SEO for Beginners

SEO Part 1: What is SEO anyway? Am I On Google?

Published 18 Jun, 2021
Google search

What is SEO anyway?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation – the process of improving the quality and quantity of visits (traffic) to a website generated from search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! We’ll look at how this is achieved in later articles.

There are many different ways that somebody might find your website:

  • Direct traffic (such as from a link to your site on someone else’s website, or a link in an email, Facebook post etc.)
  • Paid traffic (where you pay for a business listing in something like Yellow Pages, or a Facebook Ad, or Google Ad).
  • Organic (unpaid) traffic (from a Google search or Bing or Yahoo! Search, where your website shows up in the normal results)

What you are trying to achieve with SEO is a higher volume and quality of organic traffic.

Is my site listed on any search engines?

The first thing to check is whether or not your site is already listed on the major search engines. You might have heard this referred to as checking if you are in the search engine’s index. The index is basically a list of all the websites that the search engine knows about.

It’s very simple to find this out. Just go to each of the main search engines:

In the search box, type “site:” followed by your website address. For instance if you type in in Google, you get these results.

Try it now for your own site.

What if your site isn’t listed?

Although search engines crawl billions of pages, it’s inevitable that some sites will be missed. Crawling is the process of looking for new or updated web pages and indexing them. Search engines perform this task automatically using software called “crawlers”, “spiders” or “robots”. They find sites by following links, by reading sitemaps (special files that contain a list of pages within a website), and by many other means.

Google says that when crawlers miss a site, it’s frequently for one of the following reasons:

  • The site isn’t well connected from other sites on the web
  • You’ve just launched a new site and Google hasn’t had time to crawl it yet
  • The design of the site makes it difficult for Google to crawl its content effectively
  • Google received an error when trying to crawl your site
  • Your site deliberately blocks Google from crawling the site

The same applies to any search engine of course.

Getting listed on the main search engines (if they haven’t found your site yet and you want them to hurry up) involves registering for their respective webmaster tools.

Google now calls theirs “Search Console” (it used to be called Webmaster Tools). You can register here:

Microsoft calls theirs Bing Webmaster Tools and you can register here:

Once you’ve verified that your site is listed with the main search engines it’s time to start working out how you push your site up the search results to the front page.

I’ll be covering that in further articles, so stay tuned.