SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a term that has been thrown around both online and offline over the last few years and has become a “buzz word” when it comes to the “secret source” of website promotion. But what is it, how does it work and will it help to get us out of this damn recession? In this post we will aim to enlighten you as to what SEO is all about and how it can help to bring in more customers to your website and give you greater brand awareness and mind share online. We will also speak about “Inbound Marketing” and how it works in conjunction with SEO to provide you with a more “holistic” solution to your internet marketing needs. SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of editing or “optimising” the html and other elements of your site so that a search engine is able to read the pages of your website more efficiently. It also incorporates the adding of targeted keywords to certain elements of your websites pages, so that Google and the other engines can get a better understanding of what your content is all about and rank the pages accordingly. But it doesn’t stop there. SEO is labour intensive and includes many other tasks including keyword research, competitor analysis, content creation, link building, URL redirection, sitemap creation, URL rewriting and internal linking. There are many others, but we can see that your eyes are already glazing over so we won’t bore you too much with the technicalities of SEO. The main thing to remember with SEO is that it enables search engines to both “crawl” and traverse your website more efficiently and gain a greater understanding of how you want your site to be categorised in the eyes of the search engines. If a search engine is unable to read your site correctly and if the site is not “optimised” properly for your related industry keywords, you will not rank very well and will be missing a golden opportunity to grab a ton of organic search engine traffic to your site. But, it’s not just about adding keywords to your pages or adding a few links here and there. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Search engines rank web pages using around 200 different ranking factors and NOBODY knows what they all are. It’s their secret ranking recipe and the likes of Google are not willing to share it with anyone for obvious reasons. By taking a more “holistic” approach and by using the many “channels” that are available, we do not become so dependent on organic rankings or focus too much attention on chasing incredibly competitive search terms which in some cases can be almost impossible to rank well for. But how does this “holistic” approach work and what are these “channels”? “Inbound Marketing” incorporates 3 main approaches, one which we have already discussed, SEO, the others being, blogs or the “blogosphere” and social media. In Inbound Marketing, the strategy is focused more on “pulling” visitors into your site. Your site in fact becomes a hub, rich in content and information in the form of articles, blog posts, videos, downloads, widgets, guides and other forms of “viral” content. You see, the web is becoming more “social”. Everyone is blogging, tweeting and updating their status on Facebook. Social Media IS the future search engine. In years to come, people will not be searching so much via “search engines”, rather, they will be searching via their “social network” of friends and colleagues, who collectively will have the answer to almost any question you may have. So by creating a site that is rich in interesting content, you present an opportunity for users to “tweet” your content, tell their friends on Facebook, bookmark your site or share with their friends in some other way via the social web. It’s the future, but it’s also here already. If you are not making the most of these channels and this “holistic” approach to your internet marketing efforts, you really are missing a world of opportunity. For further information on our SEO and Inbound Marketing services please contact us.