Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is arguably the most important element of digital marketing. Essentially, SEO is a process of obtaining organic traffic from search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. This is important because around 34.8% of all global online traffic originates from search engines. That means, if businesses ignore search engines, they stand to lose about a third of their potential clients. This also means that organisations which practice good SEO will be rewarded with a continuous stream of organic customers without having to pay anything.
Search engine optimisation is critical to drive organic traffic to websites. Image courtesy of Pixabay
What is SEO?
Search engines are like librarians in your local library. When you ask to find a specific book, librarians will use their knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System and the library’s layout to find the book they think you want. Similarly, search engines use their own proprietary algorithm to catalogue, classify and rank all the websites they continuously crawl to present search results every time their users run a search query.
SEO is effectively the art of gaming the system. No one knows the exact algorithm used by search engines. However, by analysing data from tens of thousands of websites, SEO experts are able to determine a few criteria which can help specific websites to obtain higher search rankings.
The incredible value of search rankings
Why does it matter where you end up on search engine rankings? Well, depending on the industry, top search results receive anywhere between 39% and 78% of all clickthroughs. The figure decreases sharply the lower ranked a website is. In fact, websites that are listed on the second page of search queries only obtain barely 6% of all search traffic.
How do you get started?
There are many ways that you can get the SEO of your site started. The easiest way being to start reading up on the topic yourself. There are many high quality and useful blogs and resources out there on the optimisation best practises and strategies. Depending on how competitive your industry is though, you may need to seek out the services of a freelancer, consultant or SEO company. They will have years of experience that you would struggle to find elsewhere and also have access to a wealth of resources and tools geared towards helping your site rank (of course only if you select the right one!).