What exactly is SEO?
In a simple explanation, SEO is the practice of optimizing each page on a website so that it will show as high up the list as possible in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for a particular keyword.
A keyword can be an individual word but it is more likely to be a phrase that a person types into a search engine to get a set of results. The phrase ‘most beautiful black cat pictures’ is a keyword just as much as ‘where can i find an emergency electrician in East London UK’.
Its really a common sense that, the higher your website’s page shows up in the search engine results for a keyword, all things being equal, the more people will visit your site, click the links to your website, come to your website and buy your products, ring for a free quote or whatever you are trying to promote with your Most Wanted Action (MWA). It’s very important to keep your MWA in your mind at all times, as this is the whole point of your traffic generation efforts.
It sounds simple, but the reality is a little bit more complicated. However, it can be achieved as long as all the steps are followed.
What Do Search Engines Want?
What exactly do search engines want? How do they decide what to rank, and where? Do they even really know? Well, yes and no.
Any honest SEO Expert out there , if you get them back in a back room (and after they have searched you for hidden microphones), will tell you that we really don’t know exactly what the search engines want. We know what they say they want, but the actual formulas each search engine uses (the computer algorithms) for precisely how and where they rank each of the web pages on your site are kept secret, to try to minimize the ability of unscrupulous people to ‘game’ their results.
Not only are all the ranking formulas for each search engine kept secret, but each search engine also has a different formula, which is changed and refined on almost a daily basis.
What the search engines say they want basically boils down to one thing: ‘user exprience’. They want their users to have a good experience. This is where exactly what they want becomes less relevant. When Yasmin, a mother of 19 months boy, goes online and search ‘when will my 19 moths old son talk?’, all the search engines want to get just that; a listing of web pages that each contain latest information directly related to ‘speech therapy techniques for toddlers aged 19 months old boys’. It does make sense, doesn’t it?
They don’t want Yasmin to find someone who merely saw a good opportunity to make some money and made their site look to search engines as if it was the place for ‘best speech therapy methods for toddlers who are 19 months old and boy’ but – when she clicks on it – it offers nothing but poor-quality information covered in advertising banners. (This happens a lot!!)
The question you might now be asking yourself is, “If I write, design and build an amazing site that delivers the perfect user experience and that is all they really want, is SEO still necessary?”
Why do SEO at all?
You might think that, if you provide an amazing user experience, the search engines will find you eventually. This may be true, but it is not a guarantee. Being a search engine is like being a person walking into the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium at half-time and told to pick the best fan. You may the best and biggest fan in your heart, but who is the guy going to notice the most?