What is search engine optimisation?

Posted by Abby Mitchinson on 04/10/17 15:05

Many businesses know the importance of implementing SEO solutions these days. SEO is particularly important in an inbound marketing strategy, and it is one of the main ways that you will help your prospects discover your website.

But what if you are starting completely from scratch? What is SEO exactly?

Everyone starts somewhere, so here's a guide to what SEO is so you can start to understand its importance to your overall marketing strategy.

SEO = search engine optimisation

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which essentially means optimising your website to appear higher in the search results.

Traffic generated by the search engines is often called 'organic' or 'free' (as opposed to paid per click advertising), and the goal of implementing SEO solutions is to get more of this free traffic from the search engines.

This traffic should ideally be highly targeted (consisting of people who are searching for the solutions you provide). More targeted traffic translates into more leads, queries and sales.

It all starts with searchHow does SEO work?

These days, we have become accustomed to visiting search engines for information. No matter what you want, search engines are the first place you look.

SEO solutions

  • Researching how to build a shed? Search for the instructions.
  • Thinking about buying a new TV? Search for some reviews.
  • Ready to buy a new bed? Search for the best deal.
Mostly, search means Google – especially in the UK where it has a big share of the market (over 80% at the time of writing). However, other search engines like Microsoft's Bing still play a role.

They all show results almost instantly when you type in a query (or increasingly speak directly into your phone) by presenting a list of web pages, videos, images, social media results and more.

When someone searches for something related to your business, you want one of your web pages to show up.

The higher you rank in search, the more of your prospects will find you and discover your products and services – and hopefully become your customers.

But to do this, you need to know about how the search engines work so you can ensure you're doing everything right to rank.

How does SEO work?

To know how to implement effective SEO solutions, you need to know the basics about algorithms.

Search engines use these to automatically work out which pages they should rank for their users based on their query. And because there are billions of web pages and an almost infinite amount of possible search queries, algorithms are constantly being updated to provide the best user experience.

Google's algorithm is complex, but Google helps us by clearly stating the factors that it takes into account when ranking websites. Some would argue that Google has over 200 ranking factors. Some of these include:

  • Domain authority
  • On-page SEO
  • Content length
  • Page loading speed

You can read a full list of Google ranking factors here. The basic SEO strategy involves knowing what these are and then optimising your web pages for them.

You might also be interested in knowing how the search engines evaluate your website, and this comes down to the use of crawlers.

Essentially, they crawl all over the internet, discover content and take the information back to index. The index is fed through the algorithm, which then matches your website to a search query. (You can find out more about this process here.)

How to get started with SEO

As you might have gathered, SEO is a big topic, and putting powerful SEO solutions into practice is not always easy.

However, there are many steps that you can take to get started and start improving your ranking. An example of this is starting with keyword research - you can download our free guide below...

Beginner's Guide to Keywords

Topics: SEO