[Due to the depth of information required to fully understand this complex subject, I have added resources for your personal research in links below.]
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.
Optimization can take many forms. It’s everything from making sure the title tags and meta descriptions are both informative and the right length to pointing internal links at pages you’re proud of.
An SEO process will typically include tasks like:
- Making sure that the most effective and valid keywords are present on your website (in title tags, description tags, in the content, in links, image descriptions, etc.) and thus get indexed by Google (and other search engines), based on their stipulated guidelines, in order to receive traffic that is directly related to your keywords and thus also directly related to your business / services offered via your website.
Keywords like “welcome”, “contact us”, “products”, “telephone number”, “address”, “business”…. etc. often end up being the popular keywords indexed for a website by Google and these words do NOTHING for the company or business or services that are on offer. This happens when those words are the most common ones used in headings, page titles, tags etc. etc. – the very criteria that Google use to index keywords.
Changes are made to those headings, titles and all tags etc. to instead include relevant-to-your-business-or-services-keywords as the most common, and thus create the possibility for relevant search engine traffic to your web site. We may recommend adding new paragraphs of text if the original text did not include enough of the relevant keywords.
- Adding links to and from relevant authoritative websites;
- Registering the website with Google’s Search Console (prev. Webmaster Tools) and Google Analytics;
- Removing critical programming errors (if any);
- Creating a sitemap file for Google to access;
SEO can and does also prepare your website for effective advertising campaigns – i.e. builds a solid foundation.
On the other hand, Ranking – position on the Search Query Results page – is not static. It changes dynamically and constantly. While it is calculated by the search engines’ robots (the term used to describe the computer programme / script or algorithm) that crawls the web that feeds on predictable web statistics, it is by no means predictable in it’s results. There are simply too many web sites out there and so many new pages or posts being created every second of every day for the statistics to remain the same for very long.
According to Google (and other search engines) the algorithm looks at your query and uses over 200 signals to decide which of the millions of pages and content are the most relevant answers for that query. Google finesses its ranking algorithms with over 500 improvements per year. Examples of these signals include: The freshness of content on a website; synonyms of your search keywords; quality of the content on the site; the amount of words and the words themselves; the URL and title of webpage; the number of other websites linking a site and the authority of those links; social media linking and recommendations by the people or sites you’re connected to; and whether the best result is a webpage, and image, a video, news article, personal social result, etc. [See Google’s explanation “How search works” in graphic form]
Hence, ranking (on search result pages) is not something one can predict or force or guarantee. It is achieved – over time – on well managed authoritative websites.
However, with an effective advertising campaign one can expect to rise up in RANKING on search results pages. Ideally a site wants to be featured on the first page of the search query results, and hopefully 1st in line. With careful planning this can be done. Without this, ranking results cannot be guaranteed.
One can spend as little as R50 per day or as much as R100’000 per month on Ad Campaigns, to ensure Ranking tops on Search Queries.
Only with proper Search Engine Optimisation is it sensible to address the subject of your web site and its Ranking.
I hope that I have clarified that sufficiently for you?
For your additional research:
- a full, simple explanation of how Google Indexes sites i.e. “How Search Works”
- the graphic (image) version, as mentioned earlier in this post: “How search works”
- Another valuable document to read, is the Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide – compiled by Google. You can read or download the guide off the internet. It is a *pdf document. Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
If, you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask via the comment box at the bottom of the post.