What is SEO?
SEO, is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation. But other than another potentially confusing bit of jargon, what is that and why is it important?
This question goes to the core of how people find things on the internet and why people have websites in the first place. If you have a business and sell a product or service, you can have a website to promote that business online – the site, in essence, serving as a digital shop window for you.
Nothing revolutionary there.
However, it’s unlikely that you’re the only one selling that product or service and unlikely that you’re the only one who has a website to help you do so. Therefore, you probably want your site to be more visible than your competitors sites in order to get more people to visit.
After all, a business website is no good to you if no-one can find it.
More Visibility = More Clicks = More People Browsing = More Sales
When people search for anything online they’re statistically most likely to click on the top result first. If that satisfies their query, they probably won’t look elsewhere, so there’s tremendous value to being in that number one spot or at least as high up the search results as possible.
The top result in any search gets around 31.7% of the traffic, with 24.71% going to position 2 and 3rd place getting 18.66%.
Positions 4, 5 & 6 get 13.6, 9.51 and 6.23 percent respectively.
The last 4 places on page 1 get 3-4% each and a page 2 placement will get your site less than 1% of the clicks for any particular search query.
It’s not for nothing that it’s said the best place to bury a dead body is on page 2 of Google – almost nobody looks there!
With this being the case, the higher you can get your business up the search ranking positions for the search terms most relevant to your business, the more clicks you’ll get and consequently the more sales you’ll make.
SEO, then, is the subtle art of using our knowledge of how search engines work, either on or off your site to influence where your site appears in search results.
Google is the search engine with overwhelming market share, so it’s the search engine we’re most concerned with, but there are, of course, other search engines and it’s worthwhile considering them too.
How Long Does SEO Take?
SEO is a massively dynamic process. The basics are fairly straightforward, but the strategies that work well today might not work so well tomorrow, so one of the most important things to do is stay on top of the latest developments in how to make your site rank above your competition.
Don’t despair though, chances are that your not competing against multi-billion multi-nationals, just another small business like yours who is always coming up above you in the Google search.
There are no guarantees with SEO and you should be very wary of anyone offering cast iron guarantees to get you to number one. (Yes we’ve all had that ‘Greetings of the day’ email within minutes of registering a new domain, offering to get you to number one on ‘The Google’).
Your SEO specialist should be able to explain, after having looked at your site analytics, a strategy, or strategies for improving where you rank and expectations of potential results for doing so, but anyone worth their salt is likely to avoid making definitive specific pledges.