The 3 Letters You Need to Know
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Posted by: Kelly Wright, ZK Designs
Everyone has gone to their computer and typed a phrase into Google's search box only to have numerous results displayed on pages. The term Google it is something we are familiar with, but what does that mean and how did these results show up?
This can all be explained in three little letters S E O. SEO stands for "search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from listings on search engines. All major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have such results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.
SEO is a technique which helps search engines find and rank your site higher than the millions of other sites in response to a search query. SEO thus helps you get traffic from search engines.
How Search Engines Work
First, search engines crawl the Web to see what is there. This task is performed by a piece of software, called a crawler or a spider (or Googlebot, as is the case with Google). Spiders follow links from one page to another and index everything they find on their way. Having in mind the number of pages on the Web (over 20 billion), it is impossible for a spider to visit a site daily so make sure your page is set up correctly the first time.
After a page is crawled, the next step is to index its content. The indexed page is stored in a giant database, from where it can later be retrieved. Essentially, the process of indexing is identifying the words and expressions that best describe the page and assigning the page to particular keywords.
When a search request comes, the search engine processes it – i.e. it compares what was typed into the search box with the indexed pages in the database. Algorithms are used to calculate the relevancy of the pages in the database to your search request and render results. The algorithms use factors like keyword density (how many keywords appear on your page and how many times they appear), and how many other web pages link to your page. also known as external links.
The keywords are set out on a web page in the text that you read on the page but the spiders are searching for those same keywords in the metadata or metatag information. This area is hidden in the code that is used to make the web page. Each metatag will have a description and keyword area. The description is about 75 characters and gives a keyword rich synopsis of your web page. The keyword metatag has 10- 20 keywords that you believe people will use to search for your site.
How to maximize SEO
So in simple terms SEO involves writing pages that use keywords, words people use in searches, and securing links from other pages to show how important your page is compared to others. Think of it this way. A link works like a vote and the more votes you have the better chance you have of being on page one.
Writing content that uses words and phrases used by people who search for your product or service and then building links to your pages to show they are important is a first step in SEO. The secret is to keep doing it!
Create a great site, provide something people need and are looking for and share your site with other great sites and you'll quickly start to see your website traffic increase.
Kelly Wright is founder of ZK Designs, which specializes in providing small businesses with a professional,
affordable, fully-functional web presence that harnesses the power of
search engines and social networking.