What Is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Understanding how search engines work is key to SEO

If you’re going to spend money on a business website, you want to be sure that people see it. Of course, you can tell them – for example, by including your website details on your business card and marketing brochures. But what you really want is for people you don’t know – potential new customers – to find your website.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) helps you make that happen.

How do search engines work?

When someone uses an internet search engine, such as Google, to search for something, the search engine may find hundreds or even millions of relevant websites.

The search engine then produces a ‘ranking’ that tries to put the most relevant and useful websites first – on the front page.

How search engines rank pages is complicated – each search engine uses its own secret recipe that might take into account hundreds of different factors. These include things like:

  • how relevant the content seems – for example, how often the words used in a search appear on a web page
  • how popular your website is – for example, if other websites link to your site
  • various technical aspects of how the website is put together

How can I get the best SEO results?

You don’t need to understand all the details – that’s what search engine optimisation specialists are for. It’s your job to let the SEO specialists know what you want your website to achieve.

Are you going to focus on local search marketing – trying to get good results when people search for a local supplier – or aiming for customers nationally (or even internationally)? Exactly what products and services do you offer? What makes your business special – are there any particular features or benefits you offer?

If you can provide the answers to questions like these, then an SEO specialist can develop your website to improve your search engine ranking.

Of course, it’s easier said than done – after all, your competitors are trying to do the same thing – but search engine optimisation is a vital ingredient in building a website that will attract new customers for your business.