SEO, or search engine optimisation, is often referred to as the lifeblood of the internet. But what does that actually mean? Crucially, it means that SEO makes the web go round. Without the help of search engines, there is only ever going to be so much that your website can do. You could have flashy visuals and offer insightful content – but if your SEO strategies aren’t up to scratch, you’re going to risk falling far behind the competition.
This means that people aren’t likely to find you when they search through Google or Bing, and it also means that you’re not going to grow your business or services in the way you want to.
SEO can seem like a pretty complex topic. In fact, even the best web designers and SEO professionals are continuing to learn what it all means! Google is always likely to change its algorithms, too. This means that the rules for SEO will change occasionally. Basically, it is all about making sure that the right people find your site, and that you are converting all your efforts into a web design that makes a genuine difference.
Here’s a bumper stack of facts about SEO which might just surprise you. Even if you’ve been designing websites for years on end, it makes sense to refresh yourself on the latest facts and figures. After all, you never really know when Google is going to change things next! Settle in and clue up on a few SEO facts to help whip your website into shape.
- One of the major changes Google has made to SEO and the way it ranks search listings in recent years is through its ‘mobile first’ indexing. This means that Google will now offer priority listing to websites built for use on mobile devices, such as smartphones, over those with desktop versions alone. It makes sense – many of us browse the web by phone first, and PC later!
- One of the best ways to tackle this side of Google’s algorithms is through responsive web design. This is where you can design one web page which will morph to fit all devices. That’s right – it’s entirely possible to create a one-size-fits-all design!
- Google processes trillions of searches each year. That’s a truly astronomical figure – and it also means that searches likely to lead people to you are well within those clicks.
- Google’s way of ranking websites is more than mysterious. In fact, SEO has always been a bit of a guessing game. That’s why SEO specialists always have to be on their toes when designing websites. It’s thought that Google has more than 200 different ways of ranking sites.
- In fact, one of the oldest ways to approach SEO was to rank purely on keywords alone. These are words and phrases which directly relate to your site or service. However, changes over the years to Google’s algorithms mean it’s no longer possible to ‘stuff’ your site with keywords unless they make actual sense.
- What’s more, this is what divides SEO techniques into ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’. White hat SEO focuses on all the organic, natural ways to encourage people to visit a website. Black hat SEO cuts corners and doesn’t care for the user’s experience. Thankfully, search engines are vastly reprimanding black hat techniques.
- Google loves great content. What’s more, it also loves link building. This means that you need to make sure you offer genuinely appealing, engaging content which answers questions people are likely to search for. To build links, you need to link out to useful resources and authorities in your text.
- Google is the name you need to follow the most for all things SEO. While many people use Bing, Google is said to have an almost 88% share of all search across the web.
- In fact, two of the three most popular search engines in the world are run by Google – so their opinion and algorithms are seriously important. They run – of course – Google itself, as well as YouTube, the video-sharing platform. Amazon, the leading ecommerce site, rounds off the top three.
- Believe it or not, more than 90% of all pages ranked and stacked by Google are completely invisible. This means that they never receive organic click-throughs. This, in the days gone by, means that they are generally buried from page two onwards. A key element of SEO is not only getting sites to page one, but to get them to the top on a variety of relevant keywords and searches.
- People are split on what tends to work best for driving click-throughs from search. Many people rely on PPC, or pay per click, where you will insert paid adverts at the top of relevant search listings. However, SEO, which is an organic approach to generating search, is thought to be more effective in the long. Statistics suggest that as much as more than half of web traffic arrives through organic searching.
- Paid ads, while useful, seem to only make up a small amount – as little as 10%, for example. There’s a wide gulf of around a third where users end up on sites through multiple different means. In any case, the stats are clear – SEO is essential for genuine website success.
- That said, plenty of people use SEO alongside PPC and targeted ads, as well as social media. There is nothing to say that you can’t drive higher click-throughs by managing several different options at once.
- SEO is very important when it comes to capitalising on that ‘first’ web experience. It’s thought that up to 93% of people’s online experiences – from day to day – start with search. It certainly helps that Google is likely to be the default home page or search engine in many internet browsers – just don’t expect Microsoft Edge to climb down from Bing any time soon!
