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Welcome to the first of many posts on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it can help you improve your online presence on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing. This month I will introduce you to SEO and why it’s important to consider it if you are looking to get more visitors to your website. In the following months we will look at certain areas of SEO and what you should be doing to improve your online presence and ultimately drive more traffic to your website or blog. I will be referring a lot to Google, who have 68% of the search engine market share (read more on this here) but most of what you need to do will help you rank on the other search engines too.

To start with let’s explain the two different types of “search” traffic. One is paid (read Meyrick’s introduction blog on Google Adwords) where you pay to be listed (per click or impression) and the other is organic (or natural).

paid-vs-organic

Research done (not by me) show that more people click on organic than paid results (80%) but in recent months this has started to change. The paid route does seem easier (and it can be) but there are many people out there who block all ads and therefore won’t see your ads at all! In the end (if you can afford it) you should be looking to appear on both (as Web Africa does above).

SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “free”, “organic”, “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines. “Free” as in that you don’t need to pay to be ranked in the search engines but of course it does involve your (or someone else’s) time. The world of SEO is constantly changing but many of the basic guidelines are the same.

Being on the first page of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) should be your first goal. Around 90% of clicks happen on the first page with traffic dropping off by 95% on page 2. Next step is to climb up the positions on the first page. It won’t surprise you that the higher you are the more likely you will get clicks to your website. 

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Practicing SEO can become very time consuming (some companies have a full time dedicated person on it or even go the outsource route) but there is no reason why you can’t follow the basics and start to get organic traffic to your website.

So where to start? SEO is not something that will happen overnight (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) but there are a few things you can do relatively quickly that will get your website or blog on the way to getting more organic visits. We will look at these next month.

Until then happy searching!

Some SEO resources (for those who can’t wait until next month):

SEO is just one component of Online Marketing so make sure you subscribe to our monthly newsletter where every month we will cover six topics to help you improve your online presence.