What is SEO?

“What is SEO?” might sound like a pretty fundamental question to those of us involved in the murky world of digital marketing on a daily basis, but it’s one that we do still get asked.

So let’s get down to basics. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, a good definition of which comes from Rand Fishkin, the former CEO of respected online marketing agency Moz and a generally cool guy to boot. Rand defined SEO as: “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines.”

Did you know that over 90% of web usage starts with a search? The vast majority of these take place on Google, and getting your company’s website found on the rankings of the search engine results page (SERP) can be a vital way to reach potential new customers. A proven and effective way to do this is through using Google AdWords, whereby you pay Google a fee every time somebody clicks on the link to your website. While this is a simple and instant way to drive traffic to your website, there are drawbacks, and evidence shows that the more educated the prospect, the more likely they are to skip the ads and move straight to the “organic listings”.

The organic listings are where you will find the websites that are there on merit, as determined by search engine algorithms. These are generally considered to be more trusted, and enjoy the lion’s share of clicks. Getting found here is what SEO is all about.

SEO remains for many a dark art mainly because there is still a lot of misinformation spread about how to achieve winning organic rankings. Some of these misunderstandings persist today, which is why we encourage everyone to ignore the SEO companies and take advice from the masters themselves… Google! We have developed website strategies and search engine optimisation techniques based specifically around the advice provided by Google, and to good effect.

A key thing to remember is that there are no shortcuts… good SEO is not about tricking your way to the top of the rankings, it is about proving that you deserve to be there. In the words of Matt Cutts, head of the Google Webspam Team:

“If you keep the mental model of what is Google trying to do, which is to return great search results for users, it will help you to figure out how to align yourself with those goals, because if you’re aligned with our goals then we are going to want return the high-quality pages that you’re making in our listings.

“If you are not aligned with those goals and instead try to take shortcuts then you will always be working in opposition to our algorithms and to what regular users want to see.”


If you would like to know more about how we approach SEO or any other element of digital marketing, call us now on 01787 464023 or email hello@silver-monkey.co.uk

Author Harry Fitzgerald

Took just 18 months to elevate himself from marketing apprentice to SEO legend, inbound marketing expert and social media marketing guru. Prefers protein shakes to coffee. Fights people in cages in his spare time.

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