What is search engine optimisation?
Search engine optimisation is a continuous process of optimising your website to boost its rankings in search engines (mainly Google), so that your audience finds your website on relevant searches that have value for your business. Search engine optimisation is abbreviated SEO (from English: Search Engine Optimization).
Google automatically indexes all websites on the Internet. When a user performs a search, Google returns the websites that Google deems most relevant to the user. So your goal is to ensure that your website is indexable and that Google considers your website the most relevant to display when your target audience makes a relevant search.
Search engine optimisation consists of four interrelated areas: technology, content, links and user signals. In other words, it's a multifaceted process and it requires ongoing efforts in all four areas to ensure your business has a strong and valuable presence on Google.
Search engine optimisation is business critical
Danes are searching the web like never before. We search for holidays, new cars, cooking, job interviews, Christmas gifts, physical stores, suppliers, reviews, product information and much, much more. Together, we do more than eight million searches on Google - every day, all year round.
In 2018, the total Danish online trade amounted to 144 billion DKK, according to the analysis E-commerce 2018 from Danish Business - an increase of 17 % compared to the previous year. Almost 2/3 of that amount consisted of services, while the rest were physical goods. 8 out of 10 Danes start a planned purchase by searching for information online, according to a survey by FDIH.
In other words, if your business is to win customers and compete, it is vital that you are visible in search engines - whether you sell products or services, and whether your target audience is consumers (B2C), businesses (B2B) or public institutions (B2G). Search engine optimisation is a business-critical marketing discipline.
Online marketing channels
The importance of SEO as a marketing discipline is supported by our analysis Online Marketing Channels 2020, where we compare the performance of different online marketing channels in Denmark. The analysis is based on 122 million visits to 65 major Danish websites in different segments.
Of the 122 million website visits, over 40 are % organic traffic (i.e. traffic from search engine results). It is thus the largest marketing channel, followed by paid traffic (i.e. traffic from ads) and referral traffic (i.e. traffic from links on other websites):
By far the best - and highest margin - marketing channels for generating sales (in terms of conversions) are organic traffic and paid traffic. Not because the conversion rate (i.e. the proportion of visitors who make a purchase) is high, but because the number of visitors is much higher from these particular marketing channels than from other marketing channels:
You can download the full analysis for free here. The analysis provides detailed data and statistics for each of the e-commerce, B2B and B2C segments.
The 4 elements of search engine optimization
Google's positioning of your website is, according to Google itself, based on more than 200 different rating criteria. Each of these criteria tells Google something about how relevant your website is to a given search and how high in the search results it should be positioned.
The criteria are divided into four areas:
- Technology is the foundation of your website. The prerequisite for successful search engine optimisation work is that there are no technical errors or inadequacies on the website that reduce the quality of the website or prevent Google from indexing the website.
- Content on your website determines the searches (keywords and search phrases) on which Google shows your website. If Google can't understand the content, and if the content isn't aligned with your target audience's search habits, your website won't show up.
- Links from other websites to your website determines how high your website ranks in search results. A link can be seen as a recommendation of your website, and links therefore give Google a strong indication of how good the website is.
- User signals is the behaviour of users on your website. If users show a high level of engagement when they visit your website, this is a signal to Google that your website is of high quality and relevant to users for the given search.
Good content can't stand alone, and a perfect technical foundation alone can't guarantee you a top ranking on Google. In other words, search engine optimisation is a multifaceted process and your chances of achieving good rankings depend on creating synergies between the four areas.
The four areas are weighted roughly as shown in the diagram above - with the caveat that there are large differences in weighting depending on which keywords you are working with. The more competitive a keyword is, the more demanding it is to work with links and user signals.
Book on search engine optimization
If you want to know more about the different SEO disciplines, download a copy of our new book on search engine optimization. The book gives you a solid insight into the efforts that underlie effective and result-generating search engine optimisation.
The book is over 100 pages long and contains both strategic and operational knowledge about search engine optimisation. It is written for those who want to work with SEO themselves and for those who work with an SEO agency and want to be a more active and critical partner.
Frequently asked questions
What is search engine optimisation?
Search engine optimisation is the process of optimising a website to increase its visibility in search engines. The work is particularly aimed at Google, which is by far the largest search engine in Denmark.
What does search engine optimisation involve?
There are three main areas of work in search engine optimisation: technology (i.e. the technical platform behind your website), content (i.e. the content on your website) and links (i.e. links from other websites to your website).
Why is search engine optimization important?
The answer is simple: According to an analysis by FDIH, 8 out of 10 Danes start a planned purchase by searching for information on Google. Danes search Google over 8 million times - every single day.
What does search engine optimisation cost?
The price of search engine optimisation depends on a number of factors. You can read more in our article on SEO Awards.
How long does search engine optimisation take?
Search engine optimisation is an ongoing process. In our experience, the benefits are greatest if the work is carried out over a period of at least 12 months.
Can I get help with search engine optimisation?
Yes. You can get a free copy of our SEO book. Of course, we can also take care of the effort for you. Contact us for a dialogue about your options.