What Is SEO?

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years (and a rock without free Wi-Fi at that) you will have no doubt seen or heard the acronym, SEO. Someone may have recommended it to you as a way of growing the number of visitors to your site, or maybe you read that SEO was the secret to success and you want to know more. Either way, read on for the lowdown on SEO.

What Does SEO Mean?

Although it’s easy to explain what the letters mean, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, it is somewhat trickier to boil the whole process down into one bite-size sentence. The simplest explanation would be that SEO is the title given to a number of practices and processes by which a website is enhanced so that search engines such as Google and Bing will place that site higher in user’s search results.
As with any process, there is good SEO and bad SEO. Too many people think they have the whole area cracked as soon as they have read one article or book on the subject, and a lot of webmasters have been duped in the past into spending a fortune on agencies who have woefully underestimated the complexity of SEO. A good SEO agency will transform your business.

Why Do I Need SEO?

Search engines such as Google like to rank their search results based on the sites that they think are most authoritative and relevant to the words or phrase that the user typed into the search box. Because there are so many websites in the world (around four billion), it is impossible for any single person or company to read and rank each one, so search engines use a complicated set of programming code called an algorithm to deem which sites rank high and which sites don’t.
This means that search engine results are not a level playing field as webmasters who know how to enhance their site so that it impresses the algorithm will undoubtedly rank higher than those who don’t, regardless of the actual quality of the sites. One way of looking at SEO is that it re-levels the playing field; if every site in the world was optimised to the same level, the Google ranking would come down to which site was the most popular and whose content was best.

What Are the Benefits of SEO?

Studies have repeatedly shown that web users rarely go past the first page of results after searching for a word or phrase. The typical search engine will show ten results per page which means that while being ranked number 11 out of 750,000,000 results doesn’t seem that bad, more than three quarters of searchers will never find your page. Good SEO should rank your site in the top ten, resulting in an incredible rise in traffic.
Another benefit of good SEO is that it will enhance your website for a number of search words and phrases. Many webmasters design their site with just one key phrase in mind. What this means is that if a web searcher types exactly that phrase, then the site will rank relatively high, but as soon as the searcher varies, even slightly, from that phrase, the site will be nowhere to be seen.

How Will SEO Help Grow My Business in 2012 & 2013?

Imagine your website as a shop. The very simple formula for shopkeepers is that the more visitors that there are, the more products they will sell and the more profit they will make. Increasing the number of visitors to your site with SEO will raise brand awareness of your company, boost sales and transform your business.
In the past eighteen months, search engines have redesigned and improved their algorithms to reduce the number of spam sites that appear on search results. This means that if your website was last given an SEO makeover more than a year or two ago, you could see your search ranking drop like a stone. Unfortunately, many SEO agencies are struggling with the new rules meaning that a lot of webmasters are spending money without seeing results. So if your site isn’t ranked as highly as you think it should be, or if your current SEO agency isn’t delivering on their promises, it is time to sign up to an agency whose expertise and knowledge will help grow your business now and long into the future.

I am a director, marketer, designer and thinker. I love all things tech, travel, music and culture. Follow me on Twitter, and Google+

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