SEO – What is it?
When it comes to being relevant on the web, companies and individuals spend large amounts of time fretting about Search Engine Optimisation. However, when it comes to SEO – what is it?
What it is not, or at least what it should not be
When it comes to SEO, Wikipedia describes it as “the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers”
Note, that in it’s definition, Wikipedia highlights that it ‘natural, organic, or earned results’. This, then excludes the relevance of ‘black hat seo‘. So, it should be organic results, and not farmed results. But why is that important exactly?
Black Hat SEO is manipulation of search engine results, whereas White Hat SEO has been defined as “creating content for users, not for search engines”. What this means is that Black Hat techniques attempt to underhandedly improve search engine results quickly, whereas White Hat techniques try to achieve a longer term and more secure rise in rankings by creating content that the reader will attribute more value to. Google has become better at sniffing out these Black Hat tactics, and, if those tactics are discerned, penalties or even banning from Google Search Engine results can be the consequence. So, in discussing SEO here, we refer only to what is known as ‘White Hat SEO’, since anything else is definitely not in your best interests.
SEO – What is it then?
The easiest way to explain SEO is simply by expanding the term in full. Search Engine Optimisation is exactly what it is all about, Optimising your site so that it is more attractive to, and ranks higher in Search Engines(Google, Bing, Yahoo…). Why is this important? Clearly the closer your site is to the top of the list of what customers are looking for, then, the more traffic to your site that you’ll receive, and, the more potential revenue your site will earn.
In this public domain illustration, the bubbles represent websites and the diagram is explained as follows:
“Search engines use complex mathematical algorithms to guess which websites a user seeks. In this diagram, if each bubble represents a website, programs sometimes called spiders examine which sites link to which other sites, with arrows representing these links. Websites getting more inbound links, or stronger links, are presumed to be more important and what the user is searching for. In this example, since website B is the recipient of numerous inbound links, it ranks more highly in a web search. And the links “carry through”, such that website C, even though it only has one inbound link, has an inbound link from a highly popular site (B) while site E does not. Note: Percentages are rounded.”
So, now we know what it is, next we need to know how it is performed.
SEO – What Does It Consist Of?
As explained in the above illustration, a large percentage of SEO relates to links to your website. However, not all links are created equal. To measure a website’s ranking solely upon how many links point to it would be a mistake. The links that will benefit your site are generally those that flow from reputable other sites. When links flow from sites that Google considers Spammy, or low value, can have a possibly negative effect on your sites ranking.
Another area that we mentioned earlier is the fact that White Hat SEO focusing on “creating content for users, not for search engines”. With this in mind, Content is king. Users will favor content that appeals, so the content must be quality information that holds the attention of the user. In turn, content can also have a positive effect upon inbound links. Why is this?
As an example, consider a website about dogs. A user has friend whose dog is sick. When this user reads the website about dogs, he finds information that will help his friend treat his sick dog. So, this user then shares the link for that page to his friend online, thus creating a link to that original site.
This is why Content is King. Not only does quality content create information for users, as opposed to search engines, it also improves the inbound links to a website.
SEO – What Is It:? A Review
In summing up what exactly SEO is, let’s start from the top down. At the top is revenue, this flows from sales. Sales come from volume of purchasers and amount purchased. The volume of purchases is directly related to how many customers visit the store or website. The number of customers is, at least online, a direct result of how well the companies’ site ranks online. The companies ranking depends on genuine, and quality Search Engine techniques. So, money is clearly a direct result of quality SEO. That is exactly why SEO is so important for any online business.
Therefore, in our answering the question: SEO – What is it?, we arrive at perhaps the most important contributor to the survival of a business. The conclusion is that SEO is profitability.