What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the answer to the question...
“How do I get to number 1 on Google?”

Search engines are what people use to find things online. Google is the most popular search engine performing around 90% of all searches online. While there are other search engines available I’ll be ignoring them in this guide because if you do well in Google you’ll do well in the other search engines anyway as a by-product.

SEO makes you listen to your customers

I think the best thing about SEO is that it forces you to listen to what your customers want. It works like this:

  1. Search engines help people find what they want online. Google became the most popular search engine because it was better than the others in connecting people with what they were looking for. Google’s profits ($14.81 billion in 2009) depend almost totally on them continuing to help people find what they are looking for better than anyone else.
  2. Search engine optimisation is creating a website that people want to see. You then help Google figure out who those people are and send them over to your site. Everyone is happy.

“Most of the right choices in SEO come from asking, what’s the best thing for the user?”
- Matt Cutts (Google)

A website that makes you money

Creating a website that gives people what they want makes sense in another way too. Being #1 in Google does not automatically cause money to rain from the sky. Once people find you through Google your website then needs to encourage them down the path to buying something from you. It is important to never forget that, as you start to optimise your website.