Any good business person understands the need for an online presence in today’s competitive consumer market. The internet provides a company with the opportunity to reach a global audience, which is an opportunity that’s hard to ignore. However, what many business people fail to understand are the dynamics of the Web and how to go about getting visitors to a certain site. Traditional marketing can only go so far in an increasingly connected world, and search engine optimisation has stepped in to fill the gap that exists where traditional advertising falls short.
According to SEO authority SEOmoz, search engine optimisation is ‘the active practice of optimizing a web site by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines.’ For those who don’t speak internet jargon, SEO involves making web pages within a website more visible to search engines such as Google and Yahoo in order to increase the amount of visitors to that site.
What does Google rankings and SEO mean for my business?
In the early days of SEO, web pages were placed in the search engine results pages (SERPs) according to certain ranking methods, including the use of keywords that were embedded within the copy and HTML code of a web page. However, this ranking system led to abuse by webmasters, who figured out that they could insert as many keywords as possible into a web page and trick the spiders—the programs that ‘crawl’ the content of web pages to determine their relevance to search queries—into giving that page a good placement in the SERPs. As search engine companies have come up with more and more sophisticated algorithms, these fraudulent tactics have become less successful.
SEO has become a more complicated process that requires specialists to optimise the website itself, making it more user-friendly, relevant to search queries, and generally improving the quality of the entire site. This development in search engine optimisation is largely the result of changes within the search engine industry; placement in SERPs is now based mostly on a web page’s content, rather than keywords that can be misused. Spiders now rely on the link structure of the internet to give them information about every web page they crawl. This process is based on the assumption that the more web users link to a certain web page, the higher the quality and relevance of the content in that page.
As search engines have evolved, so have SEO best practices. The focus has come to rest on the superiority of a site’s content, and refining the details that make a website usable and engaging. The result is a better internet, a means of communication for businesses the world over.