What Is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a technique that enables search engines to find and rank your website higher in organic search listings than all the other millions of websites, based on a user’s query. When a user types in a query the search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo!) runs that query through its index of over billions of pages, to find ones that are most relevant to the keywords. The purpose of the search engine is to give the user an answer to their question, based on relevance, on the search engine results page (SERP).
Like it, or not, we are living in a Google world. Google owns 65% of all search, with Yahoo!, Bing and all the others spitting the rest. The second biggest search platform is YouTube – owned by Google. Are you seeing a pattern here? Search engines are the new Yellow Pages. When was the last time you opened a phone book? Over 80% of all web sites are found through search. If you are not search engine optimizing your website, you should not even bother having one.
To achieve higher ranking, your pages must be optimized, utilizing every possible factor that the search engines may be looking for. The inherent problem here is that Google has over 200 different factors in their algorithm, and the weight of each of those factors changes about every 16 hours. That means there are over 450 changes every year that Google is using to rank your page, and they protect the algorithm like Coke and KFC protect their recipes. So, an SEO analyst is always trying to hit a moving target that continually changes.
Optimization breaks a webpage down to its base, analyzing every bit of code. What a user sees and what a search engine spider sees, are two totally different things. A search engine spider is a program that crawls the web 24/7 searching out and indexing new or updated webpages. When it comes upon a domain, it crawls the entire website, potentially indexing every page on that site. Since we don’t know exactly what the search engines are looking for, we have to make all the pages the “least imperfect”, based on the factors we do know, and what has worked before.
Titles, descriptions, keywords, heading tags, inbound links, outbound links, linking text, and every single word on the page are just a few of the things that are important to search engines. If there are over 200 factors in the algorithm and, for example, we know 40 of those factors, and we do those 40 things to their fullest potential, we have a good chance of ranking higher than the next guy. Your webpage doesn’t have to be perfect – because we don’t know what “perfect” is – it just has to be better than the next guy.
The most important feature that an SEO analyst utilizes is keywords. Search engine optimization begins with extensive keyword research. You have to determine what are the most relevant keywords with regard to your web sites theme. Keyword analysis is accomplished by using tools that give specific metrics to discover what search terms people use to find your type of site. A keyword can be one word or multiple words which constitute the keyword phrase. Search engines base there results on relevancy to a keyword query.
Over the past few years users have gone away from the broad, one-word query. 58% of all queries are three or more words and 87% of all clicks are organic, not paid. Pay per click is another tool that is utilized in search engine marketing. However, it is not considered organic.
Search engines are in business for two things; first, of course, to make money, secondly, they want to give the most relevant answer to a user’s question. That is why your website must be authoritative, an expert in its theme. It must link to other experts, and other experts must link to it. That will establish that it is an authority in the field.
Google has something called PageRank. PageRank is part of Google’s search algorithm, which assigns numerical weight to a set of hyper-linked documents in order to measure their importance. The range is from 0 to 10, 10 being the highest quality. The more higher-quality pages that link to your site, the more authoritative it makes you. However, one PageRank 5 inbound (back link) is exponentially much more valuable than five PageRank 1 back links. It shows that a “more expert” site feels there is beneficial reason to link to you.
Impact Of Search On Businesses
Over the past 3 years more than 100 times more sites are optimized. That demonstrates that if you are not doing search engine optimization, you are not ranking… period. Due to Universal search, which can combine organic, images, shopping, videos and more in a SERP, your organic listing must rank in the top 3-4 results to get any traffic. If you’re not in the top 5-15 results, you are nonexistent. Most searchers don’t go below the fold (bottom of the browser window and virtually nobody goes to the second results page.
Blackhat Vs. Whitehat
Just like the old west; Blackhat is bad, Whitehat is good. Blackhat optimizers attempt to deceive the search engines by exploiting holes in their protection mechanisms. This is considered spam. If, more like when, the search engine catches you, you will be penalized. They will not only remove the page with the infractions; but the entire domain. They don’t tell you you’ve done something wrong, you will just see that all your traffic has ceased, over night.
Whitehat is simply, “playing by the rules” that the search engines have set up. You must do things more correctly than the competition, so that your site naturally fits the search engine algorithm.