Search Engine Optimisation

Summary / Quick Tips

Background information that you should know about search engines:

  • They are the most commonly used tool for finding websites.
  • Google is the market leader.
  • They regularly index your website to understand it's content.
  • Some entries on search engines are paid adverts (typically appearing above and to the right of organic listings).

What Are Search Engines?

Search engines make the Internet an easy and effective tool to find relevant information. They use the word or phrase you type in to the search engine to find and present the most appropriate and relevant websites held in their index. Here are some of the most popular search engines:

* UK market share as defined by Hitwise - based on volume of searches in December 2008.

As you can see, the vast majority of searches are performed on Google. This is why we concentrate on Google when optimising our websites and measuring our success.

How Do They Work?

Search engines use web crawler technology to regularly index websites. They take note of the words used in each page and where the words are used (e.g. in the page title, headings, body text etc.) When you perform a search they use your search words to scan their index and pull back the most relevant websites.

Website owners strive to make it to the top ten results, which is the first page of results displayed by a search engine. If you can place your website within the top ten search engine results on a major search engine such as Google, you are more likely to obtain a decent level of organic traffic to your website.

Organic Vs Paid Listings

A quick way to get to the top of search engine results is to pay for adverts. On Google you do this via Adwords. The screenshot below shows organic and paid listings.

Organic Vs Paid Listings

The results in the blue boxes are the sponsored links that consist of paid ads. The red box shows the organic listings which are selected by Google according to how relevant the websites are to the search term entered. The organic listings are affected by SEO activity.

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