Search engine optimization (also known as SEO) is a method used to increase rankings in search engine results .
Whenever you do a query (search) through a search engine such as Google it brings back a list of results based on what the search engine believes you are searching for.
This list is then sorted by order of importance, relevance, popularity and authority.
The search engine then presents these findings to you in what it believes is most relevant to your search.
The higher the website is listed the more relevant Google believes it is and the more likely you are to go to that website to research, purchase or just browse what you are looking for because the top results are considered most relevant and people doing the searches tend to trust the search engines findings.
This is why it is important for businesses that want rank well to use search engine optimization as effectively as possible.
As of this writing it is estimated that Google accounts for over 80% of searches done on the internet.
Of these searches being placed #1 in Google’s search engine accounts for an average of 42% of the traffic, #2 generates about 12%, and #3 receives around 8%.
The rest is spread through the remaining websites.
Side note: Most sites on the 2nd page of Google are never clicked on.
So given these statistics you can see how important search engine optimization can be to your business.
How search engines find your page
Search engines use a method called crawling. Crawling is done using software code which we call spiders (or Google bots).
These spiders crawl through your website and search through your information and links.
After it finishes gathering information it indexes your pages into a large database which it can use to later recall when a search is done for information that is relevant to your website or topic and places you in the search engine based on importance, relevance, popularity, and authority.
Different search engines weigh certain aspects of a site differently such as keywords, links and content, (which I will explain next) and can account for why you may be ranked in a different position on different search engines.
Three important methods of search engine optimization are Keyword Research, Link Building and content marketing
Keyword research is a method that is used to find out what people are searching for and typing into their search engines.
By understand what it is people are looking for a website can optimize their posts, products, reviews, etc. to have those specific words or terms on their website.
When Google does a search for that specific word or term it looks for websites that have those words in it as this can show that the webpage is at least somewhat relevant to the topic typed in the search engine.
While keyword research plays an important role in SEO it does not mean that you will place at the top of the search engine just because you placed those keywords on your site.
Google (as well as other search engines) also looks into how authoritative your site is which is where link building and content marketing come in.
It is also possible that you might even be able to hurt your ranking or get your site banned from the search engines by using irrelevant key words which are used to drive traffic to your site but isn’t relevant to your topic and/or overusing keywords that the search engine feels is unnatural.
Sharing is caring as the motto goes. Link building occurs when an individual links to your site from another page or website.
Typically when someone finds your information useful or entertaining they want to share that with others.
For example let’s say someone found a topic on search engine optimization that they liked so much they decided to put a link to it on their website or face book page.
Google sees that it has been linked to and considers that link a vote that the website or topic is popular to other people, which helps the website appear more relevant and popular to the search engines when a search is done in the future for that topic.
Some websites have thousands of links so to further distinguish how important your link is Google looks at the authority (quality) of the page that has linked to you as well as how many links (quantity) it has and whether or not the site it is relevant to your topic.
The higher the quality and quantity of links your site contains the more relevant Google feels your site is and the higher you are likely to place in the search engines.
Now before you try linking to every possible website you can find search engines do have a way of distinguishing good links from bad links. Sites that pose a risk to people doing searches can lower a websites authority.
Websites that have viruses and can cause vulnerabilities, websites that use deceptive methods to attract readers and buyers that search engines look down upon, and link farms (websites that send out or give you thousands of links to your website, usually for a fee) which Google and other search engines don’t like are all considered bad links.
Content Marketing is the relevant, informative, engaging and entertaining content that fills your page.
It’s what people come for whether they are doing research, looking for a story, a product review, or just want to be entertained.
It’s the information they are seeking, that you provide to them that makes them want to come back and read more, share it with their friends and family, and preach to the world how good your stuff is.
Providing information is great, but if people get lost or aren’t engaged and entertained they will leave your site. Good bye, so long, so gone.
Your content should be relevant, easy to read, and entertaining.
It can be hard to entertain when your topic is complex but keep it as simple as possible and add a bit of personality whenever you can. People will appreciate it.
The downside to content marketing is if it’s done poorly you won’t get any readers, you won’t get any links which means it won’t help you look relevant and most likely the keywords won’t be used properly or considered important to the search engines.
So what are your views on search engine optimization? What tips can you share and if you’re using it now, how has it helped you in your business?
This post is part of the seo school series.