Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) represents a website’s ability to attract free, organic traffic. Websites attract more visitors by appearing high up in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic
SEO is all about organic traffic. Organic traffic is ‘free’ traffic; a user will make a search on Google and choose a non-paid advert. Having a robust SEO strategy to attract organic traffic is essential for your brand’s online longevity.
How to impress Google
Search engines, like Google, have complex algorithms to deliver the most relevant content to each user and each search. No one knows the exact science behind it (that's how Google want it), but there are both on and off-page techniques to make your website search engine friendly.
Well thought out technical on-page elements allow you to ‘speak’ with Google. Everything from URL structures to page titles can have an impact on how and where you rank. An SEO on-page checklist is essential to follow for each new page you create.
However, arguably the most important element of on-page SEO is user experience. From easy-to-read and well structured content through to site design and navigation - Google want you to build your site around what the user wants, not what they want. In many ways, Search Engine Optimisation has evolved to mean 'Search Experience Optimisation'.
But we also have to consider off-page SEO. The prime ‘signal’ of off-page SEO is links! If other websites link to your content, then Google will translate this as a signal of trust. However, not just any link will do - links from ‘quality’ sites (with a high domain authority) carry more weight, and therefore the black-hat practice of buying links is now old hat.
How to measure SEO
If you optimise your website and content for your user, then you should always see growth in organic traffic. The most common way to measure your website traffic is via a tool like Google Analytics (GA). GA shows you volume of traffic, source of traffic and even what type of traffic - ie. age range and gender of visitors.
If you want to drill down further you can set goals. Conversion goals will differ for each business, but typical goals could include; interaction with a page, buying a product or number of email subscriptions You can then work out which pages are your most valuable.
SEO as a profession
The practice of SEO spans many fields within the marketing discipline. SEO agencies and in-house teams are made up of copywriters, graphic designers, developers, PR specialists along with marketeers too.