What in the Sam Hill is SEO?

Lyndsey Rhodes
Lego Man Looking for SEOImage Credit: Kenny Loule via flickr

Ok, so here at Yellerbee we pride ourselves on being accessible and getting things done in a way that doesn't make you feel like you did in long division classes age 7 (this could be just me...). We don't like that chest-tightening-forehead-furrowing feeling. So when you hear the term SEO bandied about it can be tempting to nod furiously whilst throwing out a few emphatic "Uh-huhs".

But SEO doesn't need to be that intimidating. It is, however, important.

SEO, as you may or may not know, stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it's all to do with the way that your website is found by people using the internet. Websites are all fighting for a high ranking (a site's ranking refers to where they are on the search results page). People on the whole are lazy articles and if they have to wade through 23 pages of Google results to get to your site, chances are they're not going to find you. They're going to go the site that's listed 1st, 2nd or even 7th on page 1. So if you want your website to get traffic (visitors) you need to do whatever you can to get it higher up the listings. 

Search engines (such as Google or Bing) are complex beasts and they work on algorithms or calculations which tell them a bit of information about your site such as what your business is about, where you're based and so on. Most of this is buried deep in the foundations of your site and that's where SEO experts come in. They have clever ways of signposting the coding in your site so that the search engines know exactly what they're looking at and what you're about. For the most part you shouldn't need to worry about it, any decent site will have these signposts in place when they're developed although there is a bit of maintenance involved (those pesky search engines are forever changing their algorithms).

Most search engines are frighteningly similar to those intimidating first school teachers, if your site is messy they're going to drop your ranking. If your spelling isn't up to scratch, they're going to drop your ranking. If you pinch content or do silly things like spam, then they'll rrrreally drop your ranking. Good SEO is mostly about good housekeeping - ensuring your site is current, clean and your signposts are all where they should be.


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