What is SEO and why businesses need to tune in?

Mike Connolly - Monday, May 09, 2016

SEO MEN - What is SEO? -TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

"What does the SEO stand for?"

This is the number one question I am asked whenever I am networking and when I'm discussing my work as an SEO Copywriter. The lack of understanding of SEO is actually much deeper than this. In truth most business owners who ask this question do not own a website and in some cases have no email address. This includes business owners who do use the internet and have personal email and use social media.

Explaining SEO can be a pointless conversation. Amazingly over 31% of businesses worldwide and  46% of the UK’s smallest businesses have no website in place. Of those surveyed, 41% agreed that a website could increase their sales but are put off by the time and cost involved. Even more surprising to me is that many experienced businesses that do own websites and do have an understanding of SEO, do not make the necessary edits to their content to ensure 'localised optimisation' is achieved. Let's face it what use is a plumber in Newcastle to an audience in New York or New Delhi.

Bearing this in mind I'm going to keep this very basic and am not going to bombard you with lots of information regarding HTML, algorithms and meta-tags etc. If you are reading this the chances are you are looking for the basics. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation (Optimization if you are in the US - I'll come back to this). In basic terms when you create a website, whether it is a one page brochure site or a multi-paged e-commerce website (an internet retail catalogue of products purchasable direct from the website) you would expect it to be visible to anyone who accesses the internet. However, with your website being one of 644,275,754 (and that was back in May with 30million+ new sites each month), how can you hope to achieve that.

SEO MEN - Top Dog! - TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

Your website in basic terms is a company brochure. It is the digital equivalent to the promotional publications and leaflets that you may put out about your business. However, the advantages are that your website is always available for viewing, can be constantly updated and can provide a much larger amount of content than a brochure could ever hope to achieve. An advertising space that remains constantly available. And yet like a brochure, it doesn't matter how glossy it is, how well presented it is or how sensational the images are if you aren't promoting it, if you aren't physically 'handing it out', your website will be the brochures you left collecting dust in the filing cabinet.

This is where SEO comes in. This is what SEO is all about. It is carrying out the necessary steps in order to increase your website's visibility through the 'search engines' amongst the millions of other sites out there. Search engines list specific websites in connection to related search terms being entered. Effective SEO of your website will see your website on the front page. This is vital if you want your site to be visible to your target audience. So here is an exercise for you. Go to any search engine of your choice and type in (a) What you do for a business (e.g. plumber) and (b) your home town. If you don't see your website listed keep scrolling until you reach page 10 and then come back here. I'll wait for you to get back.

SEO MEN - Teaching a lesson - TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

That very simple exercise is a perfect example of what your potential customers will do to find your business. If you are not on the first page of a search engine, your chances of being found are slim to none. The chart below illustrates that if you are the top website of a Google search then on balance over 40% of potential customers will go to you first. Being on page 3 therefore leaves you virtually invisible.

Percentages for SEO ranking with Google -TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

http://www.curve-interactive.com/what-is-it-worth-for-you-to-be-ranked-1-on-google/

There is also a very good reason to use Google search pages over and above all others. Below are two charts, one for the UK and one for the US, to provide you with a quick visual of Google's market share.

Market share of search engines for Google - TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

Google market share for search engines in US - TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

http://theeword.co.uk/seo-manchester/google_starts_2012_top_of_search_engine_market.html

So what is the second biggest question I am asked as a SEO Copywriter? "How do I improve my SEO?"

When you understand what your target audience's search engine preferences are, you can optimise your website content to concentrate on those 'keywords'. Note if your audience is international you also need to consider phrases and spelling therefore optimi "Z" ing becomes a real consideration. And don't think that swamping your content with keywords is a sure fire way of getting to the top of Google's search engine either. Google have a clever program that penalises this...

...but that's a whole different blog and one I'll be sharing in my next update on this series. Next time I will look at how to incease your visibility - and it 'ain't pretty'.

I will be providing links to other articles as I write them so stay tuned.

Credits:

http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2012/03/05/march-2012-web-server-survey.html

http://theeword.co.uk/seo-manchester/google_starts_2012_top_of_search_engine_market.html

http://www.curve-interactive.com/what-is-it-worth-for-you-to-be-ranked-1-on-google/

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