Search engine optimization, more popularly known as SEO, may be a term you’ve been hearing a lot lately. You know it’s something useful, something that could help the increase traffic to your Website. But what exactly is search engine optimization? Even saying the term itself can be quite daunting.
SEO, simply put, is the process of making small adjustments to your Website in order to increase your brand’s visibility in search engine results. These small changes can be as easy as adding keywords and phrases or creating links. Done correctly, SEO could be the change that brings your Website to the front page on a search engine.
The first thing you need to know is how a search engine works. This process, according to WebConfs, can be broken down into four steps:
Think of a search engine as a spider. It creeps through every single page on the World Wide Web. There is no rhyme or reason for its movement. It follows link after link just to see what is out there, scoping out its surroundings.
These spiders have selective vision though. They can only see text. Any videos or images go unseen unless there are underlying links or descriptions. The spider’s sight brings about a very important point with SEO. With every non-text item, there should be a text portion that goes right along with it. Link images to another page or give captions to videos. More text on your page will allow the spider to figure out what your site is about, giving search engines a better idea of what results to give a searcher.
With all the information the spiders come across, there has to be a way to keep everything organized. Little did you know, these spiders are super smart. They have a great memory where they can compile their findings into a giant database. They use all the text they find to assign the best words and phrases to describe your content, resulting in keywords.
If you want your site to be paired with certain keywords, you need to make sure that is shown through your body copy. Spiders can only index and assign keywords to what they read. Think about your audience. What words are they typing into search engines?
Once the avid search engine user types in a request, the spider goes back into all of its indexed files and compares Websites through those assigned keywords and phrases. Another little tidbit about these spiders is that they are notoriously good at math. They have a system of algorithms that weigh each piece of content differently on every site, enabling them to calculate each site’s relevance to the desired search.
The last step – simply displaying the results. Of course, the most relevant results will appear at the top of the page. This is the goal of any search engine optimizer.
A Fair Warning
Keyword density is a big part of search engine optimization. But don’t get too crazy. Using keywords too much can turn your readers off to your content. Your words should still flow naturally. It shouldn’t be obvious that you are trying to fit as many possible keywords into your copy.
Like I said before, spiders are smart. They will quickly catch onto keyword abusers and kick you out of the entire search engine system. Once you’re out, it’s very hard to get back in. So again, don’t try to cheat the system. You will lose.
Search engine optimization is an important tool for you and your brand. Keyword density is not the only technique in your SEO arsenal. As soon as you master the necessary tactics, SEO can become one of your brand’s greatest assets. Keep an eye out for future posts on how to refine those search engine optimization strategies.