To understand the risks and rewards of SEO, it is first important to understand exactly what it is.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or ‘SEO; is the process of garnering more views of a website (and more quality views from a certain demographic) via ranking more highly on search engine results.
SEO drives traffic to a site through what is known as organic search results – results that the business does not pay for as opposed to ad-driven traffic. Organic search results depend on on-site content – that content can range from meta tags, titles and copy content.
Quality content is spotted by Google algorithms that match that content to search engine queries – and ranks the page(s) according to relevance and quality.
Proper SEO content is essential for a business in the 21st century. With increasing numbers of people searching for products and services on the Internet those businesses that do not engage in SEO optimization of sites can be at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
Benefits of SEO
So good SEO practice is essential. It can power a sales funnel, encourage customer loyalty and attract new customers. Good SEO practice can be tremendously powerful – but there are risks to employing SEO – let’s take a closer look at the rewards of great SEO and some of the potential downsides when it is not employed correctly.
Risks of ignoring SEO
So what are the risks that are worth taking?
Firstly there is the obvious one – ignoring the power of SEO completely or not measuring how effective an SEO strategy is.
Avoiding the pitfalls of a failing SEO strategy involves measurement and comparison between the SEO terms that work and those that simply do not. The business should know the target audience that they are aiming at and make appropriate changes to SEO terms in order to find what works.
Importance of optimizing meta descriptions
Take meta descriptions. If the site is getting lower than average visits it may be time to substitute some of the terms and descriptions for alternatives. It may seem a random approach but it may be a case of trying alternatives and measuring to see if visitor numbers are improving. It may be a process of trial and error – but the business should keep its eyes on the prize and continually refine its SEO content.
The role of outbound links
Another important part of any SEO strategy is the correct use of outbound links. These are links to third party sites.
Although it may seem to be counterintuitive to provide a link to a third party site it does pay dividends. Visitor numbers may decrease – but google will reward links to quality sites (that are sites that are trusted and authoritative). However, these links rely on balance, too many to low-quality sites and the business risks been flagged by Google as not providing a quality resource.
Another risk worth taking is enhancing the site’s URL. URLs should be short and to the point – and easy to remember. The inclusion of a business name is essential. Other pages should have richer content with more in-depth information on services and products.
But changing a URL structure is not without risk – a site may see a dip in traffic as algorithms doe their business. But changes are worth exploring. A streamlined URL impresses google and can attract greater visitor numbers.
What are the overt risks of SEO?
Beware of wholesale changes to the website structure. Deleting a page can lead to problems. Once it is gone the keywords that were employed on that page are also gone. That can have a negative impact on visitor numbers. There may be value in leaving pages up – even if the product or service is no longer offered – a simple message to this effect can be extremely effective.
Making small changes to the website is a great idea. Google likes fresh content. But don’t go making incremental changes too regularly. Google may see changes that occur too regularly as red flags – and the site can be labeled as suspicious.
As with most things in business analyzing risk vs reward is essential to the success of SEO strategy. A business needs to keep measuring the effectiveness of their search engine optimization.
Focusing on content – and doing in-depth research on the preferences of potential clients can go a long way to increase SEO value.