How Does SEO Work?

Get the basics before you get started

You might know SEO stands for search engine optimization. You might have a basic understanding of what search engine marketing does for your business; such as, working to get the first page of search results to help gain more exposure for your business online. But, do you know what you can specifically do to rank higher in search results, or how SEO actually works? That’s ok. Many business owners are not up to date on actual search marketing tactics. That’s ok! You’re not supposed to be. Leave the technical stuff to the experts, and the right expert will do whatever it takes to help guide you through the what, the when, and the why of each SEO task.

Let’s go over a few basics of SEO.

How Does SEO Work?

Search engine history.

Search engines, like Google, have to index and rank hundreds of millions of web pages in order to anticipate a website’s relevance and properly rank the website by key search terms users may use to find similar counter on the Internet.

At the dawn of the Internet, search engines did not exist. As a result, we had no way to know what webpages existed unless we were given the link or followed a link found on a website we were familiar with. Even then, web designers took advantage of creating online directories to promote certain websites they were aware of and including favorite links on your own website was considered a best practice.

Soon, these original online directories were exploited and overrun with links that were no longer relevant, were outdated, and in several cases no longer existed. From this chaos, search engines were born, some of which you may remember (Ask Jeeves or IWon.com, for example).

As websites grew in popularity, search engines worked to improve their search algorithms. For many, MSN or Yahoo are the first major search sites known. Today, Bing comes as a search engine standard on Microsoft based phones or tablets, yet Google still takes main stage as a near worldwide standard.

How search engine decide to rank your page.

Search engines like Google, index and rank hundreds of millions of pages with ease. Their original search algorithm relied almost entirely on following one page to the next through links found on every website. Today, Google sends out “spiders” or “bots” referred to as web crawlers. These spider bots crawl websites in order to collect data about the site.

Bots gather all kinds of data by analyzing a website’s code, the viewable content on the page, image tags, headers, and linked context. These are just a few examples of how and what spiders analyze about your website.

As bots crawl, they send information back to the search engine index. Search engines then use this data to analyze and determine how relevant a page may be to a search term.

How SEO has changed over time.

Similar to the start of Internet time, when search algorithms were first brought about, people learned to take advantage of the algorithms by keyword stuffing pages. As actual Internet users clicked around the Internet, seeing webpages that bore no real results to their Internet searches, search engines began fine tuning their algorithms. Why? Search engines want to return the very best results so more Internet users will visit sites like Google.com in order to find what they are looking for. Yet, every Internet search costs Google, Bing, or Yahoo! money. That is why you start to see advertisements at the top and sides of search results. This is their way of helping to pay for the cost of each search term. However, in truth, by streamlining the search process and returning increasingly better results, sites like Google are also saving themselves a significant amount of money. Getting the results you’re looking for on the first try reduces the number of search terms you go through. In the end, everyone wins.

SEO Best Practices:

1. Make it as easy as possible for bots to read and understand your website with clean code and relevant links from other websites or online directories.

2. Make sure each web page has a singular focus without repeating content. Ensure that each page’s content is unique and associates the right kinds of keywords that you expect to rank for.

3. Making your site as user-friendly as possible helps Internet users to spend more time on your site, clicking and viewing your content. Bots try to emulate the ideal user’s behavior. If you can work to keep a user on your website, search algorithms will pick up on this information and credit your website accordingly.

4. Work to build good links from relative, third-party websites. List your business on accredited online directories, including .gov, .edu, and .org domains as often as you can. Ranking to websites that are high quality and rank well will in turn help your webpages to rank higher.

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