This is a quick introduction to what SEO is and why website owners require SEO.
This article is aimed at readers who are new to SEO. I tried to avoid complicated terms and focused on keeping it as simple as possible. It covers the very basics.
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization and just like the term implies, SEO is the craft of optimizing a website for search engines.
In a nutshell, the goal of SEO is to bring your website to the top of a search engine for a specific keyword, which then leads to your website getting free traffic (visitors).
Currently there are 3 noteworthy search engines, Google, Bing (Microsoft) and Yahoo. Google being by far the biggest with a market share between 70% – 90% depending on the country. For that reason, most SEO providers focus their optimization of website on Google.
A Quick History of SEO
A common misconception by users who are not familiar with SEO, is, that you can pay Google or other Search Engines to be at the top of the results. This is wrong! You can pay Google to display your ad on their website, but that is called Google Adwords/AdSense, which has no impact on the actual results of Google.
Okay, back in the 90s before Google existed and the biggest search engine was Altavista, you were actually able to pay your way up the ranking results. Who ever paid most, was ranked the highest. For obvious reasons, this does not give you very accurate search results.
This is where Google comes in. The founders of Google had the idea to start counting links from one website to another, and the more links one website would receive, the higher that website would rank.
So yes, that’s the very basic of any modern search engine, the more websites link to your website, the higher you rank in a search engine.
However, over the years, Google has created a highly complex algorithm to be able to provide the best search results possible. Simply getting 1000s of links to your site will most likely result in a penalty by Google because it will be seen as spam.
Because of that complex search engine algorithm and the constant updates that Google makes to the algorithm, website owners have started running tests and adjusted their websites to what Google recognizes as good value – thus SEO was born.
But why SEO? Can’t I just do regular advertisement? Absolutely, SEO is not a must, but it’s by far the cheapest method in the long run. The only downside is, it’s not instant. You will have to wait until your website ranks on first page of Google to receive visitors and this usually takes 4-12 weeks. If you require instant visitors, you would need to look into pay per click advertising (PPC) such as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads. Just like the word suggests, you will have to pay for each visitor you receive. The price per visitors varies between 5 cent up to $100, depending on what visitors you target.
If you wish to receive 10,000 visitors per month via pay per click, you are looking to spend anything between $1000 to $100,000 or more per month, and once you stop paying, you no longer receive any visitors.
With SEO, once you rank on page 1 of Google, you automatically receive visitors and you are not charge for each individual visitor. In other words, you get free visitors, often referred to as organic traffic.
SEO providers usually charge anything from $100 to $10,000 per month, all depending on what keyword you would like to have your website ranking for. Also if your SEO provider stops creating backlinks for you, your website will not fall off the front page from Google instantly. It usually takes several months from the time the SEO stops, until you fall back to page 2 or 3, and even then, very little work is required to bring the website back to page 1.
What is also very often overlooked, is that ranking on the top of Google gives your site much more authority in the eyes of your visitors, over websites that simply run ad campaigns. Many studies have shown that users on the internet trust a website at the top of Google much more than a website they found via some advertising banners.
For all these reasons, most website owners prefer SEO over Pay Per Click advertising.
Oh last but not least, let’s do a quick and very “rough” calculation.
A $300 SEO campaign could get you as much as 10,000 visitors per month, and those 10,000 visitors could be turned into $2,000 per month if you monetize your website correctly.
This is not some out of the blue calculation, but it applies to many websites I create for myself as well as my clients.
But keep in mind, SEO takes time. On brand new website it takes 8-16 weeks. Hard work and patience is required.