What is SEO and How It Works? (Part 1)

What is SEO and how it works?

If you’ve ever wondered ‘What is SEO and how it works?’, then this short series of articles will help you get the answers you’re looking for.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation (or search engine optimization if you’re from the US).

It’s simply the practice of optimising content to be discovered through a search engine’s organic search results.

Think of a search engine as a huge filing system in a library, which has billions of books with hundreds of trillions of pages, and let’s say you wanted to find information on ‘how to train your puppy’.

The search engine will then look through all of its pages in its index and send you the ones it thinks has the most relevant results.

The biggest and most used search engine is Google, but there are lots of other search engines you can optimise your content for as well.

YouTube, for example, is also a search engine, and YouTube SEO is the process of optimising your content for YouTube’s organic search results to get more people to watch your videos.

Amazon SEO is the same thing, but you’re optimising your product pages to get free organic traffic to them.

And Google SEO is the process of optimising your website to rank on Google to drive more traffic to your web pages.

So they give priority in their top stories widget from reputable news sources like the BBC. They also understand that if you’re looking for something like “best microphones,” then you likely want fresh information since new models and manufacturers are always bringing out new models.

And you can identify this right in Google’s search results seeing as all top-ranking pages have the current year in the title.

Most, if not all of the things we’ve covered here can be summed up as the SEO definition often referred to as “search intent,” which basically means the reason behind a searcher’s query.

This is arguably one of the most important things to master as an SEO. If you’re unable to match the searcher’s intent, in terms of content type and format, your chances of ranking are slim.

But there are additional layers to understand how Google works, which we’ll look at next.

What is search engine optimization? (US spelling)

Search engines use sophisticated algorithms and technology to return the most relevant results for any given query.

So how does SEO work on Google? Nobody knows exactly how these algorithms work (and don’t believe anyone who tells you they do!), but we do have clues, particularly for Google, so we can make some informed changes when optimising our content.

So why should you incorporate SEO into your marketing strategy? Well, there are three major benefits of search engine optimisation that attracts marketers from all over the world.

1 – Traffic from your SEO efforts are free.

2 – Your traffic will be consistent once you’re ranking high.

3 – You have the opportunity to reach massive audiences that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

Now, since every search engine has unique algorithms, we won’t be able to cover how each of them works, so for this article, we’re going to focus on how Google works to rank pages, since it’s the largest search engine and the one that we have the most information on.

What is search engine optimisation? (UK spelling)

So how does Google SEO work? Well, there are two main terms you need to understand first: crawling and indexing.

To actually get information, Google uses crawlers, also known as spiders, which gather publicly available information from all over the web.

The spiders start with a list of website locations (URLs), which they may have previously been to before. These are called seeds.

They then follow any links on the pages and crawl to those newly discovered pages. This process goes on and on, allowing them to build a huge index of information.

They then take all of this data back to Google’s servers to be added to what they call the ‘search index’, where their algorithms get to work by including things like keywords and content freshness to categorise queries, so they can return the most relevant results to searchers in an instant.

But Google isn’t just about matching keywords within a search query. They’ve created something called the ‘Knowledge Graph’ which according to Google: “goes beyond keyword matching to better understand the people, places and things you care about.”

We’ll look at some examples of this later, but in part two of this series, How Does SEO Work On Google, we’ll dig into the details of exactly how their search algorithm works and discover how does SEO work with the Google search engine.

Do you want more website traffic, enquiries, leads and customers for your business, but just want someone to do it all for you?

No problem. Just contact me and I’ll show you how we can help, leaving you to focus on growing your business.

We guarantee to get you on page 1 of Google and offer a great ROI. We’re SEO professionals with over 20 years of experience and offer a money-back guarantee and no contracts. We also provide a free SEO audit of your website so you can try us out first at no risk to yourself.

Our only goal is your success, so get in touch with me if you want us on your team.

Peter Skuse Plymouth SEO Services

Pete Skuse (The SEO Guy)
Plymouth SEO Services – Let’s put your website to work for your business

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