What is search engine optimisation?

SEO practices ultimately aim to improve visibility of a website or a web page in search engines, via  "natural" ("un-paid", "organic" or "algorithmic") search results, to increase the number of website visitors. There are many varying aspects and techniques to efficient SEO, ranging from simple content updates to complex website structure alterations.

In general, the higher the website shows within search engine results and the more frequently a site appears in the results list, the more visitors it will receive from online users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

The latest SEO market trends

It is important to keep up to date with the latest, ever-changing SEO trends, as showing at the top of search results, and can have a huge impact on a business. A thorough internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work and identifies what people search for, the actual search terms typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.

Optimizing a website can involve SEO specialists editing content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

What are the benefits of SEO?

Compared to other marketing strategies, SEO is able to offer a high ROI (return on investment) for businesses of any size within any business sector. Increased visibility on the web not only leads to increased online traffic, it also works to increase awareness of a company's brand or USP (unique selling point). This is because SEO offers a long-term marketing solution, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and enables a company to target specific customers with multiple marketing campaigns simultaneously. In addition, SEO provides businesses with a cost effective market research tool, meaning that it becomes easier for companies to spot customer trends in terms of both purchasing and search criteria.

Who can benefit from SEO?

One way or another, all businesses can benefit from SEO regardless of the size of the company or the nature of the industry. For example, where a company is service based as opposed to a retailer, SEO can be used to guide search engine users with a requirement for that service straight to that company's website. Where multiple services are offered by a company, multiple SEO campaigns can be implemented through the use of both coding and keywords.

Are other options available?

The short answer to that question is yes, but none of the alternatives to SEO are able to offer the same benefits or the same level of ROI. Probably the most common alternative to SEO is the PPC (Pay Per Click) system. PPC is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to a company's website. The company places an advertisement on a host website (or multiple sites), and pays the owner of the host site every time the link in the advertisement is used. Pay per click can either be at a flat rate or done on a bid basis, whereby advertisers bid against each other for use of key words in addition to the standard click through cost. This is known as Bid Price Inflation (BPI).

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