Everybody knows the value of reaching the number 1 spot on search engines such as Google for key words relating to your business: the service you provide or the products you sell.  It is accepted that your website needs to be on page 1 of search engines and the higher up on page 1 you are listed the better chance you have of converting people searching on search engines to visitors to your website. Most of us have heard of the term SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) but this article will explain what it is and how it works.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the science of improving your website listing in search engines such as Google, using a range of tactics, techniques and strategies, with the ultimate aim of increasing the traffic to your website.  95% of all searches in Ireland are performed on Google, so for this article we will focus on Google. When you conduct a search on Google, the list of results provided to you by Google is called the Search Engines Results Page (SERP(s)).

Often you hear the term SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM is the umbrella name for PPC (Pay per click, which is the paid advertising / paid results on Google) and SEO which is the organic results on Google, i.e the results that you don’t pay for.  The PPC results are the ones that are displayed on the top and the bottom of SERP(s) with a little AD box underneath (as pictured), they also used to be visible on the right hand side of the SERP but from this week that is no longer the case.

SERPs results

PPC Ad – Source Google.ie


How does Google rate my website over others?


To help people find what they need and to provide them with the best possible results, Google uses an algorithm to list the websites that they believe best match what they are looking for. Google’s algorithm is complex and it uses over 200 factors to rate each website. Of those 200 factors, some are more important than others. There are important internal factors in your website such as your website structure, your content and the words used in that content. Some factors are external and relate to off website activities such as social media platforms/activity and links from other websites.

Why is SEO important?


SEO is important because if you are in business you need potential customers to find your website so they can become your customer!

People use Google to search for information they need or products or services they require and the way in which people search is constantly changing. In the early days of Google people used to conduct a search using one or two words on average, i.e Sony TV but now people are using four-six words on average when conducting a search, i.e Sony flat screen HD TV.

For this reason and the fact that many companies try to manipulate Google’s search results, Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving and changing so it can provide the best results to meet its customers needs. Often when Google updates its algorithm many companies that try to take short cuts and manipulate Google’s results have seen their position in SERP(s) plummet. Going from number 1 in Google to even page 2 on Google can cost a company vast amounts of revenue due to lost traffic to their website.

So for this reason, my advice to you is that you need to ensure your website takes an honest approach to SEO.   Build a website that is mobile friendly and easy to navigate for visitors and ensure that the website content is written for your website visitors first and for the search engines second.

Next week, I will provide you with some tips on how you can improve your website rankings in Google. Sign up for our newsletter to keep in touch with updates.

Featured image source: pixabay.com

Cathal Quinn