What Is Search Engine Optimization?

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is a powerful marketing tool that can help people to build up a steady and sustainable stream of visitors to their websites. SEO is used to help pages rank higher in the Search Engine Results Pages for whatever keywords or phrases the webmaster is looking to attract visitors for.
There are a few different approaches to SEO. It can be done by making on-site improvements, posting content to the site, or advertising off the site. On-site SEO involves things like tidying up your HTML, making the site load more quickly, making the site more mobile friendly, and using tweaks to metadata in order to make the site easier for search engines to understand.

Off-site SEO includes link building and content marketing – techniques where you find other websites that are related to yours, and get them to share content (infographics, blog posts, or links in existing text) that links to your site. The more (relevant) sites you have linking to yours, the better it is for SEO because this makes your site look more authoritative, reputable, and established.

Google is the biggest player in the search space, but the goals of all the major search engines are the same – to provide high quality, accurate answers to common questions. This means that when someone searches for something, the site that is presented must be accurate, current, and closely related to the content. Google uses a number of factors to determine this. It indexes pages regularly and offers better rankings for sites that are updated regularly. It gives ‘extra credit’ to sites that are very old (domain names that have been registered for several years), and also to sites that are linked to by other old and popular sites.

Search algorithms are always being modified and updated, and Google is starting to pay attention to things like the factual accuracy of pages. If a site gets a fact – such as the date of a major war, or the speed of light – wrong, then that would, in theory, penalize the site compared to others that are offering information about that topic that is empirically correct. Of course, this can’t be done with subjective topics, but it is something that is useful because sites that are usually factually accurate are more likely to offer balanced information about more subjective topics too.

SEO requires a balanced approach, with both link building and on-site work to ensure best results. The mobilegeddon update ensured that if your site is not mobile-friendly it would drop out of the listings for mobile searches, for example. Slow loading, hard to navigate sites will not rank well. The search bots are better at reading ‘confusing’ HTML and large amounts of javascript now than they were a few years ago, but it’s still important that you try to get your site to load quickly and that you work within the parameters of good web design – it helps your visitors as much as it helps the search engines.