The internet is a vast forum for the exchange of ideas. So vast, in fact, that it would take longer than the length of all of the world’s combined human history to read everything.

The rise and continued perfecting of search engines, like Bing and Google, have helped to tame this massive expanse, making it easier to not only find the best site related to what you’re looking for, but to discover other, potentially great ones as well. The complicated systems of numbers and code backing these site’s search algorithms are extremely sophisticated, designed to find content on the web worthy of people’s attention as quickly and accurately as possible.

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What SEO Does

Optimizing content for web searches is essentially the process of bumping up your website in terms of organic search results; the results that don’t come from buying your way into prominence. It’s a process that involves both human and digital inputs in considering how a search engine works, what search terms are trending and how well different keywords work on different search engines. Using this information, content is written or edited to reflect these terms, helping them to appear higher in search results.

Beyond the writing of content, optimization also involves the linking of your site to other sites. Essentially, the more popular your site is among other sites, the more likely it is to be ranked highly.

Other than advertising, optimization is one of the most effective online marketing tactics. It actually uses the rules and algorithms of the sole gateway to discovering businesses and makes them appear much higher. This is important primarily because once you slip past 10th in search results rankings your chances of getting clicked on are less than 2 percent.

The SEO Basics

A number of different attributes on a page determine whether or not a page will be ranked highly in search results. Determining relevancy depends on factors such as

  • Content: Is your text using the keywords properly? Do the headlines of your articles make sense? If not, you might be out of luck here. The method in which your content is created can decide the fate of a specific page on your site. Not only do sentences have to be short and articulate, but they need to have an optimum quantity of keywords and information to be effective.
  • Performance: Search engines are not going to give the top search result to a site that doesn’t function properly. If you have too many plugins active on your site or it simply doesn’t load or operate quickly enough, you’re out of luck.
  • Prominence: Having other sites linking back to yours is a great way to get a bump in search results. This shows your site as a source of exceptional information, which would give it more influence in the algorithmic workings of the machine.
  • Usability: If people want to stick around on your site and don’t bounce away to another, you’ve got a much better chance in sticking around the top ten.

Essentially, these algorithms are looking for quality sites with quality content. As there’s no one really working to critique each individual site, companies rely on algorithms to determine the best of the best. Though these can be manipulated, a number of things could go wrong that could throw your site to the throes of anonymity. These include

  • Stuffing Content With Keywords: Algorithms update constantly with an optimum number of keywords to look for in content. If you use a certain phrase too many times, or too little, you’ll likely see a drop in prominence.
  • Buying Linkbacks: Think of linking from other sites like references on a resume. You’re going to get a lot more help from an executive at Goldman-Sachs than the McDonalds manager you worked under in college. The same principle applies with websites on search engines. Only quality links apply.

Optimized sites are meant to conquer the complexities of algorithmic systems that can change around 1.5 times a day, like Google’s. While the goal of optimization is primarily to help websites more effectively market themselves and increase their visibility, systems are changing constantly, and other sites may adapt to this quicker, pushing your business down in search engine results.

Though content and keywords are important, the most vital aspect of optimizing a website ultimately comes down to the designer. By creating a responsive and easy-to-use environment for the site’s visitors, a good web designer can push their site up the rankings based on exceptional user experience alone.

A well-structured site is your main key to search engine success, similar to how a race car is only as fast as the mechanics beneath the hood. Everything from the plugins to what content gets crawled on a site could determine a site’s legitimacy as positive or not, no matter how easy to use or informative you think it is. The machine builds the course. The designer designs a vehicle to weather the twists and turns.

Differences Among Systems Within SEO

Different search engines have different methods of analyzing web content. Some place different significance in prominent areas like headlines and subtitles. Others may analyze every word on the page. Some cross-analyze with hundreds of other sites. Others, thousands.

Because the means of succeeding in search results on different platforms varies widely, sites need to be optimized to suit the requirements of each to be fully effective. Keyword frequencies need to be compared and contrasted, and other factors like mobile browsing need to be taken into consideration as well.

Optimizing your site for a search engine is a very time-consuming process, one requiring constant research and updates on the subject. With the board changing every day, the game could prove to be hard to play.

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