If you are marketing online, you should know that search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge part of being successful, seeing as the majority of most web sites’ traffic comes from major commercial search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Bing). SEO is made up of many aspects, and it’s important to understand them all in order to correctly implement it into your marketing strategies. This three-part blog was created in hopes of making the concept a little easier to grasp for beginners, while giving a general SEO overview and how to use it. Part 1 will focus on what SEO is, what it entails, how search engines work and why you need SEO.
What It Is
You hear it all the time, and you know it has to do with getting better results on search engines, but what exactly is search engine optimization? It is the intentional practice of tweaking and boosting one’s sites and posts with the objective of gaining visitors via major search engines. This involves managing the structure of your site, its wording and its links to other sites (more info on these things to come in next post), all in a way that not only makes it more likely to show up on a search engine, but also makes your site more appealing to the people visiting it as well.
How Search Engines Work
Search engines work by putting together a network of links, whether they be an actual website, a PDF or a JPG. These links provide the search engines’ automation services (called “crawlers” or “spiders”) a way to reach all of these documents throughout the web. Once these different web pages are found by the search engine, they store them in huge hard drives according to how they decipher the code of the pages. These pages are stored for the purpose of being recalled in future searches in data centers that they have constructed around the world, consisting of many machines that process the large amounts of information as quickly as possible in order to provide people with the instant results that they need when conducting a search.
When someone conducts their search online, it is the search engine’s job to provide links that are relevant or important to the search in addition to ranking them in order of what will be most useful or relevant to the searcher. Engineers who have constructed these search engines have devised a way for these engines to decipher what should be considered most useful, including many factors. Presently, many search engines determine the most popular sites to be the most important. Here you can find a list of many of the other search engine ranking factors.
Why You Need SEO
As we mentioned in the introduction, the majority of a web site’s traffic comes from the major search engines- Google, Yahoo! and Bing. While this does not mean that they are the only source of traffic, it does mean that they provide a huge chunk of it and should not be ignored. In addition to driving the majority of traffic, search engines offer another advantage- when your website shows up on a search engine, it is because the searcher is already looking for what you provide, meaning a transaction is more likely to occur. This should make you want to do whatever you can to make sure that your website shows up near the top of those search engines.
Search engines are always looking at ways to improve their system in order to give consumers the best possible results, but they can only do so much to get you to show up. While consciously wording and structuring your site in a way that will make it likely to show up on search engines can make a world of difference, the bad news is if you do not make the effort or you just don’t know how, your website faces the danger of getting buried between thousands among thousands of results. We don’t have to tell you that if people can’t find you, you aren’t going to receive more traffic.
The good news is, it’s fairly easy to get a basic understanding of what it takes to improve your SEO. Depending on the size of your company/website, you might want to outsource the job of SEO optimization to an expert, or you may realize after reading all of our blogs that you may be able to handle it on your own. Stay tuned to read about important SEO concepts, such as a website’s structure, developing keywords, including links, tools you can use for SEO and how you can measure the success of your efforts.