links
Link building is another important aspect of SEO, where the aim is to have strong and trustworthy domains feature backlinks to your website on their pages. These backlinks are like votes that tell Google your website is worth visiting.
Link building unfortunately also carries a bad reputation due to black link building strategies, like the use of link catalogs or link building articles only created to create backlinks. However, when done right, Nicolai believes that this can be a valuable asset for your website.
The keyword is quality, not quantity. And yes, obviously it takes outreach and energy to build quality links. But your hard work will pay off in the end.
3. Optimize your metadata and URL’s
When people search on Google, the results that are shown only contain a small part of a website’s information. Namely, a title, a URL, and a short piece of text. The title and text are referred to as metadata and should contain the right targeted keywords for good ranking. Your title tag is also important for making a good impression. Nicolai adds:
Don’t forget to write catchy meta descriptions as well. Because while not being a direct ranking factor, a well written and relevant meta description will help to engage users and make them click. This is called improving the click-through-rate (CTR) – and CTR is a ranking factor.
4. Make your website mobile-friendly
Mobile optimization is another crucial factor for optimizing your ranking in search engines. As over 50 per cent of users browses the web from their mobile phone, it is important to have your website displayed correctly on all screens.
5. Speed up your website
People hate waiting for sites to load – but so does Google. Thus, a slow loading website will also hurt your ranking in the search results. So make sure to speed up your website.
Companies who get their SEO right, with the help of this advice, can see the benefits and growth that come from it. Online visibility is key to generate new leads and customers and to significantly boost your business.