According to a recent American study, 11 percent of people thought the abbreviation HTML (hypertext mark-up language, used to create web pages) was a sexually transmitted disease.
They were also confused about “gigabyte” (27 percent thought it was an insect found in South America), “motherboard” (42 percent said the ‘deck of a cruise ship’), “MP3” (23 percent thought Star Wars robot), and “Blu-ray” (18 percent saw a marine animal).

It is unsurprising then that 77 per cent of the sample had no idea what the term “SEO” meant.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which, in simple terms, is making your website as easy as possible to find when people are looking for your kind of product or service using a search engine like Google.

And this is why SEO is such a significant service – if your website isn’t appearing in the top results, you’re not getting the traffic you need to be making sales. It’s like opening a shop in the middle of the dessert. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling cold water or ice cream, people can’t buy from you if they can’t find you!

So here are a few things to remember when engaging an SEO company:

SEO is a worthwhile investment

If you’ve gone from the bottom of the search rankings to the top, you’ll know the benefit of ranking high in Google. Google recently released some statistics about the best places to rank in search engine results. 90 percent of people click one of the first three results. Only 7 percent will scroll through the other results on the first page, and a meagre 3 percent will click to the second page.

So if you’re not on the first page, you’re missing out on 97 percent of your potential clients and customers!

Good SEO takes time

Optimising your site isn’t something that can happen overnight. There are so many factors that determine Google’s rankings, and often it can take a few months for Google to recognise the changes you’ve made to your site, and adjust the rankings accordingly.

If your site is optimised well and effectively, you’ll start to see your rankings improve within a couple of months. But as you get nearer the top of the list, it’s always going to get more competitive, meaning improving your rankings even further is only going to get harder.

Also, you can’t just “set and forget” when it comes to SEO. Improvements you make to your site will need to be tweaked again and again in the future. The algorithm Google uses to determine the rankings is constantly changing and being improved. In fact, Google is said to make around 700 tweaks to the algorithm each year, meaning you need to be constantly monitoring and improving your site to see what’s happening and determine the necessary changes to keep you ranking higher.

Beware black hat SEO

While most SEO companies engage in ethical SEO, there are a few unethical techniques that can be used to get your sight ranking higher faster, and these are commonly referred to as black hat SEO.

Someone good at black hat SEO can get your site rocketing up the rankings. You can go from being on page 10 to the top of page one in a matter of months, but it won’t last, and it’ll come back to bite you. Google is very good at finding sites that have engaged in these underhanded tactics designed to trick Google, and penalises them hard. Google can easily throw you back down to page ten, or it can exclude you from the rankings all together!

There have been a few high-profile cases in the past where Google discovered sites were engaging in black hat SEO. One such company was paying other websites to link to theirs, something Google doesn’t allow. Google decided to exclude this company from the rankings altogether, and refused to include them again until all the links they had paid for were gone.

Google is powerful, so it pays to do it right!