Introduction to SEO
What is SEO?
The process of increasing your rankings within the search engine results for your desired keywords.
Timeline of Major and Notable Search Engines:
- Archie – 1990
- Excite – 1993
- Alta Vista – 1994
- Lycos – 1994
- WebCrawler – 1994
- Yahoo! Directory – 1994
- Hotbot – 1996
- Google – 1996
- Ask.com (Ask Jeeves) – 1997
- MSN Search / Bing – 1998
- Yahoo Search Engine – 2002
In the early days of the Internet, most search engines built their indexes through user submissions, or through meta data found on websites. The early technology was primitive and made it easy for spammers to manipulate search rankings. 1996 was a game-changing year for the Internet when Google was founded.
Sample of techniques used: link exchanges, link farms, directory submissions, article marketing, etc..
How Today’s Search Engines Work
Unlike search engines of the past, today’s search engines are much more sophisticated. They use software programs called “bots” or “robots” to continuously crawl the World Wide Web and find new pages. As these new pages are discovered, they get added to the search engine database, also called the Index. From this Index is where the data is pulled to provide the search engine results that you see when you run a search on Google or Bing. All of this calculating and processing of data occurs in milli-seconds to provide you with the most relevant list of resources known to man.
According to Google, they use over 200 different factors to determine how a website ranks within the search results.
How Does SEO Work?
Since the start of the SEO industry, people in the industry have kept up-to-date and learned about the best practices of search engine ranking. With this accumulated knowledge, we can put into practice the theory that will help sites rank better. These techniques include link building, content keywords, page titles, meta tags, and more. By utilizing these effective techniques, you’re essentially improving your odds of showing up higher in the search results.
But, keep in mind that your strategy has to change as the search engine algorithms change. Because if you don’t, you could be using techniques that no longer work and could actually be harmful to your site if Google deems it to be against their guidelines. SEO as we know it is more of an art, and not really a science. There isn’t some magic formula that can predict how your site will rank. And, to add to the complexity, search results may vary from one person’s computer to the next. This is due to things like personal search and geo-targeting.
Two Types of SEO Factors:
• On-site or on-page: These are things you can control directly, such as keywords, meta data, and alt tags that you may include on your site.
• Off-site or off-page: These are all the factors that happen outside of your website. These are usually 3rd party links to your site and social media mentions about your business.
What is the purpose of SEO?
To drive targeted traffic to your website through organic search engine rankings. Studies have shown that organic search engine traffic leads to the highest conversion rates.
How to do SEO
You can do SEO on your own, but it requires a lot of learning and hands-on experience. The other option would be to hire an SEO expert, but that requires a budget ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars or more. It all depends on the company and services needed.
This was just a brief overview of SEO. If you would like more in-depth information, check out these SEO resources. It’s important to have solid foundational knowledge before moving onto more advanced topics.