Skip to content

A definition of SEO

Written by

Last editedMay 20212 min read

SEO stands for search engine optimisation and it describes two vitally important functions of the online presence of your business. The first of these is to drive your business higher up the page rankings when relevant topics are searched for online. The second is to ensure that the quality and quantity of the traffic being driven to your website increases.

How to refine the SEO of your content

For too long many people have concentrated on the search engine aspect of SEO and not on the human beings using those search engines. SEO isn’t simply about creating online content that appeals to Google. It’s about understanding exactly what people are looking for when they search online. SEO means knowing what kinds of words they will use to search and, even more importantly, what they will be hoping to find in terms of content. If you manage to improve the SEO of your website through the development of a coherent SEO strategy it will give your business the kind of boost that years spent on conventional marketing would struggle to achieve.

In simple terms, SEO will connect you to potential customers who are looking precisely for whatever it is that your business offers. To do this you have to understand two fundamental aspect of SEO:

  • What is it that your target market is looking for?

  • How can you craft an online presence that appeals to search engines? 

Search engines and SEO

When someone enters a search query online the search engine they use instantly scours literally billions of pieces of content, making an instant evaluation of which of these billions of pieces actually answers the query most effectively. It does this by ‘crawling’ over all the available content on the internet – including web pages, PDFs, videos and images – and then ranking the content discovered. 

If you want to make sure that your content is ranked as near to the top of the results page as possible then there are two options; paid advertising and organic search results. Organic results are those that are driven up the rankings by the quality of SEO which has been applied.

SEO and Google

Although other search engines are still available, Google is by far the most dominant player in the online search market. For that reason, any effective SEO strategy has to be based on an understanding of what algorithms Google is employing when ranking search results. One of the reasons why SEO experts are often in great demand is that the exact algorithms used by Google are both extremely complex and highly secretive. It pays to take a step back, however, and understand the following basic truths about Google rankings and SEO.

  • Google wants to find pages that are high quality and present information that is closely relevant to the original search query

  • Google will evaluate the relevance of your website content on the basis of, among other things, the presence of relevant keywords

  • Concentrating solely on keywords isn’t a valid SEO strategy, however, as Google will also evaluate the quality of your site on the basis of the number of external sites that link to a page of your site and the quality of those sites.

  • Other factors the Google algorithm uses to rank your website include the loading speed of the site and whether it is equally user-friendly on mobile devices

  • The amount of unique content contained on the site, as opposed to duplicated or low value content

  • Visitor engagement, which covers whether they stay on the site or immediately go back to the search results 

The algorithms used by Google to evaluate SEO are constantly being tweaked and updated, so the key to an effective SEO strategy is to take the time to understand and digest exactly what potential online customers will be looking for, and ensure that your website delivers the best possible online experience and is packed with relevant, quality, useful content. 

We can help

If an effective SEO strategy starts to pull more customers to your website then you’ll need a payment system that can cope with the increased demand. That’s what you’ll get when you partner with GoCardless. This includes the more complex aspects such as dealing with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

Sign upLearn More

Try a better way to collect payments, with GoCardless. It's free to get started.

Try a better way to collect payments

Learn moreSign up