SEO stands for search engine optimisation, or search engine optimization – depending on where you hail from! The basic premise of SEO is to optimise your website so that it ranks as high as possible in popular search engines, including: Bing, Google and Yahoo. Once your website starts to rank well in search engines, it will start to receive organic traffic.
Do you see those red arrows in the image above? They’re pointing organic search results on page one of Google for a search I performed for “shoes”. The rest of the websites on the above page are Google AdWords results – something we’ll cover in a blog post in the very near future.
Search engine traffic is highly coveted by website owners for a few reasons. The most obvious reason being that it’s “free” – the second reason being that it converts highly. Compared to different forms of marketing – let’s say television adverts, for example – search engine traffic is highly targeted. If someone is taking time out of their day and making an effort to actually search for your website, there’s a very good chance that they’ll convert into a sale or customer.
A range of factors are taken into account by search engines when sorting their search results. Some of the most important factors include the number of back links pointing at your site, the frequency with which it’s mentioned on social media, and of course the actual content published on your website. Search engine algorithms are hugely complex, hundreds of thousands of metrics are taken into account – they pick through hundreds of millions of potential search results to deliver the most relevant links for you to explore.
In the past, getting your website to the top of your chosen search engine wasn’t particularly difficult. As time has gone by, search engines have become wise to “black hat” methods used to “game” the system (usually an abundance of low quality back links, or similar). Nowadays, making your website appear at the top of the search engine results is a delicate science – something that takes a while to come to fruition. Good search engine rankings begin with quality website content (including articles, blogs and videos).
High search engine rankings can provide sales and leads to practically any business with a website – whether you run a restaurant, an ecommerce business, a window cleaning company, or any other kind of business. Search engine traffic can (and does) convert into sales and money, so it’s worth investing time to optimise your website so that search engines display it prominently in their results.
Content matters, and it matters a lot. You’ll find lots of articles out there that underline the importance of great content; these articles on Moz and Search Engine Land are a great place to start. Put simply, the content on a page is what makes search engines decide where to rank it. Good content is rewarded with good rankings, poor content is pushed to the back of the queue – the deepest, darkest depths of the SERPs that no one ever looks at (not a great place to be!)
Content doesn’t just help search engines to determine how good (or bad) your website happens to be. It also encourages users to build links to your website and share your content on social media – both of which are ranking signals that search engines use. So, in a nut shell, publish great content on your website and people will share it – when search engines see people sharing your content they’ll assume your website is relevant and that people want to see your website. In turn, they’ll send your website higher in the search engine rankings.
Optimising your website isn’t something that can be done overnight. Often it’ll take months – maybe even years – for your website to start ranking prominently for related search terms. That said, the benefits of having a website that ranks high in a search engine are numerous, so it’s something that every single website owner should consider. Good search engine rankings start with great content – there’s no getting away from it!
Talk to us now to find out how the quality content that we write can help your website to sit a little prettier in your favourite search engine.