What is Search Engine Optimisation (part 1) – Essentials explained

Marketing

19 February 2013

Essentials Explained is designed to help you understand the fundamentals of marketing your business and the related areas. This month we are addressing the golden nugget known as “Search Engine Optimisation” or SEO which essentially is just a form of advertising for your website.

 

What are search engines?

To begin with let’s look at what Search Engines actually are. In their most basic form, search engines are just tools that allow a person to find information they are looking for. Much like using a phone directory, you search for a letter in the alphabet to find a relevant service, search engines allow you to type in keywords relating to what you are looking for.

How do search engines work?

In order for the search engines to display relevant results when you search for something like “graphic design” they need to know about the content of all the websites on the internet. To do this they use automated software programs known as “robots”, “bots” or “spiders”. These follow links from page to page and website to website in order to gather information about each one that it comes across. This information is saved to a searchable database known as an index which is where your website is saved.

Every chef has their own special recipe for how they make a chocolate cake and so do search engines. Every search engine uses different complex mathematical formulas known as an “Algorithm” to generate search results. This means that although your website might rank high on Bing it does not guarantee the same in Google. Each search engine protects their unique formula otherwise if it got into the wrong hands the list of results would be very different and feature websites you really don’t want to see. On top of this they are also constantly reviewing and modifying the algorithm to ensure that the most relevant websites are displayed when you search for something.

 

So what is Search Engine Optimisation?

Now that we know what search engines are and how they work it is time to look at one of the biggest phrases and sought after services on the internet; Search Engine Optimisation.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a technique carried out to enhance or promote a website in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. There are many different aspects to SEO but ultimately it is about ensuring that your websites content is easily understood by humans and Search Engines.

 

My new website is live, now what?

A common question asked by clients is “why is my website not showing on page 1 for X?” and this is easily explained. When your new website is launched for the world to see it is much like you opening a new restaurant on a street in your local town. When you first open nobody knows you are there because you are new. Your food could be of the best quality but until someone sets foot in that door you will be sitting in an empty restaurant without any visitors.

This is where search engines come in as they help send you visitors to your website. To do this they need to know you exist and so you inform them of your new website in various ways, the most popular being submitting what is known as a site map to the search engines. This site map is a file containing information of the structure and layout of your web page that allows the search engine to understand your website before it even gets around to “spidering” the content for is index database. But the key aspect to note here is that until the search engine indexes your website you will not start to rank at all.

 

In part 2 of this series we will go into some of the aspects that will help increase your website’s ranking potential in the search engines. Join our newsletter to read part 2 before anyone else.

If you want to have a chat about how we can help your website perform better in the search engines then please complete the form below.