Intro to SEO

Getting information in front of a highly targeted audience at the precise moment when they’re looking to buy your product or service is extremely important. People find the things they need online by typing a phrase into the search engine. Think about yourself – when you’re trying to find something specific, you’re much more likely to head to the search engine.

To the user, search engines offer a window to the web – a convenient way to shift through billions of pages out there to find valuable, relevant information on what they are interested in at any given time. For marketers, search engines offer a unique opportunity to get their products or services in front of online prospects at the exact moment they’re looking for them. It’s one of the ultimate forms of targeted, prequalified marketing.

Search engines

Search engines give business a prime opportunity to put products, services and brands in front of vast and ever-growing market of prospective customers at the precise time those customers are looking for exactly what the business is selling.

70-80% users ignore paid ads on any given search, only focusing on organic results. 75% of them never scroll past the first page of search results. Companies that blog have 435% more indexed pages than those that don’t. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate while outbound leads (direct mail, print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. On Google, 18% click on the first position, 10% click on the second and only 7% of users click on the third position.


Google, the market leader in search by a country mile was only established in late 1998. In the less than 16 years, the search engine company has become a leading global brand to rival the biggest and the best out there and has changed the way business operated forever. Google’s incredible growth and the unprecedented rise of search in general, is testament to the practically ubiquitous appeal of online search, both to a constantly growing pool of internet users and as marketing vehicle for large and small businesses.

Search engines’ goals

Search engines are interested in delivering timely, relevant, high-quality search results to their users. They are constantly researching, developing, testing and refining ways to enhance the service that they provide – looking to optimise the relevance and quality of the results they serve back to the user on every single query. The better the search experience for the user, the better the reputation of the search engine and the more users it will attract. The more users a search engine has, the more alluring it is to the advertisers, therefore the more ad revenue it can pull in. Putting users first makes search engines richer and that makes search engine shareholders happy.

How does it work

Search engines need to deliver accurate, relevant, high quality search results to their users – they need to gather detailed information about the billions of web pages out there. They do this using automated programs called “bots” (robots), also known as “spiders”, which they send out to crawl the web. Spiders follow hyperlinks and gather information about the pages they find.

Once a page has been crawled by a spider, the search engine stores details about the page’s content, and the links both into and out of it, in a massive database called an index. This index is highly optimised so that results for any of the hundreds of millions of search requests received every day can be retrieved from it almost instantly.

The list of results for any given search query is run through the search engine’s complex ranking algorithms: special programs that use a variety of closely guarded proprietary formulas to “score” a site’s relevance to their user’s original query. Output is stored in order of relevance and presented to the user in the SERPs.

Adapted from

Ryan, D., 2016. Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.

Next doc