SEO… It’s become an acronym that we hear nearly every day, within a huge variety of different environments. There is no doubt a huge amount of content online in terms of SEO guides, best practices, changes in algorithms, Pandas, Penguins, the latest SEO “buzz”, the newest secret techniques there is surprisingly little about what SEO is, or indeed why you should even care about it? So here goes.
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, and optimised content is any content that has been created with the purpose (or at least with a shared purpose) of making it to the first page of search engine results pages (S.E.R.Ps) for a chosen keyword or phrase.
For example, if you owned a bakery in London, you could assume that some popular searches from your target demographics could be ‘cakes in London’ or ‘London cakes’. By incorporating these phrases into your content, Google is able to match the request with the content, delivering your website as a potential destination.
And every single piece of content that your business creates can be optimised for this purpose. Homepages, landing pages, research reports, blogs – through SEO, search engines are able to match you with those people looking for you.
There’s a common belief that SEO is all about driving more traffic to a website and facilitating conversions and sales from organic positions. But this, really, is a symptom of SEO i.e. something that often happens as a result of successful SEO. Conversions and sales are not what SEO sets out to achieve but almost invariably, when done right, it is what results across ALL channels
We know that almost all traffic comes from Google’s first page of results; what many don’t know is that Google’s second page doesn’t just fail to drive traffic… it also largely fails to be seen at all. Three quarters of web users never scroll past the first page, which means that without good SEO, building brand awareness becomes even trickier.
SEO is absolutely essential from a digital marketing perspective; it is the ultimate way to connect customers with the right businesses, and businesses with the right customers. But it’s not quite as easy as it may seem. Search engines scan for keywords and phrases in your content, but content isn’t the only factor that contributes towards ranking position.
Each search engine has its own ranking algorithm, with Google’s being notoriously complex. Google’s algorithm takes into account a whole range of factors which all come together to determine ranking, including website credibility and authority, the number of links you have, the time it takes your page to load and even keyword position on the page.
Search Engie Optimisation is like sitting an exam, where the reward is high domain authority, prominent visibility on SERP’s and good coverage to your most relevant audiences. Failure in its most extreme case is exclusion from the index with no (or very little) recourse for appeal. As with any exam, especially one so critical to online success, learning, constant training and professional help are highly advisable.