What is SEO?

WHAT IS SEO – search engine optimisation is the mythology that give your website more visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO principles contain both technical and creative elements that are normally determined by the major search engine providers such as google. these providers normally provide guidelines that when followed will improve your websites rankings which will in turn drive traffic, increase awareness in the respective search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the world wide web. In most cases SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is well structured in a way that search engines can understand.

Search Engine Optimisation

The name provides the definition – optimising websites to become highly visible on search engine in the organic results pages. You can think of the Internet as one enormous center filled with millions of venues and establishments that is continuously expanding. How does an individual find what he or she needs?  By using a search engine.

The user types in a word or a phrase and the search engine gives back a list of web pages whose content is related to the search term. That list or search result page is called ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ because a site gets included and ranked based on criteria that aim towards providing users the most relevant and useful sources.

Understanding how this evaluation and sorting process works is important for website owners. The more visible your site is on a search engine results page, the more likely your targeted audience is going to find it, visit it, and hopefully partake of whatever product, service, activity or information you are offering.

What are Google, Bing and Yahoo search engine providers trying to achieve?

These are three of the biggest search engine providers on the Internet. Although they provide differing variations of search services, they all perform a basic function. These search engines catalogue and index everything on the web. The main purpose of this large-scale operation is to give online users the ability to quickly and accurately find what they need.

They are positioned as mediators between user and webmasters. The standards and criteria they set, that websites follow to increase search visibility, can eventually lead to a general improvement of content on the web. This in turn leads to a broad improvement of user online experience.

Why do the search engines algorithms change?

Complex mathematical algorithms are what search engines use to best approximate what a user is seeking online. There are a multitude of signals or factors computed. Search engines do not disclose their algorithms to the public in order to maintain an even playing field and keep their results pages organic.

In the early days of the web, some webmasters and SEO companies were able to partially decipher some of the formulas and artificially influenced their ranking in the results pages. While this may have temporarily increased traffic for certain sites, user search experience was degraded. Search engines respond to such events by periodically changing and improving their algorithms. Their main concern is to keep providing relevant, accurate and useful results to users.

Another driver for change is the continuously changing nature of the web. The rise of social media for example made such a huge impact that search engines had to modify their algorithms to include this new phenomenon.

What are SEO methods? How do they work?

Optimisation involves implementing various enhancements that touch on a website’s design, code, content, and links to other sites. Elements of these various aspects are the factors that a search engine algorithm computes.

In terms of content for example, how keywords are used is a primary element. The initial stages of a website’s development usually involve keyword research – figuring out what words or phrases are most likely to be used by your target audience and at the same time most relevant and descriptive of the site’s general content.

As the content is being crafted, the important questions would then be: Are the keywords prominently positioned (i.e. do they appear on the headline)? How often do they appear in the main body? These are some of the keyword-related points considered when a search engine indexes a web page. SEO implementations may require revising current content or adding new more targeted ones.

The whole set of SEO practices and techniques can be divided into two general categories: on site and off site optimisations.

On site SEO

Any enhancements on website components that aim towards increasing search visibility can be considered on site optimisation. Besides building and revising content, this could involve restructuring a site’s pages, modifying some of its HTML and other code to ease indexing, putting up more internal links or improving meta tags and descriptions.

Off site SEO

Off site search engine optimisation methods meanwhile focus more on building external backlinks and promoting the site in other online venues. Search engines assume that the more incoming links a site has, the more likely it contains valuable information for users.

Promoting a site usually involves distributing its content in other sites and this is where social media plays a crucial role. Building a well-optimised site is just the first step. Afterwards you’ll need to spread the word in other places such as forums, blogs, media-sharing sites and social networking sites.

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