What is SEO and Why Does My Website Need it?

When you decide that you need to find a particular website, business, or type of website or business, on the internet, what is the first thing you do? For most of us, it is heading over to Google to search for keywords and terms related to what we need. This is clearly the most efficient way of using the internet. It is possible to find out web addresses from the real world. In fact, many adverts now carry web addresses, and it is not uncommon to see QR codes on billboards and posters, but this is not a very efficient way of finding things.

While most of us use search engines on a regular basis, we don’t often think about exactly how those search engines work. You may well have found yourself somewhat in awe of what Google does, probably during those few seconds between typing your query and receiving a list of results from the entire internet within seconds. Search engine optimization (SEO) determines which order the results are listed in.

What is SEO?

SEO refers to a number of techniques that website owners can use in order to improve the quantity and the quality of traffic their website generates. It is something that every website owner should learn about at some point. If you are just learning the ropes and you have only just put your first website online, SEO is a good next step. If you’ve been running sites for a while without worrying about generating much traffic, but want to step things up, SEO can help you to achieve this.

Increasing the Quality of Traffic

Increasing the quality of the traffic that you receive means that more of the people who end up on your website will want to be there. For example, there is a large technology company who is named after a common fruit. If one were to search for “best prices on apple products”, hoping to score themselves some primo cooking apples, they will be disappointed having to wade through the endless results for consumer electronics.

This is because, as you would expect, Apple has their SEO locked down. Only by searching for “best prices on apple fruit products” will you get what you want. Or let’s say that your website is dedicated to cakes, including prices of different retailers. Someone searching for ‘Walmart Cakes For Birthdays’ is always going to see Walmart’s page first. You aren’t trying to steal that spot – you can’t. Instead you’re ensuring that yours appears as soon afterwards as possible.

Increasing the Quantity of Traffic

Now it is important to be realistic here, as whatever niche or genre your website occupies, there will almost certainly be at least one big competitor. SEO optimization isn’t about grabbing the top spot, rather it is about ensuring that you are receiving the full amount of traffic that your website is capable of – that it is optimized, in other words.

So, you will receive more traffic to your website, and it will be of a higher quality. This will soon lead to other websites linking to yours, which is the most powerful tool in SEO!

SEO is definitely something that any modern website needs. If your web design and building is purely a hobby, and you don’t have much of a budget, you can pursue SEO for free.