- It’s thought that appearing in search results – regardless of whether or not you are clicked on – has a huge, positive effect on your brand image and recollection. In fact, statistics suggest that you are likely to boost your brand by 30% just by appearing in the first few results. Therefore, even if SEO doesn’t bring you all the clicks you want right away, it will at least get your name out there and in the public consciousness.
- It’s a common thought in SEO that duplicate or double content on a site is going to harm your rankings. Yes – it’s not exactly the most professional look – and it’s probably best to make sure that all your pages are unique – however, Google is more likely to be fussy over content copied from elsewhere. Your content needs to be original, engaging, and needs to answer questions. It can’t be stressed enough!
- Search engines have been around since 1993. Big engines to have fallen by the wayside over the years include Archie Query, Yandex, AltaVista, Yahoo, MSN, Ask Jeeves, and Lycos. Google, by measure, only entered the game in 1998, becoming a massive player after the turn of the millennium.
- When we look at the most popular websites on the internet, the vast majority are search engines or content portals. Only two in the top ten – YouTube and Wikipedia – offer content themselves. Others, such as Google, Amazon, and Twitter, are gateways to other content, or are social media platforms.
- Bing remains one of few competing search engines that emerged late into Google’s dominative run. They entered the sphere of search in 2009, and in fact, they actually merged with Yahoo. Yahoo itself has seen its share of issues over the years, as Google continues to drive immense market domination.
- In fact, Google has grown so much that it’s now a part of everyday consciousness in the West. To Google something means to search the web – it’s become its own verb! If that’s not success on a colossal scale, we don’t know what is.
- SEO is evolving to include voice search. Thanks to rising popularity in search assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri – as well as Microsoft’s Cortana – it is safe to say that people are searching the web with their voices more and more. In fact, predictions made by experts suggest that around 50% of all searching online will be through voice control in the near future.
- Video content really matters. In fact, it’s been proven that you stand to double your chances of appearing on the first page of search results on Google simply by setting up a video on your main page. Many feel that this is both as a result of Google keeping YouTube in the headlines, as well as the fact they understand people are incredibly perceptive to watching videos.
- In fact, statistics also suggest that you are likely to generate over 40% more clicks through to your website with a video than you are with written content. Yes – text is still hugely important – but if you’re not already making videos, you’re not exploring SEO to the fullest. Time to crack out the camera, then!
- More than half of all global searches now come from mobile devices. Therefore, it’s high time you focused on that mobile-first, responsive strategy!
- Coming back to PPC and paid ads, let’s consider how popular and effective they actually are in practice. It’s thought that up to 80% actively avoid paid ads altogether – preferring the organic approach. Are searchers wising up to the process? It’s another big reason why SEO is still so important in the modern age, even if you choose to use it alongside PPC or other paid campaigns.
- Google’s first page results don’t always hold small amounts of text. In fact, the average page ranking on the first page of specific search results will likely contain just short of 2,000 words. That’s around three or four pages of A4 – therefore, Google really does want to make sure you are leading with content that’s long enough to appeal to regular searchers!
- When you first look into SEO, you will likely come across words that apply to searches to encourage ‘local appeal’. This means that people might insert terms such as ‘near me’ or ‘nearby’ to what they’re looking for if they want help from a local business. However, statistics suggest that some of these terms – such as ‘closest’ – are dropping off in a big way.
- Local search has a massive effect on SEO. In fact, if you run a local business, how far you are away from your searchers has a massive impact on where you rank. Yes – believe it or not, if you rank far away from your searchers, no matter your keywords, if there’s a similar business closer to their location, they’ll probably get the priority listing.
- Blogging used to be something that people did purely for fun – a blog used to be a public diary of sorts! However, this has changed massively over the years – as it’s thought that more than 80% of businesses online feel that their blogs are important to their online success. They wouldn’t be wrong, either – as blogging helps to show visitors that you are uploading content regularly.
- Here’s another meaty statistic putting SEO up against paid ads. It’s thought that for every click someone makes on a paid ad, there are nearly twelve organic clicks. Therefore, once again, it is so important to find that balance!
- Local search and local SEO, again, is hugely important – it’s thought that around 72% of people who search for local services actively make a decision off the back of that online snoop.
- It’s entirely possible to run SEO yourself through a variety of WordPress plugins, guides and other services. However, it’s generally a good idea to approach a professional – particularly as SEO is always subject to change, depending on what Google feels is likely to be important in time to come! Trust us – you’re going to need the help.