What is SEO? | A Beginners Guide

What is SEO? | A Beginners Guide

When asked “What is SEO?”, some make it sound as complicated as possible. This article was written to answer it as simply as possible, in plain English. 

Search Engine Optimization, often referred to as “SEO”, is the process of increasing a websites visibility and traffic through the search engine results. In addition, it is a great way to increase the quality of a website by making them user and mobile friendly.

In order to understand SEO, it is vitally important to understand how the major search engines work. You may think of Google, Bing or Yahoo as a website that can magically list you multiple answers to any question. Which, in most cases is pretty true. But have you ever wondered exactly how it works?

Well, put simply, all major search engines have what is called a ‘crawler’. The purpose of a crawler is to gather as much data as possible from all the websites across the internet. This data is then brought back to the search engine to create an ‘index’ and fed through an ‘algorithm’ that tries to match all of that data to what was originally being searched for. Simple eh? 

That’s Search Engines covered, now I’ll briefly cover the O part of SEO – optimization.

There are many different influencing factors in the algorithm that can dictate what is listed in the search engine results pages (SERPS). The optimization for this algorithm can take many forms; from creating content with the correct keyword density, to making sure the title tags are informative and the correct length. But essentially, Google will display what it thinks is relevant and authoritative

Why Is SEO Important?

Search Engine Optimization is more important than ever in today’s competitive market. A fundamental change has been happening in consumer behaviour for the past decade, whereby the mobile device is our main source of information.

Ask Yourself This: when did you last look in the yellow pages for a local business?

Search engines serve millions of users per day looking for answers to their questions or for solutions to their problems. It is therefore essential that your business is ranking as high as possible for the relevant search terms.

SEO is important because:

  • In most cases, users will click on one of the top 5 listings for their search query. If your website isn’t in the top 5 you are missing potential customers every day.
  • Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching for, will increase the trust the user has in you.
  • SEO will put you ahead of your competitors. If two web sites are offering the same service or products, the search engine optimized web site is more likely to have the most traffic, and consequently more sales.

Want to Learn SEO?

Still unsure if you could answer the question “What is SEO?” A good starting point that we recommend is to read Moz’ Beginners Guide to SEO. This guide will help you whether you are completely new to SEO or just want to recap on anything you have already learnt.

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