What does SEO stand for and why is everyone so scared of it?

It’s a commonly used term but… what does SEO stand for?

SEO stands for “search engine optimisation.” It is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural results on search engines

Why is it such an evocative subject?

All major search engines (Google, Bing etc) have search results pages (SERPs). The main part of the SERP is the listing of results returned by the search engine in response to a search term.

The order or ranking is decided by a large number of factors that judge the relevancy, quality and trustworthiness of a webpage. Put simply, the search engines dictate the rankings. Which can ruffle a lot of feathers. Particularly for a business that is outranked by a competitor offering an inferior product or service.

There are no shortcuts (that don’t risk penalisation) and unlike paid advertising, you can’t just pay to be near the top.

So why bother with SEO?

To answer this question, it’s important that you remember the original question; ‘what does SEO stand for?’. It’s the process of optimising content to attract traffic from search engines.

Saying that you’re uninterested in SEO is equivalent of saying that you’re not interested in appearing on search engines.

The truth is that without visibility on search engines, the amount of business generated by your website is limited. The only traffic you will get will come from sending people directly to your content, through other means of inbound marketing.

So, how do you achieve the coveted top spot on the search engine results page?

This is the question that SEO professionals hear the most from their clients. “What is the one thing I need to do to get my website at number one on Google? Is it magic? hidden keywords? or just lots of smoke and mirrors?”

The answer is none of those things. Nor is there just one crucial thing to do.

There are lots of different things that need doing and it starts by understanding that no website is always ‘number one on Google’. Google displays websites in the order of relevance for the user. For example, if the user searches for ‘health food shops near me’ the results they see will be ranked according to location.

The SEO process is vital if you want potential customers to find your business, without you having to find them first!

If you successfully rank for a popular, relevant search term you can expect traffic to your website. To achieve this, there is a process.

First things first. Make sure that the content is relevant. Use online tools to research the search terms that people are using to search for your products and services. You must also make sure that there’s a good chance of ranking for them, judge the competition accordingly.

For example…

You’ve targeted the search term ‘top quality Italian food’ for your restaurant’s homepage.

When people type ‘top quality Italian food’ in your locality. You want to make sure that your restaurant appears near the top of the results listings.

To achieve this there are a number of things that need to be in place. These include:

  • The optimisation of interesting and engaging content using the correct HTML tags.
  • User experience analysis – allowing a user to navigate your website without obstacles
  • Effective ‘Calls To Action’ throughout the website to encourage user engagement.
  • Snappy meta descriptions to engage with the user from the SERP.
  • Creating and submitting a sitemap to ensure that search engines can crawl the website.

And many, many more.

SEO is an ever-changing process, but the results are worth the effort.

If you are serious about increasing traffic through to your website and want to build a long-lasting presence on the web then SEO is crucial. It can seem like a mammoth task, but it can be very cost effective in the long term. Especially when compared to paid listings.

You’ll be able to see the results for yourself by using web analytics to measure the impact made. Furthermore, you’ll notice improvements in the most important area; the profit margins.

If you don’t have the time or resources within your business to handle your SEO, then employing an SEO expert is a good idea. We can advise you on the most effective way to climb the rankings.

If you’re interested in how SEO can improve your business get in touch with us. We’ll discuss the pros and cons with you to help you to make a decision that meets with your immediate needs, is future-proof and supports the growth of your business for years to come.