June 3, 2020

Beyond knowing what the letters SEO stand for, its importance and what constitutes an optimal outcome of search engine optimisation, I know little about this essential dark art come science. That is what sets me apart from the people who send you those emails promising brilliant SEO results – I know what I don’t know! I have worked with many SEO gurus and in my experience – they promise big and deliver small, or as a friend often suggests – ‘they promise the world and deliver an atlas’. They secure a substantial retainer and then demonstrate that their skills at collecting fees and using jargon far outweigh their skills at driving qualified traffic to your website.

That said – you would be justified in asking – if I know so little about SEO, what am I doing writing about it and chairing a business that specialises in it. The answer to the first question can be found in the first paragraph above – I know how important it is, and I can recognise optimal SEO when I see it. The answer to the second question is also simple. I ensure that the business I chair employs people who know just about all there is to know about SEO and have the attitude and capacity to deliver, on time, to budget and specification – on every project – without using jargon or trying to blind their clients with science. The thing is SEO has changed what it used to be in the past.

Let’s talk then about the importance of SEO. Here are some statistics you should know:

  • 61% of marketers believe that SEO is the key to online success.
  • 78% of location-oriented searches resulted in an offline conversion.
  • The SEO close rate is eight times greater than traditional marketing.

I think it is safe to suggest that search engine optimisation is essential.

Highlighting the importance of effective SEO, it is worthwhile considering the following:

  • 67% of click-throughs go to the first five organic listings.
  • 93% of online experiences start with a search on Google or Bing.
  • Only 25% of users go to the second page on a search engine.

While it might be necessary, SEO is also neglected by many businesses. Consider:

  • Only 36% of small businesses have an SEO strategy.
  • 54% of small businesses rely on in-house expertise.
  • Only 28% of small businesses engage an SEO consultant.

I think it is safe to say that small businesses do not take SEO seriously enough.

The reason that most SEO consultants are a waste of space is that SEO is easy to talk about and hard to do. Consider:

  • 60% of page rankings in the top 10 on Google are three-plus years old.
  • In some markets, up to 74% of search uses voice – requiring a very different strategy.
  • 40.7% of all answers from voice search are pulled from a Featured Snippet.

One of the aspects of SEO I find most interesting in 2020, is local search. Consider these statistics:

  • Local searches maintain a conversion rate of 80%.
  • 46% of Google searches have a local intent.
  • 28% of local searches result in a purchase.

Many businesses I come across the need to look very closely at the huge opportunities that can be found in an effective local search strategy.

A trend that is really starting to take off in 2020 is voice search, which requires a very different approach to the standard search. Consider:

  • 50% of consumers now use voice-driven search.
  • At least 20% of mobile searches now use voice.
  • 75% of local searches on mobile use voice.

Voice search is the way of the future, and I didn’t mean the distant future. It is happening now!

The three things I dislike most about SEO consultants are:

  • The use of jargon designed to blind clients with science.
  • The failure to advise clients that SEO takes time.
  • Failure to be absolutely transparent.

Jargon and quasi-science reflect a lack of understanding on the consultant’s part. A sound SEO strategy might produce some results in 3 months but takes 6 to 12 months to work effectively. The only way to deliver optimal results from SEO is to develop and implement a strategy that is integrated with the overall marketing strategy – with a rationale being provided for each element of the strategy. Transparently and knowing what is being done and why is essential.

Search engine optimisation has worked brilliantly for me – but only when I engage the right consultant. Look for people who don’t try and bluff you with jargon and science – but rather work with you to develop and implement a strategy.

SEO is both an art and a science. What it need not be however is an excuse for platitudes, jargon and blinding clients with science. To understand more about engaging the right SEO consultant – or even how you have address SEO better in-house – contact Thomas Matthew at DQ Australia. He talks plain English and knows that all you want to do is maximise the return on your investment

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