What is search engine optimisation and answers to common SEO questions

what is search engine optimisation

What is search engine optimisation (SEO)?

In simple terms, search engine optimisation (or SEO as it is often abbreviated to) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of visits (traffic) to a website due to its placement (rank) on search engine such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc, for specific keywords.

How does SEO work?

Search engines like Google, etc, have little crawlers (they used to be affectionately called ‘spiders’) that trawl the internet gathering information and data about all the content they find and encounter.  This data is reported back to the search engine thereby building an index. In very simple terms, this index information is then fed into the search engine’s complex algorithm (a very intense mathematical equation) which then matches this data to the search engine query.

This is why the optimisation of a website is so incredibly important. When developing a website, it’s paramount that the content and code is in a format that the search engine understands. The website needs to ensure the search engine knows what it’s about so it can position it in the search results for the right keywords.  You want to make sure that the search engines know exactly what your website is about so they can present it to people when they are searching for your product or service.

What does an SEO expert do?

SEO is a constantly evolving process that is based on complex mathematical algorithms and technical know-how. Without the help and expertise of an SEO expert managing your search engine optimisation and digital marketing correctly, achieving a top Google ranking may be impossible.

My role, as an SEO expert, it is to ensure my client’s websites are optimised correctly so they appear in the search engine rankings for keywords relevant to the client’s business, products and services.  I want my client’s websites to be seen by their potential customers for as many relevant keywords as possible.

It’s important to note that SEO isn’t easy. The search engines like Google and co. are constantly changing the rules and it’s very important that I stay abreast of these changes and ensure my client’s websites adhere to these rules.  Equally as important is that I understand the client’s business, what they want to achieve online and also, their customers’ behaviours. Search engine optimisation is certainly not easy or for the faint hearted!

Is it possible to optimise my existing website for search engine ranking

Yes, it is possible to optimise an existing website for a top Google ranking. I do it all the time!

Optimising an existing website isn’t too costly either, It is important, however, to determine whether it’s worthwhile spending the money on your existing website or more cost-effective to start again with a new website. When assessing whether it’s worthwhile working on an existing website I consider the following:

  1. How old is the website?
    If the website is old and running on outdated technology it may not be worthwhile optimising it for SEO.  Google prefers websites that are fast and will return a great user experience for visitors. If the website is only a few years old then it is usually worthwhile spending money optimising it for SEO.
  2. Is the website mobile friendly?
    If not, unfortunately, you’ll need to start from scratch with a new website. Google heavily penalises websites that aren’t mobile friendly with a lower search engine ranking. For this reason, it would be a waste of money optimising a website that isn’t mobile friendly.  The good news is, starting with a new website means that an effective SEO strategy can be developed from the outset.
  3. Is the website user-friendly?
    Google likes websites that not only adhere to their strict rules but also provide a great experience for us humans. If your website is difficult to navigate and the information hard to interpret then a website upgrade with SEO included may be better value for money.  The good news is, sometimes a website redesign and upgrade can transform it and make it suitable for SEO.

How much does it cost to hire someone to optimise my website?

The cost for SEO varies from website to website and industry to industry. In general, the larger the website and the more competitive the industry, the higher the cost for SEO as more work is required.  The number of competitors is also a factor that affects cost. If you have a lot of competitors all vying for the same keywords then more work will be required to optimise your website so it’s better than your competitors.  See below for more information.
  1. The size of your website
    The bigger the website, the more work is involved in optimising it correctly. It’s worth pointing out that it can be harder to achieve a Google ranking on a small website than a large one. This is because big websites generally have a lot more content thus providing more pages that can be optimised. The larger the website, the higher the keyword relevancy and the easier it is to target a larger volume of search terms. When it comes to websites, bigger is usually better.
  2. Number of keywords
    The higher the number of keywords you want to target means more time needs to be spent curating and optimising content to ensure you target all the required search terms.
  3. Your competitors
    In short, your website needs to be better than your competitor’s websites. The more competitors you have and the savvier they are about SEO means you also need to be just as, or more SEO savvy, than them.
  4. Your industry
    Competition for keywords varies from industry to industry. If you’re in a highly competitive industry then more time will need to be spent implementing a comprehensive SEO strategy. Additionally, highly competitive industries usually require ongoing search engine marketing to retain a top search engine ranking.
  5. Your target audience
    The broader your target audience, the likelihood SEO will be more costly. For example, if you’re a hairdresser in a local suburb then your audience is quite small and very easy to target. SEO will be easy and cheap. However, if you’re an online homewares store selling to buyers globally then, for obvious reasons, your SEO strategy will be comprehensive and require ongoing search engine marketing to reach such a wide audience.

