What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of increasing your website’s visibility in organic (free) listings on search engines. You may not have heard of SEO, but if you use a search engine you will have been exposed to it without even realising. For this blog we will focus on Google, but similar rules apply to other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo.
Search engines are built on algorithms. These algorithms are a set of requirements that the search engine expect to see built into websites and within a website’s content, and it’s these algorithms that determine what position a website gets; whether it’s page 1 or page 15 million. For example, a search of “bread recipes” loads 159 MILLION results on Google and the algorithm is deciding which order the results are displayed in.
Think of the last time you used Google, did you click through onto page 2 to see those results? Probably not. You Google’d what you wanted and then found it on page 1. This is because Google knows what you are looking for and they are displaying results based on what they think you wanted to see. Chances are they were probably right.
It’s Google’s algorithm that has displayed the results you were looking for because Google is constantly crawling websites, digging into the websites, the information on the website and ranking them accordingly. So now you have the information you wanted, you’re happy and off you go into the sunset with that information – all thanks to SEO.
The whole point of SEO is to increase your website’s visibility across the internet. Let’s take an example. You are a builder based in Rugby. You need to decide keywords for your website such as:
- Builders Rugby
- Building Services in Rugby
What SEO will do for you is promote your website onto page 1 of Google for these phrases. When someone needs a builder in Rugby chances are they will search online for one because who uses the telephone directories anymore? Exactly. Active SEO on your website for these keywords will ensure you come up for them, people click through to your website and ultimately decide whether they will convert into a customer of yours. You earn more money for your business because your website was more visible on a search engine, you’re happy, the customer is happy and everyone’s a winner.
Here is an analogy of what SEO is to the internet compared to your car:
Like a car with no petrol, you can have the best website in the world, but if you are not optimising it with SEO then you are losing out on visibility and essentially customers for your business and your website is much less likely to provide a return on investment.
Ok, How Do I Do It?
SEO unfortunately is not simple and there is no definitive guide that works for every single website. Google currently bases where it ranks your website on over 200 different factors within its algorithm, and these change every single day. Some of the algorithm changes are large ones which can greatly affect your rankings if your SEO is being done wrong and some so small you won’t notice a difference at all. Google changed its algorithm over 500 times 2013.
SEO is not part time. There are many factors you need to keep up with and many algorithm changes you need to be prepared for, which is why it is essential you hire experts to do it on your behalf and essentially protect your website.
Over the next month or so I will be running through the basics of SEO and some of the popular tactics used to increase a website’s visibility in those all important search results. Next week I’ll be explaining how we go about implementing SEO onto a website. With nearly 6 billion searches a day on Google across the world in 2013, SEO is something you and your business cannot afford to ignore.