What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. SEO basically boils down to one thing: ranking on Google's search results.
Have you ever wondered how Google decides to recommend a website to you? When you type in a question, business, idea, or an obscure sentence from that one song you heard once two years ago when you were eating a taco, how does Google rank the results? Which lucky webpage lands on top?
Well, it's not simply up to luck.
Google (or Bing, or Yahoo!, or any other search engine you may use) sends out these little crawlers that explore the whole wide web, looking at every website and webpage ever made by anyone. These crawlers collect information about these websites and bring them back to Google, dumping all that information for Google to siphon through. When you type into the search bar, Google uses that information and compares it to the keywords you've typed, using a special algorithm to determine which websites they should recommend.
This algorithm takes a lot of different things into consideration: how many people click on a website, how long people stay on websites, and even if there's a website people from different regions prefer. That's why your results can vary depending on where you are or how you word your search.
Why should I care about SEO?
If you have a website, you should care about SEO. It doesn't matter if your website is a personal blog, a small businesses site, a dropshipping site, or a cooking blog—you should care about SEO.
Good quality SEO does more than simply make you rank number one on Google's search results; it increases the quality and quantity of organic website traffic. "What's organic website traffic?", you say? Why it's free advertising.
Quality of traffic: Quality traffic is defined by the customer: if your website advertising cat socks only gains traffic from cat-hating bird owners, then your quality of traffic is low. Traffic from your target market is quality traffic.
Quantity of traffic: Once you have good-quality traffic, you want to increase the number of people clicking through to your website. This means your website needs to be turning up in the search results of quality traffic members.
Organic results: Guess what? You didn't have to advertise for that high-quality traffic! Google did that for you, by ranking your website high in their search results. And why did they do that? Because you successfully utilised SEO!
Search Engine Optimisation isn't always easy to execute and there are a number of people and companies dedicated to offering SEO services to help businesses rank in Google's search results. Paying for high-quality SEO services may not be high on your agenda (or business budget), but it should be. Utilising experts in SEO to ensure your website ranks number one in the search results will increase your income naturally over time. The more traffic, the more sales, the more profit.
Don't think SEO will happen naturally (spoiler: it won't). SEO takes work and dedication to set-up but brings results long after you've finished adjusting them. However, SEO isn't a one-and-done endeavour: SEO, along with the internet, is ever-evolving and SEO techniques change in response. Once your SEO is implemented, ensure you work closely with an SEO provider to keep your SEO up-to-date. Or, for a cheaper option, see how you rank in the search results every so often; if you drop in the results or stop turning up, it's definitely time for an SEO refresh.