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Why SME’s need to invest in SEO 2014

Today many SMEs still ignore the true value of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), opting for more traditional or familiar marketing channels when putting together a media plan.

It is understandable that SME business owners and managers alike opt for familiar marketing channels because they cannot identify with the long term benefits associated with search engine optimisation.  As a matter of fact it is quite plausible that many business owners or media planners do not even understand the terminology.

Search Engine Optimisation is a relatively new concept in media; to explain simply –  SEO typically refers to the optimisation of content published on one’s website and the websites of others.

However it is a far more complicated process than one might initially think Search Engine Optimisation involves use of optimisation techniques within the back-end code of your website and the physical content visible to potential consumers at the front-end. It requires constant monitoring and updating in order to keep up with competitors and changes to Google algorithms.

In 2012 the popularity of online marketing in Ireland increased tenfold, this lead to an upsurge in digital agencies, freelancers and amateur “SEO experts”, trying to make money fast.  As a result Google implemented some of the most influential changes to its algorithms between the 2012 and 2013. The aim of these changes was to prevent spam tactics from manipulating ranking results and ensure searchers were receiving high quality information from reliable sources.

Of course for many companies that invested in poorly managed SEO services this lead to the de-ranking of their website and in some cases websites being blacklisting from search results for being incompliant with updates. Whilst horror stories of “SEO gone bad” and “Help, my website has been blacklisted” began to flood the internet as a popular topics for discussion.

Today the influence of these stories is still very evident as SMEs and corporate companies alike continue to build websites; overlooking the real value of Search Engine Optimisation due to ignorance, lack of information, poor experience with mediocre businesses.

So why should 2014 be any different?

Nothing to fear: Most mediocre SEO businesses were wiped out with their poor performances during the algorithm updates in 2012, and 2013.

However, when it comes to SEO 2 golden rules apply:

1. “If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.”

2. “You get what you pay for.”

The above well-known phrases couldn’t be more apt when it comes to SEO, it is as thought they were written especially, with reference to the recent chaos.

Search Engine Optimisation is a specialised process requiring knowledge of search engines, websites, communications and much more.

So when committing to an SEO campaign be sure that your provider will supply you with real-time access to a project management system containing the status of activities completed and pending. You should also request a monthly report to identify the impact of activities in terms of increased web-traffic and conversions.

Ask how the company works and how they will approach your campaign.  In every successful campaign there is always a research phase, whereby the selected company reviews the current status of your brand online. Research should include: an online visibility, link building and competitor analysis. From this a key improvement areas should be identified, and a strategy should be built to encompass these improvements.

ROI: SEO is not something that you will hear about on your TV or radio, as a matter of fact it pretty much a stranger to all forms of traditional media. However, for those who are aware SEO can offer excellent benefits, particularly for SMEs with a relatively modest budget and the patients to wait up to 6 months before seeing a return on investment.

Your SEO Campaign:

Although all SEO campaigns are unique and should be treated as such, it is advisable that you have a budget of at least €4,000 – €6,000 to invest in a really good 6 month campaign.  Some companies may have a set -up fee, though these figures are pretty miniscule compared to the price of a 30 second TV advert –even off peak.

The list below demonstrates (roughly) the work that would typically be involved in campaign for a typical SME in Ireland.

1. Keyword research and site analysis

2. Competitor analysis

3. On-site optimisation

  • Page titles and meta descriptions
  • Headings
  • Page copy
  • Site Architecture & navigation
  • Add new pages to target additional keywords
  • Address index and technical issues

4. Off-site optimisation

  • Decide on link sources
  • Contact publishers
  • Create content
  • Create links on a monthly basis
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