What is SEO?

In the 21st century, being a business leader is as much about being present in the digital sphere as it is about meeting in person. As businesses have gone digital, CEOs now have to understand a number of areas that are now affecting their role.

What is SEOFrom the performance of the company website to their own presence on social media, knowing how the digital world works is now a fundamental part of being a leader. One area in particular which CEOs need to be aware of is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – something many business owners won’t have heard of but that has a significant impact on their company’s performance.

What is SEO?

Search engines like Google rely on complex algorithms to provide users with the information they are looking for. There’s now a whole industry built around helping companies to optimise their online presence in order to provide the most relevant information and in turn boost their ranking in Google’s results.

The rules of SEO are changing constantly, with Google releasing updates to its algorithms regularly to further refine the search results. This year alone has seen changes that privilege mobile friendly sites and that benefit websites with quality content on them, along with further revisions designed to improve the quality of the search engine.

While these details aren’t going to affect the day-to-day jobs of CEOs, it’s worth noting that companies with a website that is regularly updated are now seeing the strongest improvement in their performance.

It isn’t just a company website that is affected by SEO either – your personal presence online will be affected by SEO rules. If you have a LinkedIn page or a personal blog then these will be ranking when someone searches for your name through Google. How high up you rank will depend on whether other pages are talking about you, how common your name is and a host of other factors that search engines take into account.

How does SEO affect CEOs?

SEO is clearly important – it affects every search that people undertake online and can have a significant impact on an organisation’s performance.

For a business leader, it’s worth learning how their strategy is affected by SEO and algorithm updates. It’s also important to understand how a company’s competitors are faring in search engine rankings. If your competitors are ranking above you and have a dedicated SEO strategy, it might be worth investing in this yourself.

The level of SEO awareness also differs considerably between industries. This issue was explored in research following Google’s mobile friendly update, conducted by Moovweb. The organisation found that retail companies were the most mobile friendly, with 80 per cent optimising their site for a smaller screen.

Transportation operators were the least likely to optimise their site, reaching slightly over 65 per cent. Knowing how your company compares to industry averages may reveal an opportunity to increase your ranking and stay ahead of your competitors.

It is also worth thinking about your personal presence online and how this might be optimised for SEO.

If you want people to be able to find your LinkedIn page or personal website, think about other words they might be entering along with your name that would direct them to your online presence. This could be the name of your company, the industry you work in or any other words that might direct people to your presence.

Using these keywords when you write blog posts or LinkedIn articles online will help a search engine to find you online and direct people to the right pages, helping you to stand out from competitors.

The way we find individuals and companies as come a long way from alphabetical listings in a phonebook. Business leaders now need to have at least a basic understanding of how SEO affects their presence online, along with a plan to address it in the future.