Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SEO in a Nutshell

GooglebotSEO in a Nutshell... an optimised website aimed at pleasing the search engines to gain the best possible placing in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages)for relevant and often searched words and phrases.

Go on, read that again...

According to Wikipedia:
(SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Typically, the higher a site's "page rank" (i.e, the earlier it comes in the search results list), the more visitors it will receive from the search engine.

Okay firstly never confuse that "page rank" with PageRank. Confused already? Don't worry, if you hear of anyone talking of PageRank (named after Larry Page Google co-founder) just ignore them. The only one who knows the true PageRank of any page (yes each page of a website gets its own PageRank) is the Googlebot. What is important is your position in the SERP's, to a degree.

As the search engines continue to try to provide the best possible (read most relevant) search results to each visitor, many searches using the same phrases may actually result in different results. This is usually due to geo-location, after all, if I were looking for my nearest fish and chip shop I would hope the search engine realises that I'm searching for a fish and chip shop in Westville, South Africa. Google have done a fantastic job with this by pretty much offering every country out there their very own version of Google. Often the searcher won't even realise that they are being routed to Google.co.za or Google.co.uk instead of Google.com. All 3 of those will return different results for the same search. It is now possible and quite probable that searches in the same country will return different results.

Enter SEO. While the goal remains to rank well and be found. The difficult part is ranking well for often searched terms that will actually lead to conversion. This means that the website needs to not only rank well but actually generate traffic that will eventually result in a sale, lead, sign up... or what ever the purpose of your website may be. With this in mind 10 converting visitors from 100 in total is better than 1 converting visitor from 1000 visitors. Quality is more important than the quantity of traffic.

Redefined: SEO is the practice of generating quality traffic to a website to increase business.


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