The Great SEO Misunderstanding in Taiwan

If you are reading this article and you’re from Taiwan there is a good chance that you’re probably thinking that SEO is some keyword shopping technique and a somewhat ineffective way to promote businesses online.
First of all, SEO is not about buying keywords nor bidding on those keywords to be on the top results of Google (or to that extent any other search engine) with advertising such as AdWords.
Did you know that 77{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} of users do not click on search results from paid advertising such as AdWords?
That is because users know which search results are advertising, and users do not like advertising. Instead, most users click on organic SEO results, as they are naturally inclined to consider those results reliable and quality oriented. I am not saying AdWords and other forms of paid online advertising are not useful, but they shouldn’t be the first element of your online marketing mix strategy.
I decided to write this article because many our clients in Taiwan and the rest of Asia before choosing Nordasec were thinking that SEO is about “buying” keywords and ranking on the first page of search engines with 5 keywords or so.
This is technically correct…if we were in 2005. So what does SEO mean in 2015, or should we say, what is effective and quality-oriented SEO?

SEO in 2015 is SEM
Our potential clients were not impressed by SEO, and rightfully so. In Asia, there are a great number of “SEO agencies” or web design agencies claiming to be doing SEO as part of their services.
Most of those agencies are focused on providing very inexpensive services and are involved in an ongoing price war with their competitors, where all of them have reached their lowest price point, meaning that providing a full set of quality SEO services is practically impossible. Therefore, they have stuck to the old ways of doing SEO, positioning clients on the first page of search engines on a pre-agreed number of keywords.
The problem is that in 2015 the old tricks don’t work anymore, but why?
Google, and all other search engines have evolved, the old “tricks” of SEO don’t work anymore. Nowadays quality content is king, and a link on a reputable website with authority is more valuable than 10,000 links on some obscure directories from the days of “link building”, which is a cheap and very old SEO technique now largely ineffective.
That is why in 2015 SEO is part of a wider SEM (Search Engine Marketing) strategy that should span from a correctly structured website not solely focused on being search engine friendly, but also offering user-focused, quality content, social media, mobile marketing and email marketing.
Good SEO agencies should be crystal clear with their clients, and tell them that nobody can guarantee a certain ranking because no SEO agency owns a search engine and no agency has any influence over search engine policies.
A good SEO company should guarantee its’ clients relevant organic traffic from real users from a segment of the market relevant to the client and authority on search engines. Those factors are far more important than being placed on the first page of search engine results with some keywords. Traffic and authority come first, the ranking will be a consequence of the quality of the content.
As simple as it sounds organic traffic from real users relevant to your business means more potential customers. Potential customers that, if your website is correctly structured, will become your customers.
Finding the right keywords takes time, sometimes a month, especially if your business has no previous record of keywords used. A SEO analyst with experience in the target market is required to craft a list of keywords to launch your search.
As a manager or business owner, what you’re interested in is not only attracting visitors to your website, but paying customers, so a good SEO agency has to be able to devise a strategy focused on the keywords and quality content that bring in the biggest ROI.
Here is a list of factors to consider for a really effective SEO strategy in 2015

Users first: Your website must be correctly structured and easy to navigate, interesting for users and not overstuffed with content on the main page.

Up-to-date: We’re living the mobile-era revolution, if your website is not mobile-friendly you’ll be penalised by Google.

Obsolete technology: If you are still using Flash on your website you have to get rid of it. Most mobile browsers do not support it and you’ll be penalised.

Quality content is king: Content such as useful information, well-presented products and a full list of what you are offering are key to attracting potential customers.

Loading speed: Loading speed is a ranking factor when it comes to SEO, but also important for users. If your website fails to load in less than 5 seconds you’ll lose customers. If you’re in Asia, and you want to attract buyers from abroad, you need to rely not only on a correctly developed website, but also a fast network of servers.

Keywords analysis and research: Keywords are important, but coming up with a list of effective keywords takes time. A good list has to be mastered and calibrated with a SEO strategy that lasts no less than 6 months. Rome wasn’t built in one day.

Target analysis and research: Different users can use different keywords to look for the same information/service/product online depending on their location, sex, age and education. This is as important as a keyword research.

Communication strategy: Social media, mobile and email marketing are effective ways to promote your business and acquire customers. Every business is different and has its own peculiarities when it comes to the market and customer base. A good SEO agency should at least be able to counsel you on the most effective communication strategies on every platform.

Blog, blog and again blog: A blog is an effective way to attract highly interested users to your website, by offering them well thought and quality information you not only attract relevant traffic to your website, but you also show your potential customers that you have an excellent knowledge of your business.

Commitment: SEO is not a quick in-and-out strategy, it takes time and commitment. Results often take several months, but when those results start to come in they are long-lasting and come in considerable numbers.