SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is anything that improves how a web page ranks for a specific search term.
It requires the use of well-researched keywords or phrases that will appeal to visitors – and crucially ensures your online content is found by search engines.
Whilst the term SEO is well known it is not uncommon to not truly understand what it means or how the process works.
In essence, search engines regularly crawl websites to find out what exists and then index pages, based on what they have found.
When a user types a question into a search engine, it will find the most relevant answer based on the index it has created.
It is important to understand this is a hugely crowded market. There are more than 5 billion searches made on Google every day – and every search contains keywords.
Examples might include: ‘Hairdressers in Manchester”, “the best Chinese restaurant in London’ ‘How do you cook an omelette” ‘divorce lawyers in Birmingham’
So how do you stand out from the crowd? It is not possible for every business to appear as the first listing on the first page of Google.
In the bad old days, there were ‘SEO experts’ who would promise this was possible and, for a hefty fee, would take advantage of a loophole to make this possible.
To the purists amongst us, they basically cheated. Web pages would be flooded with keywords invisible to the human eye – but very visible to search engine bots.
Fortunately, this process has been outlawed, as has the use of links from websites specifically created for link building.
Now, the only way to guarantee online visibility is to produce unique, engaging and relevant content and ensure that content is optimised, be in blogs, static pages, images, video or music.
It may have taken 20+ years since Bill Gates uttered the phrase but finally, content really can be king.