For a lot of people, search engine optimisation, or SEO, is a mysterious term that means about as much to them as HTTP or CSS. They know it is important and technical, but aren’t really sure how it works. On the most basic level, SEO can be thought of as the “networking” aspect of the website. What this means is that just like if you were looking for a job and needed to meet lots of people and get your name out there, your website must go through the same.
Going back to the analogy of networking, there are a few ways to improve your website’s SEO profile. The most basic way is by having people naturally find you by providing great content. This would be just like having a friend introduce you to someone who needs your help or has value for your skill set.
Additionally, you could have situations where you make yourself most easy to find on LinkedIn or through other job searches. In website terms, this involves using techniques such as keyword optimisation and backlinks so that people looking for information on a certain topic are funnelled towards you.
The simplest definition of SEO is increasing the visibility of your web page by getting more traffic through various methods. The two different ways mentioned above show the main differences between the two categories, but there are lots of different techniques you can use to increase your visibility continually.
Increased visibility and increased traffic are synonymous, and both generally result in more sales. Google controls a large proportion of the world’s online traffic, and the SEO industry is focused around capitalising on this traffic to increase sales for the company. It sounds simple, but the industry has a huge opportunity and is worth about $65 billion.
This may sound like a lot of money just for being better at Google, but going back to our analogy of looking for a job, the gains that can be made from finding employment are huge, and people are happy to pay for that value-added.
The two big reasons for the high value of the SEO industry are competitiveness and adaptiveness. Studies have shown that Google’s top 5 results get 75% of the clicks. Thinking back to how you use Google, how often do you scroll to the next page? I would bet it isn’t that often. People are inherently lazy and want to use the top results and not waste time going through every single one.
This creates an incentive for Google to provide the best results at the top to create more customer value, which means that you as a company must convince Google you can provide some value to the customer. This creates a very competitive landscape for companies to compete upon for those top 5 spots.
Adaptiveness is necessary because Google is constantly changing their algorithms to become more efficient and provide more customer value. The top ranking web page today could lose that position tomorrow if Google makes a few changes that affect the ranking. SEO experts are paid to keep up-to-date with this stuff and make sure that a website is continually ranking on the top level of the search results.
So on a basic level, SEO is about improving visibility to increase traffic and sales. There are a tonne of people vying for these top spots this has created the very competitive industry SEO is today.
Check out this infographic by SEOJury for more facts about SEO:
What’s the biggest SEO challenge for your online store? Tell us below or tweet us!