How much does SEO cost?

As you can see from the points above, the cost of search engine optimisation differs for each business. It’s impossible to quote a single figure for SEO. This is why I’m always perplexed as to how SEO companies offer SEO packages to their clients – every small business is different and so too are their SEO requirements.  Perhaps that’s why so many business owners come to me when their SEO hasn’t worked – it was inadequate for their requirements. My philosophy is always to be transparent with my clients and explain what I think are the minimum SEO requirements. After all, we can always do more SEO later, if required.

Contact Rebecca Mitchell

No ongoing fees | No lock-in contracts | I do not outsource to overseas contractors

SEO questions? If you have any questions about SEO and the cost to optimise your website, contact Rebecca Mitchell on 0418 118 401 or email rebecca@rammarketing.com.au.


organic seo versus adwords

Organic SEO versus paid advertising

What’s the difference between organic SEO and Google Adwords / pay-per-click advertising?

Organic SEO shouldn’t be confused with Adwords or the pay-per-click advertising that often appear in the Google search results (SERPs).

With organic SEO (which is what I specialise in) you are not paying money to the search engines to be ranked in the search results. It is an ‘earned’ result due to effective search engine optimisation.  That’s why the organic listings on Google are considered more authoritative, as opposed to the ad listings who have paid Google for the privilege.  SEO is earned and often results in more relevant information.

As an example, when searching for a “local plumber”, have you ever clicked on one of the ads at the top of the Google search results only to find the plumber is not local? That’s because they have paid Google Adwords to appear in the search results for a range of keywords, including perhaps your local suburb. Then when you scroll down the results to the organic listings, you find the local plumbers located in your region.

About RAM Marketing Website Design & SEO Services

rebecca mitchell internet marketing consultant

Hi, I’m Rebecca Mitchell and I have been providing specialist website design, SEO, online marketing and graphic design services to micro, small and medium-sized businesses and charities since 1996.

One of my most distinguishing points of difference over other website development and digital marketing companies is the advice, knowledge and expertise I provide my clients at no additional cost.

I have been developing websites, providing graphic design and marketing services to Sydney businesses for 25+ years. I have worked with in excess of 600 businesses and charities spanning conceivable industry.

Within a few years of starting RAM Marketing the world wide web became an integral part of our home and business lives.  Over this time I have been fortunate enough to grow and evolve my business, along with the services I offer my clients, in parallel with the way the internet has grown and evolved.  It’s this knowledge, experience and longevity that I am able to share with my clients.

I am constantly learning the new techniques required to remain competitive in an ever-changing online environment.

I am not just a website developer, graphic designer or digital marketer. I work in conjunction with you to determine who your clients are, where they can be found and how we can ensure your marketing message speaks directly to potential customers.  I want your business to get noticed and your goals reached.

Benefits of working with me…

  • Cost effective pricing – working from a home office environment on Sydney’s Northern Beaches I don’t have the overheads of larger businesses so my fees are therefore more cost-effective. Importantly I don’t believe in tie-in contracts or set packages – my services and fees are tailored to your unique requirements and budget.
  • Personalised service – keeping my business structure small and personable ensures close attention is always paid to the specific requirements of you, my client. I keep you involved every step of the way and am always available should you have any questions or concerns. Rest assured, your project will not be passed on to an inexperienced junior but will always be managed by me personally.
  • No job is too big or too small – small one-off jobs are just as appealing as extensive multi-faceted campaigns.  There are no tie-in contracts. My services are flexible and tailored to your specific requirements.
  • Giving you more time to do what you do best – depending on your personal requirements and time constraints, you can be highly involved in the project or leave it all up to me – the choice is yours.
  • Budget flexibility – I appreciate that many small businesses have a limited budget when it comes to promoting their business.  With so many years experience specialising in business marketing solutions, I can recommend cost-effective solutions that will fit within your budget constraints. As above, I don’t believe in tie-in contracts or set packages – my services and fees are tailored to your unique requirements and budget.
  • Training and support – I pride myself on being the first person my clients call when they have a question regarding online marketing and how they should be positioning their business to ensure they are being found by potential customers.  Training sessions and workshops help my clients stay abreast of changes in the marketplace and what they should do to remain progressive and ahead of their competitors.

Thank you and I hope we will be working together in the not too distant future but, in the meantime, should you have any questions about the services I offer please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.

online marketing expert gordon
Telephone : 0418 118 401 | Email: rebecca@rammarketing.com.au