What even is “SEO”? In short, the term “SEO” is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization.
Think of it like the practice of optimizing your website content so that when people type things into Google your website comes up on their list of results. OK, so it’s actually much more complicated than that, but at its core, that is what people mean when they talk about SEO.
Now that we have put that out there, you probably don’t need to be a genius to realize just how important SEO is (or should be) for your business.
While there are many (many!) aspects to SEO, and we could literally discuss for days about how it works, we’re going to attempt to give you a short synopsis of SEO. There is so much information out there on this topic, but we want to try and explain it so that anyone can have a fundamental knowledge of SEO and how it works. Or, to put it differently, we want to put it in layman’s terms and cut through as much technical gibberish as possible.
So You Want to be Found on Google?
First thing’s first.
Google is not the only search engine out there. Others, such as Bing and Yahoo, also exist to help bring customers the information they want/need in an organized format. However, for the purposes of this article, we will focus on Google as it is one of the most influential companies in the world today, and with 68.75% of all search queries being placed on its search engine, Google is a search engine giant. Just to drill this point home, the search engine that comes in 2nd place (as of 2104) is a Chinese based search engine called Baidu, with only 18.03%. Yahoo (6.73%) and Bing (5.55%) are seemingly dwarfed by Googles popularity.
So yes, you absolutely want to be found on Google!
When it comes to being found on Google, this is largely dependent on Google itself. Why? Simply put, because Google make up the rules.
Essentially, they have a long list of rules and calculations with the end result being whether a website is ranked number 1, number 3261957, not yet ranked on Google, or completely banned from ever being ranked on Google. The best part from website owners is that Google can (and do) change these rules whenever they like.
With all that being said, there are things that website owners/businesses can do to increase their chances of being ranked highly on Google. Things like the quality of the content on your website and how much authority do you have on the topic have quite a bit of weight when it comes to getting your site ranked highly on Google.
Quality of Content
Quality content can be thought of in similar terms as relevant content.
If your content isn’t good quality, people won’t read it. If it’s not worth reading, Google doesn’t want to rank it highly in their search results.
Because Google doesn’t get 68.75% of search traffic by putting rubbish material in front of their users. Google has such a large market share because they are able to give their users what the have asked for.
Think of it like this:
If you’re starting a new business, and you’re looking for information on what steps you need to take, you don’t want to be presented with information from an 11 year old’s blog that talks about their new business selling lemonade on the side of the road.
The blog about selling lemonade might be all about starting a new business, but it’s not relevant for most people who search “how to start a new business” into Google.
If you’re a consultant who helps people start new businesses and your website content is simply telling people to “call me and I can help you out”, he content might be relevant but it’s not very helpful, and therefore isn’t the type of high quality information that Google wants to present to its users.
Authority on Your Chosen Topic
Authority on your chosen topic is something that helps increase your Google ranking quite nicely.
Because Google understand that there is a reason why a websites/business is seen as an authoritative source of information in their area. If you’re seen as someone who has authority, it’s most likely because the quality of your content is quite high. If people are wiling to publicly declare (online) that your information has helped them, then Google is wiling to take notice of that.
Take this very article as an example.
Under the heading “So you want to be found on Google?” I added a link to a website that gave me the information on “68.75% of all search queries being placed on its search engine”.
This tells Google that someone else believes that digitaltrends.com (the website I have linked to) is a source of authority on the topic of Google search. Google will add this to their calculations when deciding on how high to rank digitaltrends.com in search results about Google search.
So, I get it. You’re probably thinking that a lot of that makes sense, but surely there has to be a way to get ranked highly on Google in the short term. I mean, who wants to put a whole lot of effort in, right? (I detect sarcasm!)
Google is a very cleaver search engine and over the years it has taken notice of what some people were doing to try and increase their search rank without putting the time in, producing quality content, or being an authority in their area. So there are a number of practices you absolutely want to stay away from.
DO NOT create a website that is dedicated to linking back to your main content – doing this will get you banned from appearing on Google search results.
DO NOT add your website links to a whole lot of random websites/blogs without a genuine need to do so – doing this will get you banned from appearing on Google search results.
DO NOT copy content from other websites in your business area in an attempt to “produce” authoritative and quality content – doing this will get you banned from appearing on Google search results.
If you hire anyone to help you get ranked highly in Google, please be awake to the fact that no one person/company can guarantee you a high ranking on Google. Hire someone to help you optimize your website for Google, absolutely! But Google are constantly changing how they rank websites, so please don’t assume hiring an SEO specialist will automatically get you a hire ranking.
We absolutely recommend hiring an SEO specialist
Rankings take time and effort on your part to do your job well. If you are doing your job well, you will gain authority, and those higher rankings will come.
In our next blogpost, we will be looking at 6 steps you can take to start out on this SEO journey and increase your chances of being found on Google.