In today’s competitive arena of internet marketing, creating a unique product or website has now become the bare minimum required to build a successful business endeavor. With thousands of websites created on a daily basis, the next step towards a successful business model requires you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. So how does one stand out amongst a vast ocean of faceless web pages? The answer is Search Engine Optimization. This series of articles will focus on optimization for Google’s search index as currently Google accounts for 60% of the world market share. Furthermore optimizing well for Google will help you with the other search engines, as they more or less follow the same grading guidelines. So let’s begin.
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) refers to tweaking the nuts and bolts of your web content to ensure the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) like your website and give it preferential placing in their respective indexes. After all, what good is having the perfect product or writing the most compelling article if no one sees it? This is where SEO knowledge and the importance of its implementation come into play.
For those new to SEO the thought of tackling this marketing behemoth may seem initially daunting. However anyone with some basic computer knowledge and a little bit of time can learn to optimize their web content and begin to reap the rewards of increased visibility and web traffic. That being said before diving in to the specifics of SEO, any newbie to this art form needs to first understand how the major search engines work.
If you ever wondered how Google spits out all those perfectly relevant listings when you enter a search query, rest assured the results are not random. And no, Google has not somehow attached secret electrodes to your brain. It has however managed to create a sophisticated algorithm that matches your keywords with relevant content better than any other company out there. So how exactly does Google do this?
First we have to understand that when we visit Google we are not searching “the web”. Rather we are searching Google’s massive index of pages that it has stored on roughly half a million servers across the globe. These servers are updated with information it receives from “web crawlers” (little robots) that Google sends out all over the web to find and download content back to its servers. So every submitted search is actually a search from these servers rather than the World Wide Web.
The goal of any search engine is to provide its users with the most relevant search results. Search engines do this by attempting to show the most authoritative content first and in descending order thereafter. But how does Google weed through the billions of pages across the web and determine the most authoritative content?
As stated before Google uses a complicated algorithm (read grading scale) based on over 200 factors to evaluate the content and authority of your page. Some of these factors are in your control and some unfortunately are not. The most dominant factors to the algorithm include:
– Content Quality (Relevance)
– Keywords and use of
– Amount of Links/Websites Pointing to your site
– Structure of your website (Ease of Navigation, URLs, Subject Folders)
– Age of your Website
Hopefully it’s clear by now that search engine optimization is really the practice of doing the most you can do to score well on the algorithm. The higher you score, the higher your pages will rank. And higher page rankings mean more traffic, and more traffic means more sales and profits.