Unpacking the world of Search Engines

Everyone knows that is you want your site to be noticed, it needs to rank well with search engines. But what does this actually mean and why is it so important? These are the important questions to understand if you want to understand the ecosystem on which your site exists and operates. Because, ‘yes’ a great site with high quality is important, but it is also useless if people don’t know how to find it or cannot discover it. So, with this in mind, here are a few quick thoughts and pointers to help you understand the search engine space better.

It really is an art form

Optimizing for search is not something that you can do by accident or even something that you can get right with a bit of online research. Sure, doing a bit of reading will help you, but in just the same way that you can research a medical condition online, it still doesn’t make you a doctor. In other words, it is a complicated area of specialty and you are best advised to recognise this and wherever possible to partner with online marketing and advertising expert.

What is SEO?

SEO is a commonly used acronym that stands for search engine optimization. This is the work that is done behind the scenes to ensure that a website is best presented to rank highly when searched for. There is not one way to improve the ranking, it is a combination of several different elements and it is all done automatically by an algorithm. In short, the search engine’s goal is to return the most relevant and credible suggestions to the person who has initiated the search.

Is it just Google?

Google is far and away from the biggest and most important of all the search engines, but at the same time, it isn’t the only one. There are a number of other options, including Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuck Go. While there are indeed plenty of search engines Google has the biggest market share and is the one that most SEO companies try to play too. Ask any website owner who pays attention to their analytics and they will almost certainly tell you that the bulk of their search traffic is from Google.

Organic versus paid search

There are two ways of appearing in search engines and they both cost money. With paid search, you give your cash directly to the search engine and they will place you at the top of the search list if the keywords that you have bought are searched for. With organic search you pay money but instead of buying the keywords you are paying SEO experts to work the system to improve your ranking. In many ways, it is like the difference between advertorial and editorial. Both are words in print, but the one is paid for while the other has made it into the system as a stand-alone piece. Both pieces might have been originated by a public relations company and both will get the same exposure, but it is the one that appears not to have been paid for that carries greater credibility.

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