What is SEO?

The Purpose of Search Engine Optimisation


Let’s break it down and keep it simple.
First and foremost, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is about getting your business found on the internet.
Putting effort into SEO will ultimately mean your website will be seen more often when someone uses a search engine like Google to look for words or phrases that relate to your business.

It may not be apparent when you’re using a search engine, but there are things a business can do to show up more often, rank higher, and surface in the right places. Google and other search engines are hyper-focused on answering people’s questions. Therefore, SEO is about making sure your website is sending them the right information so they can match you up with the right searchers.

Think of Google as a food critic and your business as a hard-working sous chef.

Google’s critics (bots) regularly visit all the restaurants (websites) on the internet, acting as info-gatherers and judges of your food (web presence).

You’ll want to put on your cleanest apron, make food that they like, and clearly show off what you can offer to the world. That way, Google gets their facts straight when sharing about you in their published critique (search engine results).

Ok, it’s not a perfect analogy… but you can imagine why your business wants to be friends with Google. They are regularly sizing up your website to decide how often to show you to internet searchers.

However, SEO is not only about “getting to #1 on Google.”

Besides becoming friends with the search engines, it’s also about building trust with your prospects or customers. The better experience someone has with your business online, the more likely you are to show up in the search engine results long term.
We dig into this more in our SEO Basics Guide.

Google’s Organic Results


Why Google?

Over 90% of searches happen in Google.
Because of this, we often focus SEO efforts on being best buds with Google.

However, Bing, Yandex, and Baidu are still valid search engines. Baidu is almost exclusive in China, so if your target audience is Chinese, it will be important to also pay attention to that search engine.

Also, Google has the most picky requirements. If you are making Google happy, the other search engines will likely be happy as well.

What are Organic Search Results?

SEO is about ranking in the organic section of the search results.

That may sound strange, so let’s clarify.

Google allows for advertisements to show up at the very top of the page when someone searches. You can identify these ads as they typically are labeled as “Ad.” To appear in those slots, you need Google Ads.

SEO efforts are about getting ranked in the area after the ads, also called “organic results.”

Why Holistic SEO?


Holistic SEO means paying attention to tactics that have both a direct and indirect effect on the search engine results.

Google publishes guidelines about specific things they are looking for, and those tactics are direct.
However, other things affect SEO in a chain of events.
Direct Example
Google requires that your website has a security certificate. That means your website address has “https” in front of it, like https://www.yourcompany.com. Implementing this has a direct effect on how Google ranks you in searches.
Indirect Example
The look and feel of your website can affect the way a visitor interacts with it. Typically, they arrive on your website looking for something. If that something is hard to find, or hard to read, they may leave your website quickly. Google doesn’t judge the look and feel of your website per se, but how long people spend on your site does affect SEO.

Can My Business Benefit from SEO?


If you want to get new people onto your website, SEO can benefit your business.

It can increase your brand awareness and website traffic, and can help answer people’s questions.
If you have a great product or service, then you want people to be able to find you – and that’s where SEO comes in.

Important to note: SEO is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
The approach often looks different for every business depending on your industry and who you want to reach.

The Impact of Time on SEO


SEO is a long game.
It shouldn’t be undertaken with expectations of instant results.

Laying a foundation of SEO will allow your website pages to show up in search results for years to come, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Optimisation efforts will typically take between 6-12 months to kick in depending on how many other websites are vying for the same space. All the more reason to get started!

SEO Methods and Tactics


There are three main “umbrellas” of SEO strategies:

On-Page SEO

This area covers all the things you can do to your website set up that affects SEO.
Examples include:

Website speed
Keyword optimisation
Security certificate

Off-page SEO

This area covers all the places on the internet that people “talk” about your business.
Examples include:

Link building (getting people to link to your website)
Reviews
Social Media

User Experience

This area focuses on making sure visitors to your website are having a smooth experience and getting what they need.
Examples include:

Accessibility (for the vision- or motor-impaired)
Easy to read website
Website text that the visitor can relate to

We dig deeply into these areas in our SEO Basics guide, where we lay out specific tactics and what tools you’ll need to accomplish them.

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