What Is SEO And How Does It Work
One of the best ways to increase web traffic is through what’s called search engine optimization or SEO for short. Our goal here is to give you a basic overview of how search engines work so you can better understand what search engine optimization or SEO is all about. As of today there are over 130 million registered websites out there on the internet, and to sort through all of it, most of us rely on search engines to find what we want and these search engines have become so good that over 90% of people using the internet rely on them to find products, services, and information. There are many good search engines out there but about 83% of people worldwide use Google, so that’s what we’ll cover here, just keep in mind the concepts we’re discussing apply to all the other search engines as well. When you search for something with Google you get back a results page and there’s lots of stuff on it. This page shows you how many websites Google found that is probably the most relevant to what you’re looking for. Here, companies can pay Google to place ads for when people search for particular terms but this is the section most people skim over. What most people care about are the actual organic results which are under the paid ads and these websites are most likely to contain what you’re looking for. Now here’s the important part that most people just don’t know, over 94% of people that use Google only click results on this first page if they don’t find what they’re looking for they usually don’t bother clicking on subsequent result pages instead they typically prefer to just adjust their search terms and start from scratch and of those people who do click on that first page most only click in what sometimes referred to as the golden triangle or top three or so results. In fact, about 63% of people just click the top 3 results, this is why optimizing your website for search engines or doing SEO is so important. When people search for something that’s relevant to them and they see your website in their search results they’re going to click and visit your page and these aren’t just any visitors, these are people that are looking for exactly what you offer. So if anyone, they’re the most likely to convert into customers, subscribers, etc. but if your website isn’t showing up towards the top 3 results or so or if it isn’t even on the first page it’s almost like your website doesn’t exist. No one can even find it.
Now, let’s say for example we search for Las Vegas sandals and we got back about eleven million website results it’s not exactly a small number. Have you ever wondered why some websites show up on this first page and others are stuck way down at the bottom of the pile? Well, a site’s position in search results is determined by what’s referred to as “PageRank” and every website has a ranking for particular search terms or keywords. In the beginning, the first search engines worked by tracking all the words on web pages so if you searched for Las Vegas sandals, you’d get back a list of websites containing those three keywords and the websites that had those words most often were ranked higher and they showed up towards the top of results pages. Well in 1996 two Stanford Ph.D. students notice while they were researching academic papers that sources that contained a lot of keywords didn’t necessarily mean that they were more relevant. What mattered most was whether those papers were cited often by other papers so they applied this citation concept to web search. They suggested that websites that were backlinked to, that is to say, they were referred to more often by other websites were more likely to be relevant. That’s how Google was born and search engines today all follow this model. They still look at your website’s keywords but they then rank your site’s relevance on the number and quality of backlinks to it from other websites. So think of it like this, keywords let Google see your site and know what it’s about. Backlinks determine how much Google trusts your site to be relevant. So keywords are important because they tell Google what you’re site is about but backlinks help move your website up the food chain. That’s why the search results you see are called organic or natural results, they’re constantly changing based on what people actually do out there on the web.
There are two aspects to how search engines find and rank pages. So there are two corresponding components to SEO first is the on-site component. This is where you ensure your site is full of keywords that are relevant to what your site’s about. So for example, if you sell sandals in Las Vegas, you want to make sure relevant keywords are on your site like Las Vegas sandals, Las Vegas flip-flops, leather sandals, things like that. The second component of SEO is called off-site SEO. This is where you work to create backlinks to your website that originate from other sources. Links to your site can be created using articles, social media, blog posts, discussion boards, and so on. But keep this in mind, the more influential or legitimate the website is that links back to you, the more effect that backlink from that site is going to have on your search result ranking.
So that’s it, SEO is super important because it helps you move to the top of relevant search results and since almost everyone relies heavily on search engines to find anything online, SEO is the most effective way to increase free organic traffic to your website. Good SEO takes time, so the sooner you start the sooner you move up the results ladder. To learn more about SEO please feel free to give us a call or email us, we have SEO specialists standing by to help you.