Common Sense SEO Introduction10 Sep 2010
SEO is a term that can be easily grasped but rarely fully understood. In essence Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way of improving your website’s ranking and thus your visibility online through a natural or organic form and the loosely related Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a way of paying for this kind of visibility. SEO can include more than just web pages and can be targeted today towards promoting and increasing the popularity of Video, Images as well as Local Information from a natural unpaid methods. If you own a website or are trying to start one then the very fundamental point to understand is that to successfully promote your website you must consider and understand how Search Engines work, what people are looking for and what they are actually typing into Google or Bing and how you can more closely link that to your company’s product or service.
Google isn’t the only search engine but my focus will be mostly on how they run their search system because it is essentially the industry standard across the internet for most search engines. The most important thing to remember about all of this is that there is no magical formula for bettering your site’s rankings and no matter how much you pay someone or what kind of promises they make, they cannot increase your rankings by some special mysterious way. What it really takes is an understanding of the technology and tools available and a willingness to implement it. The rules from Google change all the time which means what someone tells you one year may not work the following year, this is because Google is constantly changing their algorithms in order to keep up with all the fraud out there that tries to “game” the system. As things change and we learn about them we will update you as we do all of our former clients and will try to explain them in a way that will be easy to understand. So let me go over a few things and then we can get started.
Google works by running software called spiders or crawlers out onto the internet to automatically catalog as many websites as possible as quickly as possible. Picture someone who spends their entire day going online from website to website saving a copy of every page, every link in every page and keeping a comprehensive list of what’s linked to what and how many links a site gets. That’s essentially what Google does but instead of hiring someone to do this like it’s rival Yahoo use to in the 90’s, Google has very special software that does this automatically across millions of servers spread out throughout the world. This is Google’s best kept secret and being able to filter and sort through that data is what makes their search capabilities so good. The concept of SEO is simple, when you launch your site Google will catalog it completely using all the methods explained above and it will also keep track of people going to your site from Google.
They also search your site for links to other sites and will search other sites for links to your site, the more links you have to your site the more important Google thinks your site is on the internet so it gives you a higher level of importance. Some types of links don’t count and linking from certain websites don’t count because people have used these types and sites to try and game the system and give them as many links as possible. The more important the website is that is linking to your site the higher your site’s level of importance goes up. Cataloging the world’s websites isn’t the only Ace up Google’s sleeve, using a technology that exists on most internet browsers called server sessions or cookies, most sites are able to keep track of traffic going from one site to another. Google takes a look at the cookie data on your browser and essentially figures out where you have been as well as where you are going and adds all of this information to better their search data.
Google has also focused on something called hyper local which means if I search for Pizza from San Diego, instead of giving me the most popular pizza shop in New York with the highest ratings on Google, they will actually give you the most accurate local pizza place based on your location so it does a better job looking for the kind of things that you search for on a regular basis in your home town. With their new Google Instant feature, if you are logged into Google when you start your search and you look for a key word, your results may be completely different then those of your spouse or even those of your family on the other side of the country depending on what you have clicked on over time. Remember that if you are logged on Google saves everything you search for forever, this way it’s system can always provide you with a more narrowed down view of your interests.
If you search without being logged into Google, it still saves your data forever but it becomes anonymous usage data that it will continue to use to make it’s systems better. They still have data from when they’re very first test search so it gives you an idea of why their system works so well. The most important thing to take out of all of this is that no one can ever promise that if you pay them a few thousand they will get you on the top of search queries, because of hyper local and the way Google’s algorithm is structured, what you see may not be what others see so it’s pointless to do it through artificial means. There are a slew of factors that Google accounts for when ranking you but the most important one to remember are those links I told you about earlier. I will be covering all of this in the next few days cover the topics of Creating Content, Optimization, Promotion, Conversion and Analysis and break these important factors down for you piece by piece.