Search engines – like Google – use an algorithm, which they continuously refine, to ensure the most appropriate content snippets for a search term, rank the highest of all the content they have crawled and indexed.
You could argue Google’s mission is to ensure the most appropriate content is returned to their users, so those users continue to use their search engine.
They might say otherwise though.
if you want to read more about how search works – from the horses mouth – then I strongly recommend you read the pages about this on Google’s website.
Or if you haven’t got time for that, please ask us!
So why do you need an SEO?
An SEO will help improve your rankings for the search terms you’re looking to target and increase the likelihood to the visitors converting to what you want them to do, when they arrive at your website.
SEO’s understand how people search and the importance of recognising intent – and use this information to make recommendations to their clients.
But it all starts with content and links.
SEO practitioners know that investing in the creation and promotion of quality content is one the most influential activities they can get involved in. Content that ranks well typically addresses and answers the intent of the search better than the other content on the search engine results page (SERPs).
Quality content can attract links from other sites. Backlinks are still a hugely important ranking factor as, in the eyes of Google, they are viewed as a positive endorsement of content.
It’s still the case that links from certain sites will be much more valuable than others. However relevant links for smaller sites, perhaps closer to a businesses location, can be as valuable as links from larger websites with greater perceived authority. The best kind of links are editorial mentions, where appropriate anchor text – the clickable text – has been used.
There are other factors that influence how well content is likely to rank. For example, how fast your pages load.
But importantly, you should be looking to demonstrate expertise, authority and trust via your website as a whole.
What’s the playing field?
It used to be the case that a SERP contained 10 content snippets, each linking to a different piece of content. That’s not the case any more. SERP’s differ according to the search term, the searchers location and what device they’re using.
What tends to be consistent is that there are paid listings at the top followed by organic listings.
We can learn a great deal about Google’s interpretation of the intent of search terms, from the features and content they display on their SERPs. All the information an SEO needs to know is right there in front of them. This explains why SERP analysis is such a large part of the SEO process.
We know that the majority of searchers click on the links on page 1 of the SERP, and that of those clicks, the majority tend to click on the organic listings, followed by the Local Pack/Local Finder and then the paid listings.
Being towards the top of the first page helps too.
What are the opportunities?
We know that the majority of searches are informational in nature – people are looking for solutions to their problems. We also know, by using SEO tools, the volume of searches for each term and how difficult it will be to rank. In addition we can estimate the number of clicks you’re likely to receive based on the position of your content on the SERP.
We can also understand what happens when searchers arrive at your site by looking at your Google Analytics data – and see whether the clicks result in conversions to your goals.
Many businesses look to increase the number of enquiries about their products or services and see the value in SEO because it can help generate these.
If you know that you convert one in ten enquiries, and that each conversion is worth £150 on average (lifetime value of a new customer), you can see the value in a significant rise in the number of enquiries.