SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. When we say “search engine,” we’re generally referring to the most widely used search engine in the world (hint: it’s Google), but there are other search engines to optimize for too (like Bing, DuckDuckGo, Qwant, and more). For small businesses trying to build relevance, it’s wise to simply focus on Google.
SEO is considered a technique that helps improve the visibility of your website on search engines — that means where it ranks in relation to other websites. When someone searches for something and goes to a specific website, that’s called “organic traffic.” They are coming to your website naturally, without the assistance of paid marketing (another great strategy that we cover here).
To get a better sense of how SEO works, it’s important to know how search engines work. They essentially look through and take note of the web pages on the Internet — this is called “crawling” and “indexing”, respectively. When someone looks for something online, the search engine quickly figures out what the most relevant web page is for that specific search.
For example: searching for “apple” won’t pull up information about the fruit or where to buy the fruit. Most people are searching for information about the Apple company, the devices it makes, or where to find the nearest Apple store, so that’s what will be displayed.
Here’s where small business marketing comes in: a website that follows specific rules for SEO can make itself more likely to appear when someone searches for something specific. For small businesses, that can be whatever the business sells or provides. More eyes to the website means more potential interest, and that means more potential revenue.
The big caveat is that you have to play by the rules and trends of what people are commonly searching for. Apologies to all the online apple (fruit) sellers out there.