In short, SEO is getting your website found by people who are looking for what you have to offer and are using search engines like Google.
SEO seeks to get a website on the first page of a search engine’s results page in the approximately seven spaces allotted for un-paid results, otherwise known as “organic” or “natural” results. It is different than the paid-for results, also known as “pay-per-click.” In the paid results the website owner pays the search engine to show up in their paid section. On Google this is usually the three results in the slightly shaded area at the top of the results page and sometimes at the bottom and in the sidebars. The organic results are the ones website owners do not have to pay the search engine to show up there.
How Does A Website Show Up In The Organic Search Engine Results?
Think of it like building a house to code. In the world of website design the code enforcer is the search engine. If you build a site the way they want they will reward you by putting your website in front of more people by giving you better placement in the search results.
What Is A Search Engine Looking For In A Website?
Relevancy and authority.
Google dominates the search market because early on PC Magazine rated Google’s search engine as the best for returning results that were relevant to what people were looking for. As an SEO we structure a website so the Googlebots which crawl and index websites will know what the website is about and give it top placement among the millions of websites that have something to do with the search term used.
Search engines also want to dish up results from website owners that are an authority on the subject because that is what people are looking for, someone who really knows their stuff. There are literally hundreds of metrics a search engine will use to gauge your authority on a subject and an SEO knows what they are looking for and what will give the best results for the effort spent in giving them what they want.
What Will Search Engine Optimization Do For Your Business?
SEO can elevate your website from being just an online brochure to being a lead generating system. In other words, more customers.
It’s safe to say the Yellow Pages are becoming a thing of the past. More and more people are going online for their shopping and research. Google is the new Yellow Pages, but if your website does not place on the first page it won’t get found because 90% of searchers never get past the first page. Also, the higher up on the page the more visibility you will get since people tend to look at the first result at the top first and then work their way down the list until they have found what they are looking for. If one of your competitors is higher up on the list they are simply going to be attracting those customers before you do and they may never end up clicking on the link to your website.
Realtors have often said there are three things that determine the value of a house or business site: location, location, and location. A business where people can see it is simply going to get more business. The same is true for your website.
What If You Are Already Showing Up On Google?
There are several things to keep in mind when examining the exposure your website is getting:
Results on your computer may be different than on everybody else’s. If you have visited your own website, and most people do, Google remembers that and may give your website a higher placement for the same search term since it will give your website more relevancy. In order to see what shows up on everybody else’s computers you will need to use a computer that hasn’t visited your website.
Links to directories like Supermedia or YellowPages.com are not as good as links to your own website. Many people skip right past the directories because they don’t want to jump through more hoops to find your website.
You don’t know what people are looking for. If you have a pest control company would you know if more people search by “pest control” or by “exterminator”? What other search terms do people frequently use? SEO’s have access to search data that tells them what search terms people are using the most to find what you have to offer. Your best guess may leave a lot of money on the table.
Visibility is only part of the equation. SEO’s are also knowledgeable about turning potential customers into actual customers. This is called conversion and is an important consideration for the effectiveness of your website as a lead generation system.