Search engine optimisation, otherwise known as SEO, is the practice of gaining traffic from free, organic or natural search results within search engines.
The major search engines, for example, Google, Bing and Yahoo, all have primary search results where web pages, as well as other digital content is displayed and ranked based on what the search engine believes is most relevant to the users. With this type of search engine marketing there is no payment involved with the search engine; in contrast to paid search marketing, where the search engine charges a fee to display your listing in a certain position.
What is the True Meaning of SEO?
- Quality of traffic – Having thousands of visitors to your website is great, however if they’re coming to your website but aren’t interested in what you have to offer then this traffic is not quality traffic. Instead you want to attract website visitors who are interested in what your website has to offer.
- Quantity of traffic – Once you have secured the right traffic to your website from search engine result pages (SERPs) you can start to work on growing the quantity of this traffic.
The role of search engine optimisation in all of this is to optimise your website for the keywords that reflect your website and what people are searching, ensuring that your website is displayed to the people searching for what your website has to offer.
What Exactly is an Organic Search Listing?
An organic search listing is any listing within a search engine that doesn’t require payment to receive the traffic. Examples of organic search listings include:
- Knowledge Graph Results – is an infobox displayed next to the search results that displays information about various topics including, brands, company information and people of significance, such as celebrities or historic figures.
- Local Search Results – if you’re searching for something Google considers a “local” service, the local pack will be displayed. This is a map listing which also shows details for three local companies.
- Featured Snippets – like organic listings but they can be displayed anywhere on the search result page, however they go into more detail than standard organic listings; often showing answers to searcher questions.
- Standard Organic Listing Results – displayed below ads and local search results, organic listings show depending on the keywords people are searching for and whether they relate to your website content.
In comparison, types of paid search listing results include:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads / AdWords Ads – normally displays right at the top or bottom of search result pages. Provides an easy way to display your website high within search engines, although it comes at a cost.
- Google Shopping – appearing as blocks either at the top or side of search results. Shopping ads display product information from e-commerce websites for people searching which strong commercial intent.
Below is a look at an example search engine result page which has a variety of search engine results.
How do Search Engines Work?
Search engines exist to discover, understand and organise the internet’s content in order to offer the most relevant search results. As previously mentioned, for your website to be displayed within search results the content needs to be relevant to the searchers query. However, for this to happen your website needs to be visible to search engines.
Search engines have three primary functions:
- Crawl – The search engine scours the internet for code/content, scanning the website code/content for every URL they find.
- Index – Once they’re crawled the content the search engine stores and organises it. Once a page has been added to the index its eligible to be displayed with a search engine results page as a result to a relevant search query.
- Rank – Search engines need to decide which pieces of content will best answer the searchers query, which means the results are ordered by relevancy to the search query.
Not all Search Engines are Equal!
Most people are aware of at least a few different search engines, however, when we go to make a search query there’s really only one that comes to mind and that’s Google. Many people are aware that Google, by far, holds the largest market share of the search engine market, however, a frequently asked question is how important is it to optimise for other search engines, such as Bing, Yahoo and others?
The reality is that although there are over 30 other search engines, much of the SEO community only pays attention to Google. This is because Google is where the majority of people search the web, as well as the fact that when combined with Google’s other subsidiaries, such as Google Images, Google Maps and YouTube (which is also owned by Google and the 2nd largest search engine in the market), Google accounts for more than 90% of web searches – nearly 20 times Bing and Yahoo combined.
Consquently, when it comes to search engine optimisation, there really is only one search engine to optimise for!
How Do You Optimise Your Website for Search Engines?
Now that we have covered the search engine part of SEO, the optimisation part is the last piece of the puzzle. Without a correctly optimised website you are unlikely to rank highly within search engine result pages (SERP’s).
Optimisation can take many forms, from on-page optimisation to off-page optimisation, however, it is important that your website has at least covered the basics when it comes to search engine optimisation.
The basics of SEO include:
- Well-designed and user friendly website – this is the foundation of your SEO, just like a building without good foundations the building is likely to crumble. You need to build a good foundation for your SEO campaign by ensuring your website is user friendly and follows standard web design and digital principles.
- Optimised, SEO-Friendly website – once the website is in good condition you can start employing a range of on-page SEO techniques to your website.
- Content – to really succeed with your SEO campaign you need content. This can be in the form of blog posts, page content or service or product page content. However, no matter where you decide to add your content, this a must for any SEO campaign.
- Backlinks – one of the important elements of SEO is ensuring you have backlinks pointing to your website from other websites. There are a multitude of ways you can achieve backlinks, however, an SEO specialist will be able to help you further with this.
Here we have covered the basics of search engine optimisation and how you can get your website ranked with search engine result pages. For more information about how to get ranked highly with search engines, why don’t you get in touch with Onefeed today for a free SEO Audit.