What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Red umbrella with SEO and TTWD Logo standing out among black umbrellas

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO as it is known is one of the most effective marketing tools available to your business but often what it is and why it is important is a mystery. To unravel this mystery, lets go back 10 years or more... 

Years ago it was hard for business owners to see why an online presence was needed as new business for pretty much any industry was consistently generated through word of mouth or newspaper, radio and TV advertising. A catch phrase from that period of time in fact was "50% of advertising is a waste of money, no-one knows which half though". 

As using the internet became easier, more and more people started to use it to find things they were looking for and a shift began in the way businesses generated new customers. Those businesses not online were starting to get left behind and over time business owners realised the need for a website - in fact it is quite rare these days to find a business operating without a website or at the very least a digital presence (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms). 

With so many businesses getting online, search engines have spent years adjusting their algorithm to look at over 200 ranking factors and determine what they believe are the most relevant web pages with quality content for the search and they then rank the results from most relevant to least relevant. 

This in itself was even not too much of an issue to start with as unfair techniques (known as black hat seo) worked well and consumers were happy to scroll through pages of search results to find what they believed was most relevant to themselves. Search engines now punish websites using black hat techniques and reward those that do the right thing, making search engine results as fair as possible.

The instant world we live in

Jump in your DeLorean though and get back to the future, a world where information is instant, it's always at our finertips and the result of search engines refining the way they rank websites has meant that consumers don't even scroll any more. 

If something doesn't appear relevant in the top 3 search engine results of a Google Search (or other search engine) to the person doing the searching, they more often than not to refine their own search query and try again. 

What does this mean for your business?

Quite simply it means that if your website is not appearing in the top 3 results for the keywords people are searching for, you're missing out - big time. 

What are people searching for and why does it matter?

The really interesting part here is to think about what people are actually searching for? Recently I was talking to an accountant in Mandurah about SEO and asked what he believed people would be searching for. "Accountants Mandurah" was the response and that seams very logical. Some research uncovered that 260 people were searching for Accountants Mandurah each month and this particular business' website was ranking in the top 3. Great stuff, they are getting the lion's share of those 260 people. 

The research however brought up a possible game changer - 49,000 people search for "GST Calculator" each month, a search term that was seeing thi business rank on page 4. In otherwords, at page 4 they were not even getting the lion's crumbs. 

If they carried out search engine optimisation for the term "GST Calculator" and achieved a top 3 result for that term, they have the ability to capture their target market in a huge way. Even just getting to the top 10 results would see more of their target market visiting their website than the number of visits resulting from a top result for the previous search term. 

So what is Search Engine Optimisation?

SEO is the process of researching how your target market use the internet, what they search for, then making adjustments to improve your website's ranking in search engines so that it is the most relevant that it can be for the terms they are searching for. The process includes looking at the meta description and title for each page of your website, carrying out link building and researching key phrases that have a lot of people searching for them, but not a lot of businesses trying to optimise for the terms.

The process isn't quick, it requires a finger to be on the pulse and it has to be seen as an ongoing process - but when it is done right, SEO brings your target market to your website in droves, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

And because everything is digital, it's possible to track where they come from, how they got there and in so doing it's possible to identify and eliminate waste spending making SEO a very cost effective method of marketing with a potentially huge return on investment. 

Is your website working for your business? If not, have a look at our SEO service to see how we can help you to improve your search engine rankings, create high quality web content and reach your target market effectively.