Simple SEO - Search Marketing and Assessment

SEO Simple Search Marketing
SEO is daunting, the level of complexity and branching into different disciplines from the early days is huge. While most people know the term SEO to generally mean 'how to get people on the internet to visit my website', terms like Search Marketing and a whole host of others dominate this important practice.
This article is aimed at those who don't really care what industry agencies call it but simply want to increase traffic and visitors to their websites. And while we are saying that yes, SEO is a very complex and specialised field a company or website doesn't necessarily require a specialised SEO campaign or huge budget to substantially increase their visitors and search results position on search engines.
Quite often attention to the basics, focused targets and helping clients understand how the aspects of SEO work that they can perform themselves will produce substantial results. Though we don't promote ourselves as a focused SEO/Search Marketing company Rain has a strong record of results for SEO/SEM operations also involving Reputation Managed, when we consult and implement Digital Strategies.
Recently we increased a client's traffic by 1500% by applying various techniques but without a huge campaign.

The Playing Field

When looking to increase your search ranking and traffic it's really important to decide who exactly are you intending to bring to your site, and what you wish them to do when you get there. This is generally profiling, but in a simple sense (and we are doing simple) we have an idea of our client and what we expect a person would write as a search engine query when looking to find your services.
We can also do this and see who comes up in the results, and quite likely if it's often rival services and competition you are aware that this is the playing field where you are trying to get yourself number 1.
There is also a level of being smart about this because certain phrases maybe highly competitive, but if your business is not trying to be the World Champion, it'll make sense not to compete against World Champion companies, but immediately comparable companies. If you are not getting the results against them now, it would be a good place to start then trying to win an Olympic Gold Medal when you don't even finish in the top 5 in the regionals.

The Competition

When consider the playing field, we start to understand its about the immediate competition. What is preventing you from achieving the number 1 stop is the strength of your competition's SEO for the phrases and terms people are using to find your service. So when seeking to rise up the rankings you are looking to best this competition. This means before embarking on a big campaign, assessment of your competition is quite vital to your success. It's also vital to understand your own level too. Being able to see how strong the competition is allows you to set appropriate goals and understand how much effort will be necessary to try and overthrow them from the top spot. 

It's also all relative

Not only do you need to understand the competition, but also know exactly how your current level sits compared to them. Therefore self assessment and comparison to the competition is vital to understanding what can be done.
If your general SEO is very very poor, this is actually quite a good thing since it means there is a lot to improve which will very quickly boost your search results. It might also mean too that despite your competition being above you, their SEO strength could actually be not so strong. This provides plenty of opportunities to be able to best them. However if your website already has strong SEO and the competition is ranking nicely above you, it will mean there is a much tighter fight on your hands.

Importance of Assessment

The above seeks to express why the choosing of search terms to compete for, and then assessment of yourself and competition is so important before embarking on any great implementation or agreeing of service with marketeers. A good SEO service will want to define your targets and relative competition first, and you should want this. It then allows them to present you with all the options available, where you can decide the extent you want to go to achieve the rank desired. That's when you can start implementing and seeing the results. Providing guidance through this initial stage is very important because an SEO service is advising you where and how to pick your battles, and where to focus effort with the best chance of success. They can also help you understand why, and in doing so assist in understanding what your own company can do to maximize success and help you be realistic about it.

Importance of Guidance

Quite often someone might hear about how blogging regularly will increase their traffic and so commission a blog and start with the intention of regular articles. Even if this advice is actually very sound there is a lot more to how this should be implemented from the blog itself, how and what is created and the resources available to make this happen. Even hiring another party to do this requires specific things done correctly by the client. You do need to be aware of exactly what is being written don't you! 
There are many different 'operations' that can be performed to produce the type of SEO results desired but all have their own cost, effectiveness and chance of success. When what exactly is required can be properly explained and honestly discussed it can help a client improve or save them a huge amount of lost time and resources. Whether it is company success or showing the value of your decisions to a superior everyone wants to feel satisfied that the effort equalled or exceed the expected result.

What are we saying here?

The subject of this article is 'SImple SEO', and in many cases a business can drastically improve their organic search rankings through onsite changes to their current coding, intelligent adjustment to content and following best practices without needing a specialist SEO agency, buying specialized packages marketed to 'boost SEO' without any attempt to assess business needs a long drawn out and extended campaign or massive budget.
Now of course there are plenty of cases that may warrant the above but that'd be indicated by a correct assessment and consultation and show what is required to achieve the desired result. And what is interesting is that sometimes 80% of the result is much more efficient than demanding the last 20%, which ends up costing 80% more. Assessment is key to efficiency and efficency is king.
For many businesses the practice of picking an appropriate playing field, understanding the strength of that playing fields competition and their own is enough to then implement a very efficient boost in search results, traffic and most importantly increase in business which can be implemented by professionals with enough guidance for that client to understand  the process without creating an overly mystical field of SEO magic or trying to achieve attainable but overly costly and thus inefficient and damaging goals.