The What, How and Why of SEO

An introduction to what SEO is, how it can help your business, why it’s important to you, and some best practices to learn.

When you perform a search in a search engine, you get results that tend to be very relevant to your search and you’re given lots of information. They are ordered as to what’s the most appropriate, popular, and relevant search information.Over the years, search results have improved immensely.

So what’s the process search engines use to calculate relevancy and to figure out which result to put at the top? Let’s figure out how do they do this.

The basic nature of search

The first thing search engines do in order to find web pages on the Internet is to use automated programs – also called bots. The search engines crawl the web and look at a seed set of websites and then crawl out from those sites looking at all the pages those websites link to. They use those links to find the structure of the Internet and discover all the pages in the web.

After they crawl the web, they build an index of all these pages and store all the documents. They sort the pages by the terms and phrases that appear on them or what they think is relevant to them.

Once they’ve got all these indexes of billions of docs and pages, they calculate through query-independent metrics. They also take into account a lot of things like personalization, location, etc. which boils down to the concept of Page rank.

Keyword demand

What people type into the search box and why it’s so important to marketers and businesses is a lot more interesting the workings of a search engine.

According to Google, most people search for common keywords which equate to 30% of the total searches in a month. The other 70% are what many internet marketers refer to as ‘long tail‘ keywords.

Search results that are a product of algorithmic process (the crawling, indexing, page rank, etc.) are called organic results.

The other type of search results that appear in your search engines are called pay-per-click (PPC). These paid search result are done by advertisers making a bid through programs like Google Adwords. These results garner about 10-15% of all the clicks in a common search result page. While the organic results tend to get 85-90% of all the clicks.

There’s a ton of traffic going through the organic search results and the only way to influence them is by SEO.

Basic SEO Best Practices

SEO is a very simple process but one that is challenging to execute well. Here’s the basics of how to do SEO and get your pages ranking as high as they possibly can.

Content and Accessibility

Text content, images, video, or audio with text attributes are essential to your web pages for the spiders to crawl. It’s important to make great quality content accessible to the search engines.

Keyword Research and Targeting

It’s a challenge because not only are you making your content accessible but it must be targeting keywords that people are actually searching for.

It’s important to use tools, such as the Google Keyword Tool or other third party tools, to assist you in keyword research. When you input keywords and some expansions of them, it will show how many times people are looking for that keyword/s and target your keywords. One thing to be aware of is that the numbers change, so make sure you regularly update your information as trends change and people do searches differently.

Link Popularity

Once you got the content that you need and made it accessible to search engine bots, done your keyword research and put those words on the pages on the right kinds of ways, you’re ready to delve on link popularity.

Never build links to a page until you have it optimised for the keywords you are targeting.

Search results get competitive as there are a lot of people trying to rank for the same keywords. If you have more people linking to you as a good resource, with the right kind of keywords used in linking, you’ll most likely rank well than your competitors.

Social Signals

Think about how you’re going to make your content and website relevant and valuable to social platforms. Getting signals from social media platforms are a wise investment these days. Search engines have become more open in treating this kind of data as relevant – Google has it’s own social network via Google+ and Facebook and Twitter continue to lead the social media sphere.

Now you have the basics you need to implement it for every page of your web site.