Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, which translates to 3.5 billion searches every day – Internet Live Stats
That is a lot of searches! And there is a high probability that your customers are contributing to this 3.5 billion daily searches by searching for your products and services.Is your business visible to them on the internet? And we haven’t even considered other search engines like Baidu, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex.
Most of our SEO discussion will revolve around Google, simply because as per July 2015 report, Google had a global search market share of 89%. Google dominates the search industry so much, that Oxford dictionary lists the word ‘Google’ as the activity of ‘searching for something or someone on the internet’.
With 40,000+ search queries every second, it is the right time for you to start learning about SEO and start implementing these techniques in your business.
We have designed this ‘Simplifying SEO‘ to help you learn the relevant SEO concepts. In the next few weeks, I plan to share with you, informative, latest and actionable SEO tips, tricks and techniques. At the end of the series, we hope that SEO will not be as complicated as it might sound to you right now. We will start with the basics and build our way towards the advanced techniques.
What is SEO?
SEO is the way of increasing your visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. (See image below)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consists of a set of ongoing technical and creative tasks. These tasks determine the chances of your business name showing up in search results, when prospective customers are looking for your products on the internet, using their mobile devices or computers.
SEO makes the web a better place – A broader perspective:
SEO is not just about your business growth, it is about making the web a better place by streamlining data & information.
Let me explain.
The objective of every search engine is to help the ‘searcher’ find what they are looking for, quickly and accurately. Here is a simple, high level explanation of how they do it.
Crawling: Search engines collect a huge amount of data on almost every website or webpage in the internet, using a process called ‘Crawling’
Indexing: Then they organizes the data within their servers using a process called ‘Indexing’ (more details on these topics later).
You are aware that Internet usage is increasing and new websites are being created every day (see our earlier blog for stats). At the time of writing this post, there were 987 million active websites (source). This means that search engines need to crawl and index a large amount of data on an ongoing basis. Even though search engines by themselves are evolving and coming up with better ways of crawling, indexing and storing information, wouldn’t it help if each website owner (or blog writer) like you and me make things easier for the search engines by structuring our website in a specified and orderly manner as prescribed by them?
SEO is the art of structuring the website information (in a prescribed and orderly manner) in such a way that search engines can easily crawl and index the information. Which in turn makes it easier for them to present it to the end user when they search for it.
In simple terms, by structuring your website information in a prescribed manner by each search engine’s webmaster, you clearly communicate to the search engines that you are in a specific business, offering specific products or services. This helps the search engine ‘organize’ this information in their servers and then bring it up in their search results, when customers come looking for you.
It is a win-win-win situation.
Win 1: You help the search engine ‘organize’ their information & give a better experience for their users
Win 2: They help you grow your business, by making you visible to your potential customers when they search for your products or services.
Win 3: When many websites do this, the world-wide-web becomes a better organized place.
That is why SEO is a crucial part of making the online world a better place.
SEO First Step – Research
Let us start this exciting journey of learning about SEO!
The first step is to determine your current status in search results, by conducting a ‘self-search’ on search engines.
Note: Do not be discouraged by the results that you might see. You may or may not find your business or products listed or highly ranked in the search results right now. Do not worry. Once you start applying the principles that we will discuss in this blog series, you should start seeing improvements in your search ranking, which will eventually lead to more enquiries, conversions and business. That is the goal. SEO is not a short term or one-time activity, it takes time, consistency and effort.
Basic self-search for Businesses – Action Points:
Self-search is a simple but an often-neglected SEO first step by many businesses.
Visit Google.com and conduct a search for the 4 following items. After each search, note down the results from the first 2 or 3 pages. You can take a screenshot or store the information in a spreadsheet. We will use this information at a later stage.
1. Brand Search:
Type your company name or brand name in the search box. This will give you an idea of the search ranking of your company at the moment. Save the details as a screenshot or in a spreadsheet.
2. Competition Search:
List down the names of your competitors and do a search for each of them. This will help you understand where you stand compared to the competition. Save the details as a screenshot or in a spreadsheet.
3. Product Search:
Search for your product/services. Do the search for each of your products and note down the results. If you have many products, start with the Top 5 or 10 revenue generators. Save the details as a screenshot or in a spreadsheet.
4. Influencers Search:
This has two parts:
a. External influencers search: List down key influencers in your industry and see how they rank by conducting a search for their names.
After saving those results, type the word “<your industry> expert” or “<your industry> influencer” in Google and see if the results contain the names of the influencers you had originally listed. Redo the search. Save the details as a screenshot or in a spreadsheet.
b. Internal influencers search: Search for your name and/or the names of the key influencers inside your organization. This result will give you an idea of the influence that you or your team members have in your industry. Save the details as a screenshot or in a spreadsheet.
Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards improving your search ranking.
In the next part of this ‘Simplifying SEO’ series, we will discuss how to use this information and also start discussing the next big term in SEO – the ‘Keyword’ research. Stay connected!