What is SEO in digital marketing?

What is SEO in digital marketing? Is it important to businesses in Ghana? 

This blog is intended to answer the question “what is SEO in digital marketing?”

You’ll also learn the basics of SEO. And it’s importance to every business in Ghana. 

As you already know, coronavirus has brought literally  every business to a standstill. And this has awakened every leader to explore the possibilities and opportunities that digital marketing presents. 

So I decided to look into the best and most sustainable digital marketing strategy for Ghanaian businesses. And of course, SEO is a sure way to go. 

And guess what

Search on Google for the term SEO is on a very high rate over the past few years. 

Search trend for SEO in Ghana. Topic: What is SEO?
Search trend for SEO in Ghana

This means that Ghanaians are appreciating the importance of SEO as a marketing strategy for their businesses.

So, if you are asking for what SEO is and how you can use it for your business, you are smart.

What Is SEO In Digital Marketing?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of getting relevant traffic to a website from a search engine’s organic rankings. 

For example 

Let’s say you are travelling to spend a night in Accra. So you googled “hotel in Accra”

Google search for hotel in accra. Topic: What is SEO?
Google search for hotel in Accra

Google found 10milloion results that are related to your search in one way or the other.

Google results for 'hotels in Ghana' Topic: What is SEO?
Google results for hotels in Ghana

The question is;

How did Google arrange the websites so that a particular hotel showed first, among the millions of sites? That’s where SEO comes in. 

The websites showing on the first page of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) organically did a lot of things right.

And that’s why search engines ranked them high. 

Whatever the website owners did that placed them ahead of their competitors organically, is what we refer to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 

Importance Of SEO To Businesses In Ghana 

SEO in digital marketing is as important to your business as oxygen is to human survival. 

Here are five reasons why it is important to make SEO part of your digital marketing strategy: 

Increase traffic to your website 

The ultimate goal of every website, is to get relevant traffic and grow sales.

Whether you want to promote your brand, get customer feedback, promote an idea, or make sales, you need your target customers to visit your site before the goal can be achieved. 

According to Backlinko,

The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.7%.

That is why it is VERY important to make sure your website shows on the first page. But for best results, aim for the #1 position, and you rest are assured of getting traffic to your website. 

Higher Return On Investments (ROI)

If you think radio and television advertisements have higher return on investment, then you haven’t tried SEO yet.

According to profitworks.com, SEO yields the second-highest ROI when compared to email, direct mail, TV, and other forms of marketing.

Return on investment for SEO. Topic: What is SEO?
Source

Apart from the fact that you spend less for more, SEO is a long term digital marketing investment. 

Let me explain

Let’s say you invested in getting relevant outbound links from websites with higher domain authority. With that one time payment made, you get the benefit of Google ranking your website so high on SERPs.

And if all other SEO best practices are observed and your site ranks amongst the top three, then bingo! Your investment will pay for so many years.  

Nice.

SEO is less costly than you ever thought. 

Last week, I called one of the marketing officers of a famous radio station in Ghana.

I enquired about the cost of doing a morning show mention for real estate for one year. And the price?

Shocking! 

So, as an online marketing consultant, I quickly launched my browser to research and compare the cost of having an agency to manage SEO services for one year. 

And guess what? The lowest cost of doing SEO in Ghana was less than half the cost of a morning show mention on a radio station. 

Well, maybe the results for radio is huge.

Nope! 

If a radio station tells you, “look, every morning our voice reaches 1million people…” Great! 

But let’s face it, how many of those one million people are interested in buying a real estate? 

On the other hand, SEO ensures that your content reaches exactly those who are looking for real estate to buy. And there’s no limitation to who you can reach. 

You can even target Ghanaians in Wuhan (China) and Florida who wants to use their front line Covid-19 allowance to buy a house in Ghana. 🙂

Coronavirus frontline worker. Topic: What is SEO?
Covid-19 frontline worker

Pretty cool

So if anyone told you that SEO is expensive, I’ve done the research and comparison. And I can tell you that SEO is FAR LESS expensive than any traditional marketing you can think of. 

Increases brand awareness 

SEO is one of the most effective means of increasing brand awareness.  

For example, mfidie.com is one of the most highly ranked websites in Ghana. And anytime I think of a source for tech news in Ghana, their name pops up in my mind. Branding!

They’ve managed to register their name in my memory.

It’s obvious that they put in a lot of work and they have fantastic bloggers. But they started from somewhere, and so can you. 

Categories of ranking factors for SEO

Search engines are constantly changing their algorithm. 

Google is said to have reported that it changes it’s algorithm more than 500 times in a year.

And these changes are the basis upon which a website is ranked high or low in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

To make things easier, SEO professionals have categorized such changes into six main factors. And these factors determine whether or not your website will rank high on SERPs. 

Here are the 6 categories of ranking factors. 

  • Link Profile 
  • Technical On-page factors 
  • Performance factors 
  • Content factors 
  • User interaction 
  • Brand factors 

Link Profile 

There is a saying that your network equals your net worth.

And guess what, search engines believe in that too. 

Take your website to be a human being ( although it can never be). If a number of high domain authority sites are linked to your website, search engines assume that your site might be equally important. After all, monkeys play by sizes. 

So if more important sites link to your site, search engines reward you by ranking your site high in organic search results pages. 

For example, getting a link from www.wikipedia.org: Domain rating – 91

Domain rating for Wikipedia.org Topic: What is SEO?
Wikipedia’s domain rating. Source

Will be FAR MORE beneficial than getting a link from www.kakumpark.com.gh: Domain rating – 6

Domain rating for kakumpark website. Topic: What is SEO?
Kakumpark’s domain rating. Source

So if you have a website that isn’t ranking well, consider link building.

