Why does this work matter and what happens if you don’t do it?
SEO means: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), if you pause to think for a second it very quickly sinks in that SEO is a very sensible thing to do. Why wouldn’t you want your site to appear at the top of a search engine’s list of returned sites?
So, before we get into how SEO works it is going to be helpful to know how a search engine finds results. Search engines are answer machines: ask a question and it searches its index to find the most relevant answers. The search engine has compiled this index using a “web crawler”, a program that visits each page on the web and all of its links, which stores a copy of the page and its URL in the search engine’s index. If you can find the page listed on a search engine then a crawler has visited it. Now, the part where SEO comes in: a search engine uses an algorithm to rank results in order of relevance to your search. These algorithms look at different elements to decide which sites come at the top of the returned list. SEO ensures that your site contains all the elements that a search engine algorithm is looking for and gets ranked highly. For example:
Title Tags (or Title Elements): are the highlighted titles that a search engine result page (SERP) displays (on Google they are highlighted blue). These tags tell Google, other search engine the main description of your site or document. They are very important and optimizing them is often one of the first SEO tasks.
Meta Descriptions: appearing under the highlighted Title Tag on a SERP. Although Google’s algorithms do not take Meta descriptions into account, since 2009, to determine a sites relevance they are essential to encourage users to click on your link, rather than a competitors.
H1 Tags: stands for Heading One and is the first thing a search engine like Google will look at to establish the relevance of your site after the title tag. With an H1 tag you are essentially telling search engines that this text, or heading is the most crucial.
Image Alt Tags: labels for any images on your site or document and Google, and others, use Image Alt tags to determine what the image is but also if the surrounding information is relevant an useful. Clear tags are very important for SEO.
Internal Linking: when a Google crawler finds your site it will also have a look at any links to see their relevance. If the link structure is unclear then it is possible the crawler may not even know the links exist. Many experts believe internal linking has a strong impact on Google’s algorithm and a clear pyramid shaped internal linking structure is key.
By using SEO your site will immediately have gained an advantage over any non-optimised sites on the web; people are inherently lazy and are most likely to click on one of the top five results, rather than any others. More people than ever are using search engines and SEO is becoming more and more common and is essential if you want to generate traffic on your site. Without SEO you run the risk of your site being buried deep in the search engine’s index and rarely read.