Search Engine Optimization
Updated February 2019
SEO stands for search engine optimization. The official definition is that SEO “is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP's) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.” (Webopedia)
Search engine optimization is not an exact science as this methodology is constantly changing and evolving. Now, SERP's are more focused on user readability, content relevance, and overall a positive user experience. Keywords are still important as they will help user's find your site. but a well-structured site that provides high-quality content will keep your visitors engaged. This will affect your ranking.
How It Generally Works
Since Google is the most used search engine, I will briefly describe its overall process. Google uses bots to crawl your website and follow its links. As the bots go through your content, they record data (like keywords and if the content up to date) and will organize that information into a search index. Google then will use its algorithms to sort through the billions and billions of web pages to produce the most useful and relevant search results.
Google has over 200 ranking factors, but please note there are no top three ranking factors (See Google: Top Ranking Factors Change Depending on Query) . All of these factors should be carefully considered as Google's Algorithms changes on a daily basis.
These factors are not listed in order of importance, but are all about positively contributing to the user experience. A few include:
- A well-structured, fast loading site
- High quality. topical content
- Short-tail and long-tail keywords
- Links (inbound and outbound)
- Social media integration (indirectly)
What This Means For You
This news may seem confusing or troublesome, but it really shouldn't be. One of the overall objectives of SEO is to provide a positive, engaging experience for your users. It is about knowing your audience (by listening to them). Google is constantly trying to provide you the best search results which is why having relevant, high-quality content is so important.
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