What the HECK is SEO?

by | Aug 31, 2021

As a Digital Marketing Company that offers Website Growth services to our clients (and for myself personally, as a Copywriter who handles Website Growth for our clients) there is one question above all others we get asked the most. Unsurprisingly, it’s “What IS SEO?”.

For me, the simple answer is; “Oh, it stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It helps people find you on Google.” which, if you know anything about SEO, isn’t wrong – it’s just a very basic answer. An answer most clients are happy enough with, to be fair. After all, all they really want to know is that we’re working our hardest to get their website on the first page of Google, which we are.

The difficulty comes, however, when a client wants to know what the nitty-gritty bits of actually growing their SEO involves, and why it may take so long to actually get their website into one of the top 3 coveted spots on the first page of Google.

The importance of getting your website on the first page of Google

Statistically, just over 94% of Google users only ever look at the first page of the search results (because really, who has the time to click through the other pages?), and on top of that, most people will only bother to click on the first 3 results.

(I should note, this concept and the general concept of SEO applies to every other search engine out there, but 83% of the world’s population uses Google as their go-to search engine) This pretty much means that if your website doesn’t show up in those top three spots on the first page, it may as well not be on there at all. Okay – that’s a little dramatic, but the question still becomes; what should you do if your small business website only appears on the 9th page? Well, hopefully, I can enlighten you a little with our very first blog post.

“Ideal Visitors”

At the time of writing, there are 180,000,000+ websites registered out there today, which is why people rely so heavily on search engines to find exactly what they’re looking for. If they can’t see it on the first page, chances are they’ll adjust their search phrase and start all over again, rather than simply clicking onto the next page.

Just think of your own search engine habits! Even I’m guilty of doing this, despite the fact that people who do this are the bane of my career.

This is why it’s handy if you have a very clear outline regarding exactly what your company offers. Those who are searching for exactly what your company offers and therefore see your website on the first page of results are known as “ideal visitors” because there’s a higher chance of them becoming customers/subscribers/regular viewers etc.

As I mentioned before, if your website doesn’t show up in the top 3 results, never mind the first page, it’s basically like your website doesn’t exist. And in that respect, it’s almost like your company doesn’t exist, either.

Page Ranking and the Position of Your Site

The position of your website on an SO is ruled by the ranking of your page. Every site has a rank for specific keywords or searches. It used to be the case that search engines would track a website by taking in every single word on your websites page – these days, as with everything else, it’s different.

For example, if you searched for “Red Shoes”, you’d get back a full list of sites that contain those exact two keywords. And those sites would more often than not be ranked among the top. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Well, these days, websites are given grades by search engines using two main criteria:

  1. Backlinks
  2. Keywords

When a website is referred to regularly by other websites, this is known as being “backlinked”. Websites that are backlinked are more likely to be brought up by search engines, as they’re seen as more “relevant”. Therefore, websites are ranked by how many backlinks, and the quality of those backlinks to them from other websites.

Keywords, however, give Google the opportunity to actually see your website and find out what it’s all about, whereas the role of backlinks is to help Google figure out if it can actually trust your site to be relevant.

Both keywords and backlinks are immensely essential to getting your website moved up to the top of the search result food chain.

So how DO you move up that chain?

Well, there are technically two components to it: On-site SEO and Off-site SEO.

● On-site SEO means making sure, or “optimising”, your site so that it contains the most
relevant keywords.
● Off-site SEO means that you need to work towards creating backlinks to your website
which come from other sources, such as other websites.

Getting links to your site from other places can be pretty easy. They can be made by using social media, blog posts, articles and more. And remember, the more influential the website that links back to your own website is, the more of an effect that particular backlink from that site will have on your own search result ranking.

Using SEO to grow your business

The best thing about SEO is that it allows you to gear your efforts towards targeting the people you actually want to visit your website, which means you won’t have to rely on broad-spectrum ads, saving you money in the long run.

A recent survey shows that 72% of all businesses say that SEO is the most cost-efficient way of getting themselves out there compared to relying on newspaper, radio, television ads etc. So when you put it like that, it’s really not hard to understand why SEO is just so valuable – especially if you happen to be running a small business.

That being said, the game isn’t over once you do reach the top, front pages of those search engines. It’s also important to make sure that your website is looking its best. Well-designed websites are more likely to pull in customers and/or subscribers. Reaching the front page will be a fruitless effort if it doesn’t also contain a clean layout, clear contact information and or/friendly staff to help answer and problems or enquiries!

And the most important point of all: Good SEO TAKES TIME!

Look, I’m not here to tell you that SEO is a magical, quick and easy way of getting thousands of customers in a couple of months, because it isn’t. It’s a really effective and valuable tool to implement within your business, but you also need to be patient.

Almost EVERYONE relies incredibly heavily on search engines to find literally anything online, which means, yes, SEO is possibly the single most effective way to increase traffic to your site. But goof SEO really does take time, and work, so the sooner you start at it the sooner you can begin to move on up that page rank ladder.

Or, y’know, you could always just hire a wonderful Digital Marketing Company like us, with an incredibly talented, humble Copywriter like me to do the hard work for you!


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Llauren Cavanagh

Llauren Cavanagh


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