If you’re in the business of selling products or services online, you’ve probably heard that you need SEO.
“So what is SEO?” you ask.
The goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to improve rankings of websites and web pages in search engines’ “organic” (or unpaid) search results.
Here is a list of the most important and well-known search sites:
- Yahoo! (powered by Bing)
Search engines use so-called “crawlers” to browse the Internet and store copies of content they find. This content is later indexed by the search engines to allow users to find information almost instantaneously.
For example, if a user searches for “garden gnomes” in Google, the Google search engine will look through its index and apply a series of rules (“algorithms”) to pull back the web pages that Google thinks is most relevant for the “garden gnomes” search.
The green box in the above Google results page highlights the “organic” search results. This is the set of results that SEO works to improve for a given website or web page. According to Google, amazon.com is the most relevant website for the “garden gnomes” search.
The reason SEO is so important is that 85% of clicks are on organic search results. I.e., if 100 people searched for “garden gnomes” in Google, 85 of them would click one of the links in the organic search results and 15 would click on one of the ads (e.g. “Garden Gnome Store” up top). Yet, most companies spend almost all of their search engine marketing dollars on paid ads versus SEO!
Search engine algorithms change on a daily basis. A big part of a SEO practitioner’s job is to keep up with these trends and recommend SEO campaigns to improve rankings.
Key factors in rankings are:
- Keywords in title tags and header tags (part of the HTML in the website)
- Number of quality external links to the website
- Keywords in text that is used to link to the website (called “anchor text”)
- Trustworthiness of the “domain” of the website (e.g. www.webgnomes.org)
An SEO Audit is a great way to get started with SEO and to get recommendations for improvements to your website that will ideally result in higher rankings and more customers.