SEO Overview for Beginners
Search Engine Optimization can drive more, high-quality customers to your business at lower cost over time than any other means you’ve used. But there are no automated solutions.
Let’s step back and examine the basics of SEO.
Google Dominates, But Opportunities Abound
We really don’t need to go over the search engines as most everyone has used them, often extensively. Google dominates the landscape overwhelmingly, but Bing has very high traffic as well. Most companies with limited budgets focus almost entirely on Google to build their traffic, but sometimes there are missed opportunities on other search engines. When Google decides to make changes, businesses with too much dependency can have real problems.
Takeaway: Web traffic diversity is the wise choice.
How Search Engines See The World
Search engines are simply software, and their designers have created methods of harvesting information from web pages by following links in a very efficient way using a tool called a crawler. These crawlers are like super fast web browsers (like the one you’re using now) without any mouse, keyboard or screen. They follow links on the page and then hit their virtual “back” button to go back and forth until your web site has been added to their index. Take Away: If your site cannot be crawled well, it won’t be indexed well.
Search Engines Disect Your Web Pages
Search engines don’t just copy your web pages into their index, they also gather meta data about the page, such as how old it is, when it last changed, and what the topic of the page is (according to yet another algorithm.) It will also measure things like load time and review your Title tag and page structure.
Take Away: You must structure your website so on-page attributes contribute to your success coherently.
Search Engines Evaluate The Neighborhood Your Site Lives In, and what the neighbors say about you in Social Networks.
Looking on a given page gives a lot of information, but looking beyond those boundaries is what really matters. Search engines look at all of the links coming to and from your site too. They refer to their index to see how important the links to your site are, and how topically relevant. Using the vast database, your site is split into its individual attributes and compared to the attributes of millions of other sites. How many things are tested and evaluated? A lot. Google, for example, uses over 200 triggers to decide where to put your site in its index.
Take Away: The quality of links to and from your site are critically important to ranking well in search engines.
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