What is SEO?
If you have begun looking into digital marketing then you've most likely come across the term SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
Now, if you have begun looking into SEO then you have probably found by now that it can get quite complicated. So, in this article I am going to give you a basic explanation of what SEO is.
To begin with, let's discuss search engines.
Whenever we want to find something on the internet, we use a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, and we use what we call a search term. Whatever we type into that search bar, that is the search term.
Now, let's say we were to look for a business. Let's say a mechanic in Sydney. We type in ‘Sydney mechanic.’ That search engine will then scour the entire internet looking to find the most relevant, or at least what it thinks are the most relevant websites to that search Term. In this case ‘Sydney mechanic’. The search engine will then give us a list. These are the search results. That list is the most relevant websites for that search.
Now, very basically, SEO is a process of small details that you can create on a website; things as simple as the words on the website or how the website is laid out. These details, quite basically, will make a search engine “like” your website more for that particular search term.
More advanced forms of SEO do get into some more complicated things; things like coding, how a website is optimized, does it work on mobile, etc.
It does get complicated, but the basics are there are a few small things that you can do that gives your website an advantage in certain search results.
Now, one thing you do need to realize is that SEO is not a one-time thing.
Unfortunately, that is the way that a lot of people usually market it; people who are SEO “experts”. (I use “quotation marks” because if you are marketing SEO as a one-time thing you are either trying to cheat people or you don't understand how the search engine algorithms work)
Which brings us to “algorithms”
So, what a search engine algorithm is, again, basically it is the way the search engine thinks, and it is how a search engine will determine what is most relevant to a particular search term.
Now, before I keep explaining why SEO is not a one-time thing, I need to explain another important thing to remember if you are hiring someone to do SEO for your website. This message comes straight from Google. And, when one of the biggest search engines in the world tells you something about how search engines work, you should probably listen pretty carefully.
Anyone who ever guarantees, or should I say “guarantees” that they can get you at the top of a search result is most likely lying and trying to scam you.
This is because, for starters, the way the algorithm works means it would only be possible (if it was possible) to ‘intentionally’ get to the top of a search result for a single search term.
For instance, imagine someone was to search for ‘Sydney mechanic’ and you were at the top of the list for that search result; all the searcher would have to do is change the search term even simply, something as simple as ‘north Sydney mechanic’ and even if you were in North Sydney that different search term could drastically change your position on the list of search results.
It could push you further down the first page of results, or it might throw you to some of the other pages. So, there are NO guarantees.
The second thing is that the algorithms are constantly changing, and this is why SEO is not a set thing. It is not a case of, you do it once and then you forget about it.
Because, imagine you were at the top of a search result; your SEO was absolutely perfect for that search term, and you were at the top of the search results, a couple of months later the search engine algorithm could be updated. Now the search engine is “thinking” differently about that search term, and it might decide that your website is not as relevant to that particular search term anymore. It may push your website down the list or even throw you to the second or third or even tenth page of that search result.
So, with all of that in mind, I am sure you can see that there is no ‘set and forget’ when it comes to SEO. SEO is an ongoing thing. Every couple of months at the least you should be revising your SEO strategy.
One of the biggest advantages of search engine optimisation in marketing is that, other than hiring someone to fulfil your SEO needs if need be, SEO is a completely free process. The only thing you need to invest is the time to research, create, and then implement your strategy.