And you’ll thank me later. 

Technical On-page factors 

This include site architecture, keywords, meta description, headings, etc. 

For example 

In optimizing your homepage, an important question to ask yourself is; what keyword do I want my page to rank for?  

And once you start writing copy for the page, you have to make sure the keyword appears in the title, meta description, URL, headings and the body of the page. 

In fact, if your page was not built based on keywords, don’t dream of seeing your site on page 1 of organic search results pages. 

Performance factors 

Another important ranking factor is how your website performs. 

Factors such as how long it takes for your site to load, your server uptime and total page size are considered by search engines for ranking a site. 

Content factors 

Content is the bedrock of every SEO strategy.

And search engines are very particular about its role in ranking sites. 

For example

If a website page has less than 200 words, the site could be penalized for not having enough content. 

According to Neil Patel, the best-ranking articles in SEO are long.

Longest articles get higher rankings. Topic: What is SEO?
Best ranking results are usually long. Source

Other content factors include content accuracy with respect to accepted facts, in-depths of topic, table of content, content recency, and frequency of new content. 

And be sure to update your existing content as frequently as possible. 

Brand factors

Although many disregard brand factors, it is one of the key factors considered by Google for ranking a website. 

Examples of brand factors considered by search engines for ranking a website include the following:

  • Brand name anchor text
  • Brand name search volume 
  • Brand + (keyword) searches 
  • Unlinked brand mentions 

User interaction

Search engines are very particular about how users interact with your brand.

For example

Let’s say Kofi searches “how to tell a joke”

He chooses the first website in the search results pages. And clicks on the back button to return to the search results page after 30seconds. The phenomenon

Google would assume that the website could not give.

And since Google’s commitment is to provide searchers with the best results and satisfaction, your site could be penalized by not getting a higher ranking.

User interaction factors include

  • Dwell time – how long a user stays on your site or page.
  • Pogo Sticking
  • Organic CTR – how many organic searches lead to clicks to your site

How To Plan And Implement An SEO Strategy For a Business In Ghana

If you are a marketer or solopreneur with little to no knowledge in SEO, then I would recommend you outsource your SEO to a digital marketing agency.

Here’s a guide on how to choose the best digital marketing agency in Ghana.

But if you have some basic knowledge in SEO or you are willing to invest time in doing it yourself, then here’s how you can plan and implement SEO for your business.

Begin with research

Take your time to do in-depth keyword research about your product or service.

It is important to know what your ideal customers are searching for on the internet. And where the traffic is going.

Once you know that, you can learn from what your competitors are doing right, where they are getting their link from, and the keywords they rank for.

You can use free tools like Google trends, Google keyword planner or ubersuggest for your keyword research.

Google trends for keyword research - Topic: what is SEO?
Google trends for keyword research

But if you need more advanced tools for competitor analysis and keyword research, I would HIGHLY recommend Ahref.

The good thing about Ahref is that you get to sign up for a free 15days trial.

And if you are really serious and committed, you can have quite a lot done during that period.

Audit and edit your site

So you know what your target customers search for (keywords).

What else?

It’s time to edit the website. In doing so, make sure the keywords are included in the page title, headings, and meta description.

Another important factor is to ensure that all images on your website have image alts. And the page’s content has enough keywords and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.

Also, develop and implement an effective link building strategy to get more links to your website.

At this point, every technical related issue such as XML, HTML, security, etc needs to be taken care of effectively.

Other ongoing SEO practices

SEO is an ongoing practice.

To get to the top (or to maintain your position at the top), you need to repeat all the above practices frequently. But most importantly, you have to update the content very regularly.

Depending on your industry and financial capacity, blogging should be done on a daily or at least a weekly basis.

It doesn’t mean you should do it all by yourself. You can easily hire a freelance blogger to help you with your blogging needs.

If you need help with blogging for your site, leave a comment below and I’ll get in touch and help you.

Pretty Cool

How To Track And Measure SEO Results

Now you’ve implemented an SEO strategy. But how do you know if it’s producing results or not?

Website analytic tools.

There are numerous website analytic tools you can use to measure the output of your SEO strategy.

But my favourite one is Google Analytics. And it’s COMPLETELY FREE.

It’s simple. Sign up for a gmail account (if you don’t have one). And use the email to sign in to Google Analytics, and connect your website to the tool.

Google Analytics can give you almost every detail about your site’s performance.

It can tell you how many people are currently on your website, which page they are engaging with, and the demographics of the visitors.

You can also know whether your visitors came through organic search, paid ads, or social media (and the specific social media site).

In fact, the tool can even give you the percentages of people that engaged with your site through a mobile device, tablet, or desktop device.

Pretty nice

But Google analytics is not the only tool out there.

There are other equally powerful tools like Statcounter, Clicky, matomo, etc.

You are at liberty to try any of them and stick to one that works best for you.

Conclusion

By now, if someone asks you “what is SEO in digital marketing?”, I’m confident you’ll speak like a professional (even if you are not one).

You’ll be able to explain the meaning of SEO, it’s importance to a business, the categories of ranking factors and how to implement an SEO strategy for a Ghanaian business.

In fact, you can even mention a few tools for tracking and measuring your SEO results.

So now it’s your turn:

 What key thing did you learn today?

Show love by letting me hear from you. Share your comment below.

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6 Responses

  1. Wow Isaac! Great stuff. Well written too. Thanks for the mention.

    Over picked up a few things myself and I’m going to apply them personally and for mfidie.

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