You may already know that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is important for your ranking your business higher on Google, but how much do you really know about it? A dive into the complicated world of SEO often begs more questions than answers.
Did you know that 75% of people of people never scroll past the first page of Google when searching?
This is why it is more important than ever to understand how SEO works.
These are the answers to the questions we hear most often. Hopefully they can clear up some of the confusion around this complicated subject.
What is SEO?
SEO is the process used to increase the number and quality of visitors to your website and to increase your visibility in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
This is achieved by optimising your website code, content and architecture to target keywords you want your business to rank for. These keywords are chosen based on what your customers are most likely to search for when looking for your brand, products or services. Your online reputation is also a huge factor in where your web pages will appear. Note that Google does not rank websites, it ranks web pages.
Which search engines will I be on?
When your web designer is ready to list your site, they will submit your site to Google. If you have paid for additional SEO work, they may also list your website on additional web directories. Other search engines will also pick up your listing from Google.
According to Net Marketshare, in 2017, Google accounted for over 79% of all global desktop search traffic, “followed by Bing at 7.27%, Baidu at 6.55% and Yahoo at 5.06%”. We often find that well over 90% of all search engine visits come from Google for our New Zealand clients.
Your web design team will make sure you are indexed on the search engines that will give you the best traffic results. They should also do this manually, allowing your site to be crawled through the correct channels rather than enlisting automated software that may get your site removed from the major search engines entirely.
For this reason, it is best not to trust anyone who can promise to get your site ranked on 1000s of search engines.
How does a search engine find my website?
The simple answer to this is that search engines find and index your website by crawling. But this doesn’t really explain much.
What is crawling exactly? This is the process used by search engines to discover any new pages that will be indexed in the SERPs.
To do this, Google for example, uses a program called Googlebot (also known as bot, spider and robot) to move through websites, following links to new pages and new sites.
Throughout the process, all new sites, new and old links and pages are used to update the index.
You can learn more about how Google indexing works here.
What is the difference between a hit, a view and a visitor?
A hit is the number of elements someone looks at on your site, for example, six hits might be someone looking at a page with 5 pictures on your site (1 page file plus 5 image files).
A view is a visitor looking at a page on your website.
A visitor is the individual user looking at your website.
So one visitor can have many views and lots of hits. Ideally, you want lots of visitors looking at lots of pages.
Can I check visitor numbers to my website?
When your web designer creates your site, they should also install password-protected access to your website analytics, which will include the number of visitors and show some of the search terms your visitors found you with.
Often, this will be set up using Google Analytics.
What can I find out about my website visitors?
The amount of information you can capture depends on the website analytics software that you use. At a minimum, you should be able to see what countries visitors are coming from, most popular pages, referring search engines, some of the keywords used and other referring websites. This information is what your SEO specialist will use to develop your SEO strategy to improve your rankings over time.
How will a search engine know if my site has been updated?
A good designer will build your web site so that it is regularly checked by search engines without you having to do anything. However, this can be done manually by submitting your new pages to Google directly..
What’s the difference between organic vs. paid results on Google?
Organic search results are those that come naturally from people searching for things. Pages that rank highly organically have done so because Google considers the page to be relevant to the search term and important enough to deserve a higher ranking. This is the goal of SEO.
Paid search results appear as ad results at the top or side of the search results. These positions have been paid for through the Google AdWords platform.
Adwords allows businesses to bid for a top position in the Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). However, using Adwords alone means that your high paid rankings will disappear as soon as you stop paying. This is why a mixed approach of organic and paid Google marketing is often a better solution.
How long does it take to see results from SEO?
There are a few factors that will influence how quickly you can see improvements in your rankings. These include but aren’t limited to:
- How much competition there is for the keywords you have chosen
- The quality of your content
- How much content you create and how consistently you publish
- How well this content relates to your keywords
There are many technical factors to consider. While Google don’t tell us exactly how they calculate rankings, it’s been estimated that there are well over 200 different factors that affect the ranking of a given page.
Should I hire someone to do my SEO?
Hiring someone to do your SEO can give you a competitive advantage. However, it can also have negative effects on your rankings if your chosen SEO doesn’t understand the right way to perform SEO. We’ve had many clients whose website rankings were destroyed by well-meaning people who were paid to rank them higher but didn’t know what they were doing.
SEO might seem like an ongoing challenge, and to be fair, it is. But, with an understanding of how ranking works and with a professional SEO and web design team on your side, the process will become clearer and easier over time.