Search Engine Optimisation

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Search Engine Optimisation

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Have you ever heard the term ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ – or SEO for short – before? You may not have heard it, however, you know what it is if you’ve ever searched for something online with a search engine.

As the internet is packed with unbelievable amounts of information, in order to find an accurate answer to a particular search query, people use search engines. The most prominent search engine is – as you might use it yourself – Google, however, you can also use less known alternative search engines such as Yahoo!, Bing, Ecosia or DuckDuckGo.

Whichever search engine you use, they all share the same basic functionality: searching and sorting the web’s content and ranking the results in terms of relevance for the web-user.

How do search engines rank results?

You might be wondering how a search engine assesses the relevance of the content and how search results are ranked accordingly, right? The disappointing truth is that nobody outside Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. really knows the complete answer to this.

Google and others keep their search algorithms (the way they rank search results) a well-kept company secret. However, a few dominant factors, luckily, influencing the ranking process are known.

When someone is searching for information on the web, search engines want to present the most relevant information to the user.

One defining component, for example, is the geo-location of the user, when requesting certain information. If the user is looking for a plumber service, for instance, he or she wouldn’t be interested in a plumber service that is based hours away – or even in another country, obviously. The search result for “plumber service” would present all the services nearby, in order to be of relevance for the user.

But what about the other factors influencing the actual hierarchy of search results?

It is well known that Google, as the world’s biggest search engine, continuously scans websites for their topic-related relevance, general content, functionality, and user experience (UX) aspects, such as the design.

This includes the loading time of the website and the responsiveness across all user devices (For more info, read our article about Responsive Website Design).

Think of it this way: when you look at a website, you see all the information on the page in the form of text and images. A lot of information that the website carries, however, is hidden from your eyes in the website’s code. This sort of information is called metadata and it has a huge impact on a website’s ranking. Without getting too technical about it, a lot of the determining aspects of a website’s ranking performance are hidden from your view and are in most cases very specific for the individual website.

How SEO affects your business

Now that you know what a search engine is and what it does, you might wonder what all this has to do with you and your business’s success. The simple and quick answer: A LOT!

For example, think of the last time you’ve searched for some information online. How long did you look at the results until you found what you were searching for? Did you scroll down, or did you try to find your answer quickly among the first few suggested results? Have you actually ever taken the time and looked further than page two of the search results?

The truth is, you’ve probably found what you were looking for among the highest-ranking results straight away. Chances are, you haven’t thought of ever looking at results that were ranking below, once you thought you had the information you were looking for, right?
This is understandable and – unfortunately for all low-ranking websites – the way nearly every web-user behaves.

Therefore, if your website isn’t ranking high, it is more than likely that your higher-ranking competitor is getting all the traffic (website visits) and potential customers.

Think of the following situation: when a person (within your area) – who has never heard of neither your business nor your products and services – has a need that your business could fulfil.

The person starts by searching the product or service he or she requires by typing it into the search bar of the search engine.
Within milliseconds, millions of results are generated and presented back to the person (the user), which are all related to the search query in some way.

The fact that geo-location is a determining factor for the ranking (depending on the type of search, of course), all the businesses being presented to the user are more than likely your closest competitors on a regional, and even national, level.

By now, you should see why your website’s ranking in the search results is enormously important. The user from the example probably chooses a business from the top of the search results to click on, being left unaware of your business and offerings, as you might rank lower. Continuous research conducted by the leading tech companies concerning the online-behaviour of web-users keeps proving this exact behaviour.

The lack of attention your website receives means a lack of potential revenue for your business.

What should actually worry you is the fact that this is more than likely happening to you on a daily basis, without you being aware of it!

Think of it this way: In the offline world, the location of your business, for example a small shop, is key to the success of your hard work. You’d rather have your business positioned on the busy high street with lots of potential customers, than being located in a remote side street where only a few people pass by.

If you would like to know more on how we can improve your website’s SEO-ranking and make your website win, please feel free contact us today.

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For a better search engine optimisation and open questions you might have, please contact us.