SEO is an acronym which stands for Search Engine Optimization. Oxford Languages defines search engine optimization as, “The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” There are better ways to describe search engine optimization in easier to understand terms.
Websites are meant to share information. In order to share a website’s information, that website must first be able to be found. Because the vast majority of people utilize a search engine (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) to find information, it becomes important that your website is able to be returned as a search result – this is where SEO comes into play.
Search engine optimization is the process of creating and structuring a webpage in a way which helps the search engines to better understand the topic and content of that particular webpage. When a search engine understands the topic and content it can more easily determine if that page is relevant to what someone has typed into the search bar. If your page is relevant, then you have the opportunity to show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search engine optimization is critically important to any business desiring to have an online presence, and we can all likely agree that we live in an age where having a presence online is crucial for the success of most businesses. But, why is SEO so critically important?
Most products and services are discovered online by either clicking on an organic link (the product of good SEO) or an advertisement. Advertisements can also be important and certainly have their place, but SEO has some big advantages – here are a few of texamples:
Before we talk about how SEO works, it is important to understand that search engines are businesses, and they are looking to make money just like any other business. They make their money by selling advertising space, and with more people using their search engine they are able to sell more advertising space. Therefore, a search engine company’s goal is to get as many people as possible to utilize them rather than their competitors – they accomplish this by focusing on returning the most relevant and user friendly results. At Recon Marketing, we like to focus on optimizing for Google because 87.35% of all online searches are done using Google.
Search engine optimization begins with the creation of content on a website and making sure that content is visible to the search engines. Now that the content is available, the search engines are going to send out digital search engine spiders (sometimes called crawlers) to scan through the content of your website. These spiders are “crawling” your content, formatting elements, title tags, etc. to better understand what exactly that particular page on your website is about. That information is then stored in an index along with every page of every other website visible to the search engines (Google’s webpage index is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size and contains hundreds of billions of webpages). Now that the search engine has that information it is ready for the next part. The search…
When you type a search phrase (search query) into the search bar on Google and click the “Google Search” button, the magic happens. Google’s algorithms read what you typed into the search bar and immediately scan through the database of everything that has been indexed. Everything which Google believes you could be looking for is then ranked from most relevant to least relevant and delivered to you on the search engine results page (SERP). My most recent Google search returned “About 1,140,000,000 results” in 0.60 seconds – a lot happens behind the scenes in the blink of an eye. If you read that and thought to yourself, “Wow! How does Google rank more than 1.1 billion results? What makes one webpage ‘more relevant’ than another?” then you raise a great question.
Here is a high-level list of Google’s biggest ranking factors: