What Is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization – SEO – is considered a more technical part of internet marketing as it does help promoting sites but it also demands some technical skills, at least basic HTML knowledge. SEO is also been referred to as SEO copywriting as the majority of the used methods in promoting the websites within the search engines are dealing with text. SEO is the activity of website optimization making the sites search engine-friendly and consequently obtaining a higher position within the search results.


The fact is that even if you do all what is needed in SEO that still doesn’t guarantee a top position in the search results, however if you fail to follow some simple rules it is going to be remarked. You will be much more comfortable with your results and more satisfied if you set reasonable goals, such as get listed in the top 30 search results in Google for a specific keyword instead of grabbing the top position for ten keywords in five different search engine results.

SEO will help you driving more traffic to a particular website, but it is still not advertising. You can be included if you want in paid search results for some specific keywords but the main idea in SEO techniques is to obtain a top position due to the relevancy of a specific search term and not because you have paid for it.

SEO activity might a one hour job or a never-ending one. In some cases you only need some general SEO for a very good placement in search engines, for instance when you have limited competition for singular keywords. In such case, even if you are not doing much you will still have a fairly good placement. However, most frequently, for a top placement you need to pay extra attention to SEO requiring a considerable amount of time and effort. Even if you are just performing some simple SEO techniques it is still very important to be aware of how search engines work and what aspect are really essential in SEO.

How Search Engines Work

First thing you have to know about SEO is the fact search engines are not humans and there is a huge difference how humans and search engines view the web pages. Search engine are text-driven not like humans. Search engines are not in any case some kind of intelligent beings capable of appreciating a great design or seeing the sounds and movement in a video. Search engines crawl the internet for some specific site pieces – mostly text – to learn what the site is all about. This explanation need to be extended as search engines are executing various activities to deliver the search results, such as crawling, processing, indexing, retrieving and calculating relevancy.

Initially, search engines crawl the internet to locate what is out there. The crawling is executed by a crawler, also known as spider – for instance Googlebot at Google. Spiders are following links from page to page and index all they found. Keep in mind that with the billions and billions websites on the internet it is not possible for the spider to daily visit a site checking for possible modifications on it. Spiders might not visit your site for a couple of month, thus your SEO efforts within this period will have no noticeable effect. As there is nothing you could do about it, keep working on your site as results will appear sooner or later.

However, you can check what a spider sees on your site. Remember, spiders are not humans and can’t see images; JavaScript, Flash movies, frames, directories or password protected pages, so it is advisable to run the Spider Simulator to check which one of them are visible by the spiders. If they can’t be seen by the spiders, they will not be indexed or processed and thus will not exist for search engines.

Next step after your site is crawled is to index the site’s content. The indexed site will be stored in an enormous database for a later retrieval. By indexing your site, words and expressions are identified that best describe it and the site is assigned to specific keywords. Humans are just not capable of processing so many information but search engines can handle it easily in most cases. They might no able to properly identify the meaning of the site but you can give them a helping hand optimizing it. Thus, they will be able to adequately classify your sites and obtaining a higher search result position.

As a search request comes in it is processed by the search engine, meaning the search sequence is compared with the indexed pages from the database. As it highly probable that numerous pages contain the search sequence, the search engine will determine the relevancy of every indexed page to the search sequence.

Several algorithms are available to determine relevancy, each of them weighting differently for usual factors such as metatags, links and keyword density. This is the reason for different search results from different search engines for the same search sequence. Additionally, all the main search engines – Google, Yahoo or MSN – are regularly modifying their algorithms. Therefore, if you want to maintain your placement you also need to adjust your site according to these changes. This is one the main reasons why SEO requires a continuous effort, if you are aiming to the top.

The final step of the search engine’s activity is the retrieval of the results. The retrieval is nothing more than their display in the browser, meaning the numerous pages with the search results listed in the order of the most relevant to the least relevant websites.

Differences Between the Major Search Engines

Even though all search engines have the same main principles of operations, there are slight differences between them resulting in major changes in the search results relevancy. Different things are important for different search engines. For instance, there were some jokes among SEO experts that the Yahoo algorithms were purposely made exactly opposite to the Google algorithms. Although this might be true in some way, the fact is that the main search engines prefer different things and if you aiming a top placement at more than one of them, you have to cautiously optimize your website.

There are several such examples, for instance, for MSN and Yahoo the keywords on the page are highly important, while Google has a great-great consideration for links. In the same time, Google websites are just like wines, the older the better. On the other hand, Yahoo has no preferences for older sites and domains. This is the explanation why you need much more time for your sites to obtain a higher rank in Google rather than in Yahoo.

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