One of the UK’s leading digital professionals has warned that as many as 70% of British businesses don’t fully understand SEO, or the methods employed by Google’s algorithm to analyse, rank, and display relevant search results. This is a particularly troubling statistic as many firms struggle to stay afloat during COVID-19 and risk squandering their budget on SEO campaigns that simply won’t deliver.
Digital marketing professional Craig Campbell, who has worked in the field for close to two decades, says that his own research shows that businesses are becoming increasingly frustrated with SEO. He believes that many organisations often fail to see desired results, even when working with some of the country’s leading SEO agencies, because of process gaps preventing marketers from helping clients reach their full potential.
Campbell, a Glasgow-based SEO consultant, says the problem stems from SEO transitioning from a valuable, growth-facilitating, strategy-based process to a fashionable, must-have trend. While organisations might know of SEO by name, they may not fully understand best practices. The result, according to Campbell, is a growing movement towards smaller businesses “trying to bash square pegs into round holes”.
“SEO has been the big thing for the last few years, but now more and more businesses are getting tired of it, and that’s because, while they have read up on what search engine optimisation can achieve, they’re not seeing these results from the SEO agencies they work with,” says Campbell, Founder of training and consultancy firm Craig Campbell SEO. “Of course, in some cases the reason for not seeing results could be the SEO company itself, but more often than not it’s because businesses are failing to consider the vital prerequisites of SEO that need to be in place prior to working with a partner.”
So just what are these prerequisites? According to Campbell, the major differentiating factor between underachieving firms and their high achieving counterparts is that the underachievers fail to take the time to build a strong online presence before getting started with an SEO partner. “SEO isn’t a single task, there are a lot of pillars required to succeed such as building a user-friendly website, creating quality content, and developing a social media presence,” says Campbell. “Quite frankly, there’s only so much an SEO consultant can achieve when there’s nothing there to optimise!”.
His advice for small businesses wanting to improve their online visibility and boost their ranking position for relevant search terms is to take some time to better understand Google, and the algorithm it uses to determine rank. While Google’s ranking algorithm is notoriously secretive, there are many known factors that go far beyond keywords and phrases, including domain authority, page load speed, mobile usability, site architecture, server location, SSL certificates, and more. Campbell’s advice for small businesses? “Focus on developing your website and online presence first. Optimising for visibility can come second.”