Lesson 1: What SEO is and why you need it
Every second, around the world, approximately 40,000 searches take place online, which means Google (along with all those other search engines) processes about 3.5 billion searches a day.
That's pretty mind blowing stuff when you really think about it; especially when you consider how quickly those relevant results come in... even when you search for something as obscure as "cat shaman".
So how does this happen?
In the most layman of layman's terms - Google uses a complex mathematical formula called an algorithm that is constantly crawling the web and learning about websites so it can determine what they have on offer and give them scores on different things like quality, trustworthiness, and level of authority on a subject (to name a few).
In return, websites are sending signals to that algorithm that tell it everything it needs to know so it can register what the website does and rank it in those areas.
The more your site is able to prove to a search engine that your an authority on a topic, trusted, and relevant to a users' search, the more visibility it will get on the search engine results pages (which you may also know as SERPs).
So, SEO then is just simply a process by which you can make sure your website is a) sending signals to the algorithm so it is visible and b) sending the right signals to boost your scores so it's not just visible, but on page 1 of the search results.
You're optimizing your site so search engines can understand it, but you're also saying "Hey Google! It's good for your business to promote mine because of x, y, z".
You see, online searches are full of intent, meaning someone is intentionally looking for someone or something, and whether or not your website will be there to meet them is directly determined by your SEO efforts.
It's about understanding where search engines look for info on your site and how they prioritize it and then curating your site so that info can be easily found and understood.
That way, when someone searches for "dentist office in Vancouver" (or whatever it is that you actually do) the search engine can recommend you as a relevant result with confidence and boost you closer to the top.
That's why you need SEO.
It's not this terribly complicated thing designed to make us all pull out our hair. It's this wonderfully helpful thing that gives us control over our website's success!
Time for a 1 minute dance party because you just completed lesson 1!