Search engines are the first place customers go when they start researching a product or service. And the sites that come highest in the search results are usually the ones they investigate further.
Whenever someone does a search, the likes of Google looks at hundreds of signals to decide the order in which the results will appear. Search Engine Opimisation, or SEO for short, is a set of techniques to help improve where your site appears in the search results.
Those goalpost keep moving
Also to consider is that those factors change frequently. Google is almost constantly tweaking its secret ranking algorithm, giving more weight to some factors, and finding new ways to penalise dodgy practices that try to cheat the results.
Overall, Google wants to reward authoritative sites that provide the best answer to a searcher's query. This means that some aspects of SEO never really change too much over time.
If you publish a supply of unique site content that your audience finds valuable, in a blog for example, then you're already halfway there. And if your site is well designed and provides a great user experience, then you're another step closer to SEO nirvana.
'Content is king' (and so are inbound links)
This is because great content is a major SEO factor. It will naturally include words that match those in your target audience's search queries, and it will convince visitors to stay on your site for longer, share your content through social media, and come back for more. More importantly, it will also inspire other site owners to link to yours, which is another big vote of confidence as far as the search engines are concerned.
These are just some of the many SEO success factors. However, Andrey Lipattsev, the Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google Ireland, recently revealed the top two signals:
"It's content and links pointing to your site"
There you have it. And it makes sense to look at Content Marketing as a crucial way of improving your site's ranking in the search engines.
Okay, you've got me here, what's next
So even though SEO is primarily about bringing visitors to your site, what they do next is also important. After you've pulled in the punters from the search results, there's a chance they'll land on your site and leave immediately. If this is the case, then your SEO efforts are a waste of time. There's no point coming top in Google if your site's visitors leave immediately without doing anything.
Simply acquiring visits is rarely enough. There's always 'something' you want visitors to do after bringing them to your site, whether it's requesting a longer PDF version of your great site content, or signing up for a free trial, or even just watching a video testimonial. Otherwise, what's the point in having a site in the first place.
And that's our SEO in a nutshell. If you'd like to learn more, wander over and take a look at our Diploma in Digital Marketing.