Although most people have an idea what search engine optimization is, there is a very small percentage of people who understand how SEO works. If you are just a casual internet user then that is fine. But if you are an internet marketer or a company that has a business website, it is much more critical that you know how SEO works.
SEO allows people who are searching for specific information to enter a keyword in the search engines and in mere seconds have more information that they can possibly digest. What would have taken hours or days to research before there was an internet can now put reams of information in front of you in the blink of an eye.
The casual internet surfer who is searching for information is oblivious to what the search engines are doing and how pages are ranked when they search for their keyword. The only thing they care about if finding relevant information for the keyword term that they entered.
Internet marketers on the other hand have a much higher stake in this game. Getting their websites to achieve page one ranking for their targeted keywords is the difference between a successful and robust online business or one that provides no meaningful value to the overall business. So, that is why it is extremely important to know how SEO works.
The term SEO means search engine optimization, which is the practice of improving the visibility of a website in internet search engines via “natural”, or organic search results. The definition of natural or organic search means that the ranking websites are listed in the main results of the search engine, not in the paid or pay-per-click areas (which are listed down the right side of the page and sometimes at the very top of the page).
Getting listed in the paid sections is easy just bid enough money per click and you can have all the #1 listings you want. But you better have deep pockets because pay-per-click can get real expensive, real quick. If you want to rank in the main section (natural or organic) then you have to earn those positions.
Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and others regularly send their spiders out to “crawl” the internet. When a website is visited, the spiders analyze the website, index the pages and content, and then follow the links on each page, indexing them as well. Those links which point to other sites are called back links for the website that those links point to. These back links are valuable for helping other pages to rank for their keyword.
When the internet was first forming, it was often very easy to get top search engine rankings. Just put some content on the page, mention your keywords a few times and it was sort of simple to get ranked at the top of search results. In todays more competitive market, obtaining top positions in the organic results is much more difficult. First there is much more competition now that there was before there are over 14 billion websites active on the web. But just as important, the search engines have become much more complex in how they rank pages in the search engines, and this is changing constantly.
So even if you think you understand how SEO works now, it can all change overnight. Just ask some of the internet marketers who got axed by Google with the recent Panda update, which is meant to improve the quality of the results that Google returns when there is a search. Many of these websites went from profitable websites to disappearing from the search engines with one flip of the switch. Staying up to date with the search engines is extremely important.
To naturally rank highly in the search engines, there are numerous factors that you must manage. For example, there are factors such as on page optimization, off page optimization, keyword relevant content, back links. social bookmarking, and much more than just listing a few keywords on your page. This defines the white hat SEO techniques, but there are many internet marketers that employ black hat SEO techniques which can jeopardize their website rankings.
We believe there are four elements of a good SEO process: Keyword research: This is the bedrock of a good SEO campaign. The first component of SEO is selecting the keywords that you want to target. Obviously, the keywords should describe your company, the products and services you sell, and support the overall branding of your company. Sometimes that is easier said than done, and that is why SEO keyword research is so critical.
Competitive analysis: Just finding some good keywords that have good traffic is not good enough. That is where the real work begins. Finding the best keywords and analyzing how to implement them in your SEO campaign is absolutely critical to seeing results. The SEO competitive analysis helps sort out those keywords that are too competitive to pursue and those where first page ranking is achievable.
Content: One of the factors of how SEO works is good keyword relevant content. Without a doubt, content is king on the internet and the more keyword relevant content that you can provide, the better. That includes both on page content and off page content (articles, press releases, social bookmarks, etc.). Learning how to develop and publish good SEO content creation is one of the best methods to improve your search engine rankings.
Building backlinks: This is the secret sauce of SEO. Building a steady stream of back links is critical to achieving AND maintaining top search engine positions. The search engines look across the internet for links from other website pages pointing back to your site. Depending on the quality of those pages, the keyword relevancy of those pages (to your website) and the content relevancy of linking website, the back links can provide high value to your search engine ranking. It is important to understand SEO build backlinks and why they are crucial to SEO success.
The search engines want to return information to the person who entered the search term, that is the value that the search engines provide. Google arguably does a better of this than other search engines and that is why they generate 80%+ of all searches. That is why understanding how SEO works really comes down to understanding how Google works.
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Mano B is the founder and chief content editor for Social SEO Team. He has been involved in execution of marketing campaigns for Small Businesses as well as large enterprises for last 7 years. He founded Social SEO Team to help small businesses avail high quality SEO and Link Building Services for their businesses without having to worry about shedding thousands of dollars.