Posted On 28 Oct 2019
Marama Carmichael

SEO is critical in the business world today – it can help drive organisational growth, increase sales, and build your customer base. Yet it still remains an abstract concept for many business owners and entrepreneurs alike. They realise its importance, but struggle with understanding the finer details of how it works. Perhaps you too would like to learn more.

This article answers the following questions: What is SEO? How does it work? And why does it matter so much? Armed with this knowledge, you will be better equipped to make better business decisions for your company.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. According to The Balance Small Business, put simply, SEO is “the art and science of making web pages attractive to search engines.” In other words, SEO is the process by which your website achieves a higher position, or ranking, on Google’s results pages.

Let’s illustrate this.

Imagine that you are a vendor who sells goods at a local flea market. Over time, you notice that your competitors are selling more goods than you are. Why? Because they have rented booths near the flea market’s main entrance, whereas your booth is in a remote corner of the market. What, then, is the solution to this problem? You realise that you too need to rent a booth closer to the main entrance, so as to attract more passers by. In short, you need to be more visible.

In the online world, SEO functions in much the same way. In order to attract traffic to your website, you must craft your content so that Google and other search engines will be more likely to give your site a high ranking in their results. Basically, SEO makes your site more “visible” to Internet users.

Now that we understand the basic principle of SEO, how does it actually work?

How Does SEO Work?

SEO is based on two main attributes: relevance and authority.

  • Relevance basically measures how closely your website’s content matches the user’s search phrase. Google looks for keywords that match what the user typed in, and ranks websites accordingly. For example, if a user types in “NFL football tickets” then Google would prioritise websites from vendors that sell football tickets in its results, instead of websites from official NFL teams. There is good news here for small businesses: the more specific the search phrase is, the more likely that niche-type businesses will rank higher in the results list.
  • Authority is a measure of how many outside sources link to your web page, and the quality of those sources. Google measures “authority” by how many times other sites refe