What is SEO? And how do you get started?
The three letters ‘SEO’ might not mean much to you but, as you’ll soon come to learn, they hold the key to getting your website noticed online. That’s because, in the digital marketing world, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation – and if your website isn’t appearing in search engine results, what hope do potential customers have of finding it?
Thing is, SEO isn’t something you can automate or ‘activate’ with the click of a button. It’s a science which requires an understanding of how the likes of Google and Bing work, and is a continuously evolving process. Even if your website had great SEO when it was built five years ago, search engine algorithms have changed significantly since – so effective SEO requires an up-to-date knowledge of best practices.
What you’re trying to achieve
As touched on above, the SEO goalposts move around on a regular basis. Advice on how to optimise your website was very different a decade ago from what it is now. This is because companies like Google are constantly trying to improve their search algorithms. Their goal is to make it as easy as possible for users to get their queries answered, so they regularly revise how their algorithms work to make sure they deliver the best results.
In order to deliver those results, search engines like Google and Bing employ an automated process called ‘crawling.’ They scan your website to understand what it’s about, and this information is then stored in a search engine’s index. When you type a question or term into the search bar, the search engine’s algorithm then pulls results from this index which it feels are the best match.
So, in a nutshell, SEO means making it as clear as possible to search engines (when they crawl your site) what you do, how you do it and what you’re all about as a business. The clearer they are able to understand what your website is about, the more likely they are to rank it highly in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
And don’t think you can cheat the system by employing questionable tactics like ‘keyword stuffing’ – this may have helped in the past, but modern search engine algorithms reward good-quality, well-written content that’s unique to your website.
SEO is very important, but it’s not the only thing you should consider when writing content: you need to think about your audience as well. Search engines are placing ever more emphasis on the quality of your content and how well it answers people’s questions, so writing something that’s engaging and a joy to read has an SEO benefit too!
Don’t waste time looking for your ‘golden ticket’
Now you know what SEO is, you’ve discovered the tip of what is a very large iceberg! There’s so much more to SEO than you might think, and there’s no magic potion that can guarantee you quick wins. If you want to rank highly on the likes of Google or Bing, you have to play the long game. If you stick with it though, applying the right techniques and filling your website with top-notch content, the results of your efforts should be well worth it – and could help take your business to the next level.