What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of configuring a website to appear highly in the natural or free search engine results for searches relevant to your business. These are the results to the left of the Google results page generated by the Google search algorithm. Google takes no payment for positioning in these results, and rank is based purely on Google’s assessment of a page’s relevance to a query.
A website will need to appear at or near the top of the first page of the search results to get significant traffic. Obtaining a high search result for a business is hugely valuable as it has the potential to dramatically increase website traffic and, therefore, sales and brand awareness.
Google does not publish its algorithm, and techniques for improving website performance are a matter of much speculation. This lack of clarity has led many charlatans to sell expensive, ineffective solutions for improving rankings to unsuspecting business.
Benefits of SEO
SEO is a vital part of any effective online marketing strategy. Organic search results are more trusted by consumers and receive more clicks than ads. Quality content that ranks well for important keywords will be a gift that keeps on giving, while advertising needs constant funding to send traffic to your site.
In summary, the benefits of SEO are:
- Primary source of traffic. The Google natural search results are the largest source of traffic in every sector (source: Growth Badger)
- Cost-effective. If managed effectively, SEO is a cost-effective method of traffic generation. The traffic is ‘free’, though there may be costs involved in generating traffic and getting the right advice.
- Targets researching consumers. SEO gets your business get in front of your target audience as they are actively searching for information. This is the preferred first port of call for 62% of consumers (source: Hubspot).
- Branding. Visibility on searches related to your business can have a positive impact your brand. Your business can become associated with and trusted by searchers asking questions as they conduct research leading to a purchase.
- Sustainability. Unlike paid search, organic traffic does cease the moment you stop paying.