In today’s online world, making sure your content gets viewed or ranked on the first page of search engines such as Google or Bing is important. The reason being is because those search engines are a means by which to bring in organic traffic to websites, blogs, or any other medium you’re employing to market your product. So, what is SEO exactly, why is it important, and how does it work?
Great questions! Let’s make it a bit more clear.
Why Is SEO Important?
Many of us, if we have a question, immediately head on over to our laptops or mobile devices and begin typing in what it is that we have a question on, hoping that Google will provide some insight. Most of us, including myself, click in on the first few links the search yields. Usually, if you don’t find what you are looking for, you might scroll down the page a bit or even click to the second page until you find the proper information that best aligns. Thus, we’ve come to rely on the internet as a means to answer all the questions we have in our daily lives.
At this very moment, SEO is at work. It’s making sure you’re getting the best results from that typed question. So, if your content is not optimized for your user, then you could be missing out on visibility, and other key leads to your offered product online.
We can all agree that everyone wants eyes on their content. The more traffic that you can siphon in, the more opportunity it can present to your business. Knowing how SEO works are going to be essential to grabbing the attention that you need on your content, so that you can yield those rewards.
What Is SEO?
First, let’s dive into what SEO stands for, in case you didn’t know. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a common strategy used by digital marketers to enhance the chances of content or websites getting ranked out of a plethora of other content that is competing for prime real-estate — the first page on Google. You’re now probably asking, “How can I achieve this?” There are a lot of different tactics out there that people leverage, however that section will be broken down in a later blog. For now, we are just going to discuss how it all works.
It’s important to first understand the intricacies of SEO and establish a firm foundation, so let’s take a look under the hood.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engines are wonderful tools at the tip of your fingers where you can retrieve information on just about anything you have a question about. Search engines alone like Google, don’t automatically know how content gets ranked. Fortunately, they’ve developed these little helpers to categorize all of this information. These helpers are called web crawlers or spiders whose sole job is to retrieve all of this information and put it into an index, in other words, a database or storage facility.
Next, algorithms sift through this index or database using mathematical calculations that are programed to preform a certain task. Much like creating an instruction manual, you’re giving these algorithms a guide to follow to organize this large index. Of course, you can program these algorithms in anyway that you like. This means algorithms can and do change throughout time.
What Are Web Crawlers?
As the name suggests, crawlers sort through all of the content on the internet both old and new. These crawlers are designed to rank content based on how friendly it is to a user visiting that page. If it meets the criteria of being considered quality content, then it increases your chance of getting more eyes on that specific page.
A good example to think about is going furniture shopping. You’re looking for a new couch for an apartment you just moved into. You want to make sure it meets your basic expectations, such as color, comfort, size, and overall style. So you set out and drive to the nearest furniture store to find that perfect couch. Once there, you might see dozens of styles to choose from and thats where you come in and sort through all of this information. Right then are there you’re acting like a crawler, categorizing all of those couches that you see. Basically, that is how crawlers work. They are screening all of that content and ranking it based on what they are programmed to think will be the best fit for the type of audience searching.
Some of the things you can expect a crawler to rank you on are responsive design, page speed, and backlinks. Google has over 200 ranking factors used in their algorithms. No one knows exactly what all of these are, though people have a pretty good idea of some of them, based on research. But as I mentioned above, we will get to that in a later blog.
It’s important to note that crawlers are not perfect and therefore have limitations. You see, crawlers don’t have the capability of observing things visually like humans do, meaning they can’t see video or that beautiful image a designer took the time to create. Instead, they run through the actual codebase to determine the quality. It’s like panning for gold. Crawlers are looking for those few nuggets of gold it deems worthy of showing off and placing right in front of its audience.
And there you have it, a brief understanding of what SEO is and how it works. Having a thorough comprehension of SEO is something everyone who is creating content for the world wide web should be familiar with. When you know how something works you are better able to achieve your desired results.
Now that you know a bit more about SEO, the next blog will dive into how you can better optimize your content using various SEO strategies.
As ever, QuarkWorks is available to help with any software application project — web, mobile, and more! If you are interested in our services you can check out our website. We would love to answer any questions you have! Just reach out to us on our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.