Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about ranking well in a search engine’s organic index.
The organic index is the list of web sites the search engine returns when the user types key words into the search box.
All the other results on the page are non-organic paid-for advertising – mostly resulting from pay-per-click or PPC.
If you look at the Google screen grab, the organic and paid-for advertising sections are marked out.
Search engine optimisation is all about getting your web site on the non-paid-for slice of the screen.
The organic section is created by Google search bots indexing web site pages and ranking them according to the firm’s secret algorithm.
Research shows that web sites listed on the first page of an organic search receive the most traffic.
The figures shows 42% of all traffic goes to web page ranked on the first page (PR1) of an organic search, pages ranking on the second page take 12% of traffic and the rest are probably not seen by anyone.
So 54% of traffic goes to PR1 and PR2 and 46% is shared among the rest of the thousands of results.
Typically, Google puts 10 web pages on the first ranked page, interspersed with other in formation, like images and news.
SEO will push your page higher up the page rankings, but the results are not instant.
The concept to bear in mind is that pages rank, not web sites. So planning your SEO around keyword specific landing pages is the first task.
Start with your most desired or popular keywords and break out in to broader terms.
So, a widget site would start with a general landing page for widgets, but add pages for different colours, styles and types of widget.
Search engine optimisation would optimise those landing pages by making sure the keywords appear in the content, headings and tags. Then related pages around the landing page would have product descriptions, FAQs, how-to’s and reviews so the user can explore deeper levels of content.
This formula helps with page ranking as well. The search engine can see from exploring the content and related pages that your site is offering information about widgets – and the search engine optimisation theory is that anyone who queries the search engine about red, furry widgets would see a page from your web site ranking as PR1.