What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

by Chris Wong

13 August 2016

Imagine it’s 8:00 pm on a Saturday evening, you’ve got guests over, you’re about to start cooking your grandmother’s famous lasagne but you suddenly realise you forgot to buy the tomato paste! Uh oh!

What do you do?

You grab your keys, rush out the door, and hop in your car to the nearest supermarket to pick up some tomato paste.

You get to the supermarket, park your car, hair is frazzled and a small line of sweat forms on the top of your forehead. You don’t have much time to waste, no time to check your reflection in your side mirror.

When inside, you flag down the nearest store attendant like a fire’s just broken loose and in between breaths you pant out ‘tomato’ ‘sauce’…’where?’.

The store attendant, with a slightly confused look on his face points to aisle 8, and tells you it’s near the middle, opposite the pasta.

You thank him, and trundle to middle of aisle 8 where you see an entire section of red – tomato sauce everywhere. You pick one on the middle shelf, you don’t have the time to compare prices, and brands.

You bolt to the checkout, back into your car, and onwards to home.

You make it in time to make your lasagne – your guests are none the wiser.

Thanks for the story, but what the hell is SEO?

I wanted to keep my explanation of what Search Engine Optimisation is in the simplest way possible. It quite literally is what it says – optimisation of your website/pages to help both search engines, and visitors firstly find and then understand what your page is about, and the content on it.

In the above story, the search engine was the store attendant (for arguments sake, he’s the all-knowing store attendant who knows where exactly all the products are in the store). You asked him for tomato paste, he gave you an aisle number, and a generalised location – he knew this because he probably packed it there. He packed it there because of the big red label that goes around the jar that says ‘TOMATO PASTE’. This is exactly how a search engine like Google would operate.

Now, can you image walking into a supermarket with no aisles, and no labels on any of the products? Even the all-knowing store attendant wouldn’t be able to help you.

Getting your product on the shelf is what search engine optimisation (SEO) is.

There is a plethora of information out there that attempt to understand and explain in-depth what search engine optimisation is all about – and how best to create pages and content that rank better in search results.

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