You’ve probably heard the term SEO championed as a key strategy for any company looking to raise its visibility online. But what is it? And why does it matter? Here’s a quick guide to this short but essential acronym.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. Put simply, it’s the process of upping the rankings of your web page on search engines to drive organic (unpaid) traffic. Want your website to shoot to the top of Google results? SEO will be your best friend. It won’t happen overnight, but consistent and continued optimization will improve your rankings over time.
How does SEO work?
Search engines largely rank results based on their relevancy to the “search string” (the words typed into the search bar), as well as the perceived authority of the website. Search engines like Google make these decisions automatically using algorithms – a “spider” or “bot” crawls your site, then ranks it according to a set of criteria.
For instance, if someone searches for “best restaurants in Hong Kong”, a search engine will scan different websites where those words – aka keywords –come up the most. It will also analyse the website’s navigation, page load speed, URLs, traffic, outbound links, meta descriptions, linkbacks, bounce rates, and alt text (and much more) to make the assessment.
Why is SEO important?
Users tend to trust search engines, so having your site come up first will increase not only the number of visitors to your site, but also boost conversion rates, grow your audience, and improve the reputation of your business. Good SEO also means a better user experience, since search engines like Google value keywords and content, as well as website responsiveness, speed and navigation.
How can I improve my SEO?
Search giants like Google use algorithms to automatically rank results. And while they’ll never give the exact formula away, we do have a pretty clear idea of which factors influence the computation.
Relevant keywords and phrases, clear URLs, a responsive website, alt text for images, original content, regular updates, and user-friendly navigation all go a long way. What’s more, SEO ranking improves when visitors stay on your site longer, view more pages, and repeat visits. So the more user-friendly the site and engaging the content, the better your SEO.
Keywords are a big part of SEO optimization, as is high-quality, relatable and informative content. That said, you don’t want to stuff keywords across your site and hope for the best. Strive for authenticity and trustworthy content that’s posted regularly, and Google will reward you – as will your customers.