This post is meant to serve as a basic introduction to Search Engine Optimization.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
When relating to Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (often abbreviated as SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic (non-paid) search engine results.
SEO incorporates both the technical and creative elements required to improve search engine rankings and drive traffic. There are several different aspects to SEO that each carry a level of importance. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of structuring your website in a way that search engines understand. Other times, SEO is focused content and how that content is delivered. SEO isn't just about building search engine-friendly websites—it's also about making your site better for humans too.
How Does SEO Work??
Search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) have crawlers that go out and gather all of the information they can find on the Internet. These crawlers bring back this information and build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match the data with your search queries.
These algorithms are not available to the public and are constantly evolving. There are many factors that go into a search engine's algorithm. Here are a few of these factors, as according to industry experts:
- Backlinks (Backlinks were abused in the early 2000's via link farms, hidden links, and links that had nothing to do with the page they were coming from. Today the focus is not on quantity, but on legitimate links from quality sources.)
- Link Score
- Anchor text relevance
- Topic/theme/keyword usage
- Content length
- Technical SEO
- User experience
- Click-through rate
Why does my website need SEO?
Most website traffic is driven by major commercial search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Even though social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are still the leading methods for most Internet users.
Search queries—the words that users type into the search box—carry extraordinary value.
Through a user's search queries, search engines are able to provide targeted traffic—people looking exactly for what you have to offer.
If search engines can't find your website, or add your content to their indexes, you miss out on opportunities to drive traffic to your website. Search engine traffic can make or break a company's online success. Targeted traffic to a website provides revenue and exposure like no other channel of marketing. Just like any other marketing channel, it needs to be constantly updated and fine-tuned.
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO incorporates both the technical and creative elements required to improve search engine rankings and drive traffic.