What Is Search Engine Optimisation? An Introduction


  • Nov, 2018

  • SEO

  • Daniel Hilsden

TL;DR

SEO stands for search engine optimisation and is the process of getting your website indexed on the results pages for search engines like Google and Bing. SEO traffic does not cost you each time a user clicks on a link to your site which is why it's an appealing method to many business owners looking to keep their overheads in check. However, SEO can take time to gain traction and will require significant early investment to yield results, later on, it also fails to cover the additional aspects of converting new customers into sales and enquiries for your business.

What Is Search Engine Optimisation?

You're now familiar with the acronym of SEO, but what is SEO from a practical standpoint?

For a beginner, the best way to explain this would be to separate three core elements to give you a better understanding.

Page title and H1 text - Your page title and H1 text should cover the specifics of what a specific page on your website offers. Using title text like 'Home' in your title text doesn't tell Google or Bing what your site is about. Adding in descriptive titles is one way you can get your website to rank higher in addition to providing a header (H1) that expands on what your page title talks about.

1. The page's title.

2. The page's header or H1.

Meta-description text - The meta description is the grey text that appears under your title text on the search results page; this text should be a more thorough explanation of your title text and showcase the strengths and ability of your product or service as a business.

Written content - The rest of the written content on your page is another element Google considers when ranking your site on the results pages. Thin and uninformative content that doesn't help the user solve issues or give them what they were initially searching for will likely see you fall behind competitors. The overall word count of your page along with the quality of written content will have an impact on your ability to rank on the results pages.

Bonus Tip - Google Search Console

If you've updated the three issues above but haven't experienced an increase in ranking or traffic then try submitting your site to Google's Search Console. By getting Google to 'fetch' the new page titles and content will allow

Google to rescan your page and better understand your business.

Once you've submitted this request, your updated site pages may start appearing on Gooogle within a few days, though sometimes this can take longer. The main focus here is getting Google to scan the most recent version of content on your page.

What Do SEO (Organic) Search Results Look Like?

Below is a breakdown of what SEO results look like on Google:

The highlighted red area are Google Ads and are not classed as SEO traffic - they also have the word 'Ad' in a small green box to differentiate an ad from an organic result (SEO). This type of advert falls under Google Ads and uses a 'pay per click' model. Pay per click is exactly like it sounds; you pay to get users clicking through to your website and pay for each click you get.

The top two organic results for 'MMA gloves for men UK' are Amazon, and this isn't exactly surprising. Amazon is a large company and has millions of links pointing to their website (and Google use links as an indicator of how strong a site is).

However, you could argue that perhaps they aren't the most relevant result for the search I carried out - why was I not shown an MMA specific result at the top of the page? Well, this is because Google is continually updating their search engine's index and the way it lists sites. Amazon may be there today for that term, but this can certainly change over time as Google continues to make adjustments to the way it lists websites.

Will My Website Appear On Google's Results Page?

Providing that you don't have any manual spam penalties from Google your website should appear on the results pages.

The best way to check is to put the following into a Google search 'site:yourwebsitename.co.uk'.

Google should then return all pages of your website as results (and your site only if done correctly).

If you can't see any pages, then it means that your website isn't indexed or that you may have a manual spam penalty against your site. Both of these issues can get resolved by using Google Search Console to fetch and index your website.

How Long Does It Take To Rank?

This is probably the most frequently asked question we get, and the answer is rather simple: it depends.

It depends on how many inbound links your website has (links coming from other domains) and how well structured your SEO is. The long and short of it is that you could rank rather quickly if your website has hundreds of backlinks, but longer if you're starting from scratch.

Will A New Website Help Me Rank Higher?

This one is difficult to answer; if you have a new website created on an existing domain that has many links, and that new website is well optimised for search engines then, in theory, you should rank higher provided the new site is an improvement on the old one. If you purchase an entirely new domain and website as a startup, however, you will only really rank for uncontested keywords as you won't have the link authority that other domains have.

About The Author


DANIEL HILSDEN

I believe in providing local businesses with modern, jargon-free services to help them grow in a competitive online marketplace.

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