In order to understand Search Engine Optimisation, we need to understand how Search Engines work. Search Engines – such as Google and Bing – help users find information by taking their query and searching their indexes for web pages that match the query. These results are then ranked in order of relevance and shown to the users.
Good SEO takes a multifaceted approach – there isn’t just ‘one’ thing to do on a website to make it rank high in Google. The main thing is to make sure that the content on your website is relevant to queries - known as keywords - so that it is shown on the results page. The more relevant the result, the higher they will appear.
All SEO should start with the process of identifying keywords with optimisation potential, through a process know as keyword research. After all, how do you know what to optimise for in the first place, or if a keyword has enough searches to warrant spending the time optimising?
Once keywords have been identified, the optimisation process can begin on the content of a web page. Again this is no small job as keywords need to be present in the content of the page, in places that make sense and not just ‘stuffed’.
Search Optimisation isn’t all about content either. Your website should be well structured in terms of its code. Search engines aren’t human so won’t read your site like a person would. If your code is a mess, with content labelled incorrectly (a heading should not be regular text, for example) then search engines could prioritise other, better structured pages over yours - even if your content is more relevant. A good SEO Specialist will analyse the structure of your website’s code and provide suggestions for changes and improvements where appropriate.
So, to answer the question: SEO is the process of changing the content and code of your website to be more relevant for search engines for the keywords that will gain you more business.