“How can I get found on the first page of Google?” That’s one of the first questions I get asked by small business owners who are after marketing their website online.

Well, there are ONLY two ways you could be found on Google’s first page..

  1. Through Google’s advertising program called “Google Adwords. In this program, you only pay when someone clicks your ad and depending upon how much you are willing to pay as compared to other advertisers, your ads show up on the first page.
  2. Through organic search engine results that are below paid ads or Adwords. The strategy that helps in making your website appear in organic search results is called SEO which is what I am going to talk about in this post.

Top search engines of today’s world include Google, Bing and Yahoo. Google is the most important one – no brainer. So, if your website is found on the first page of Google, chances are you’ll receive lots of free relevant traffic which could potentially turn into paying customers provided they like what it has to offer.

So, this post is dedicated to make you understand in plain English what’s SEO and some related concepts to kick-start your online marketing journey. Here are the discussion points of this post…

  • What is SEO?
  • How to know if your business really needs SEO?
  • What SEO is not?

What is SEO? Here is my Definition

Now, if you want to get found on Google organically, you’ll need SEO or search engine optimisation. But what is SEO? You might be wondering.

 To me, SEO is basically a practice of making websites ACCESSIBLE to search engines and VISIBLE to searchers when they search for relevant keywords and phrases.

How To Know If Your Business Needs SEO?

If your potential customers are making searches that are relevant to what you sell and those searches are made at a scale, then your website needs SEO. The search volume varies according to the size and scale of the industry. So, it’s difficult for me to give a generic estimate of the search volume you should not avoid or avoid.

In the last 12 years of my career, there had only been a couple of instances where I didn’t see search market potential for clients. Even the niche markets (small market segment whose needs are not served) have not remained niche markets any more because of the exponential growth in search engine usage.

So, the only fundamental criteria I would look at to know whether my business needs SEO or not is the search volume of the keywords and phrases relevant to my business. I have written a post on how to use Google Keyword Planner to estimate your market’s potential – should be good read for you.

What SEO is not? Common Misconceptions about SEO

Now that we know what is SEO and whether your business needs it or not, it’s also critically important to understand some of the misconceptions attached to it. The misconceptions below are due to certain beliefs that people have formed over the years for various reasons.

SEO is ONLY about keyword rankings – Keyword rankings is just one performance indicator of your SEO campaign. It’s NOT the whole SEO. I prefer traffic over keyword rankings to gauge the performance of an SEO project because of the below reasons. Why SEO is not ONLY about keyword rankings? The answer requires details which I have discussed in another of my post, why SEO is more than JUST keyword rankings?Here is a quick rundown of the post…

  • Not all keywords drive traffic – Dodgy SEOs rank you on useless keywords and make you feel good about it
  • Page 1 rankings do not guarantee that people will click on your listing – it’s the relevancy of your listing that brings higher click through rates
  • Most of the tools that track and report keyword rankings do not take into account personalisationlocalisation, and device type

SEO is a one-off task  Another misconception that is increasingly growing. People for some reason think SEO is like web development. You do little tricks to your website and boom you are done. Unfortunately, freelance marketplaces such as Airtasker.com, Fiver.com, Upwork.com etc. have helped business owners into believing that. SEO is anything but a one-off task. It’s a strategy that involves series of tasks to be done repetitively until you want to reap rewards from search engines.

Paid advertising (PPC) has an effect on SEO – Another question I get from new SEO clients is whether running an Adwords PPC campaign will help their SEO program. They probably think that if you are paying Google some money, maybe Google will reward you with better organic rankings. It actually doesn’t work that way. According to Google itself, “AdWords advertising has no impact on your organic or natural ranking in the search results; the two are completely separate”.

To sum it up we learned that SEO is about making your website technically efficient so search engines can easily access it and visitors can see it when they intend to. It’s also pretty easy to analyse yourself if your business or website needs SEO. And finally, and more importantly what are some of the more popular misbeliefs of SEO.  Let me know your thoughts about the post below…

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