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Do the terms SEO or website optimization make your head spin? Or are you sitting there trying to figure out, just how does SEO work?
Well, to find out how SEO works, firstly, you need to understand what SEO is.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of optimising your website for a particular group of keywords, to drive free, organic traffic/visitors to it, by appearing high on a search engine’s results page.
A search engine (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing …etc) uses an algorithm to essentially give your website a score (or ranking), for a keyword/keyphrase based on a number of factors.
Factors such as (but not limited to) website quality, relevance, trust, internal optimization, and quality external sites linking to yours. The extent to which SEO is carried out on your website will hugely affect how high you can rank on a search engine’s results page.
The ultimate goal of SEO is to get your website ranked on the 1st page of the search engine, as close to the top position as possible.
But, just how does SEO work?
Search engines operate through two major functions:
Picture the World Wide Web as one huge Metro System with each webpage or document being a stop on the network. Search engines send “bots” to crawl the entire network so that it can determine the quickest “link” between stops (web pages and documents.)
Once this network has been crawled the search engine builds a link structure based on relevance to search queries. It then “indexes” these websites to be later recalled by users searching for information.
The interconnected system is made up of billions of web pages and documents, stored on monstrous data servers in data centers all over the world.
Indexing relevant information for users to access is a mammoth task. Especially because the demand for information is instantaneous with search users.
Just like commuters on a Metro system.
If they can’t get where they want to go. In the shortest time possible. They won’t be happy.
Search engine users can be left dissatisfied if the information they are searching for is not relevant or not accessed quick enough.
This just highlights the importance of SEO.
If a website is poorly optimized for SEO then the search engine bots will ignore that website and find alternative routes around the network.
Resulting in your webpage, site or document not being ranked or indexed.
Search engines operate as answer machines. Their goal is to provide a user with the right answer to the query or question asked, based on relevance and popularity.
But how does SEO work in terms of determining relevance and popularity?
As mentioned above, search engines are engineered to consider hundreds of variables (factors) in their algorithms. Especially, when automatically calculating the popularity and relevance of web pages and documents.
A search engine will assume that the more valuable information on a webpage or document is, then the more popular it is. Therefore, more relevant to what the user is searching for.
Take Google for example.
When a site is determined to be both popular and relevant, with other popular external sites linking to that same content, it will consider that site to have high authority within its niche.
Authority cements trust. And a trustworthy site is more likely to be ranked higher as long as it follows a search engine’s guidelines.
From their Webmasters Guide, Google suggests following a number of best practices when optimizing your website for SEO.
Firstly, you should create the pages on your site primarily for users. Not for search engines.
What does this mean?
Don’t try to deceive search users by presenting answers to queries by providing different content to search engines than you display to your users. This is known as “cloaking.”
This is a major no-no!
Each page should also be accessed easily and reached from at least one text link within the site.
The site should be laid out with a clear hierarchy of text links (a.k.a your site’s navigation). This helps both user accessibility and search engine crawling & indexing.
A website should also contain plenty of information-rich content that has been written clearly and accurately, and that is useful for the end-user. Content should contain <title> elements and accurate alt attributes.
Human-friendly URLs and descriptive keywords should also be used.
And only one URL version should be used to reach a webpage or document. This means, using 301 redirects or the rel=”canonical” attribute where duplicate content exists.
Makes sense? Or does it sound like double-dutch?
Don’t worry! Here at Flare, this is what we consider to be our bread and butter. It’s what we eat, breathe, and dream about.
OK…well maybe not eat but you get the picture!
We specialize in optimizing your site so that search engines can carry out their primary functions of crawling and indexing your site.
We make sure you get on Google’s radar and rank higher than your competition.
If you’d like to start taking your SEO seriously and want to know more, claim your free strategy session with one of our experts today!