Many people still ask me the question “What is SEO and why we need to do it?”. There are many bloggers and webmasters, who, in spite of knowing the Web for years, are still unaware of the most basic concepts of SEO. So, in this article, we are going to talk about the most fundamental aspects of SEO, and will try to find answers of three simple yet intriguing questions related to SEO.
1) What is SEO?
2) What the search engines actually do?
3) Why we need to do SEO?
Technically speaking, SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is the science of making websites search engine friendly. Today, search engines are very smart and with the help of complex algorithms, they find answers to any question or queries we ask them. But you can contradict me by saying that if the search engines are so smart, then why we need to do SEO? They should be smart enough to find the answers themselves, then why should we take efforts to help them find answers.
Yes, they are smart enough to find answers themselves. But the story is a bit more then what we think. So sit back, and read on.
How the Search Engines Work?
To learn SEO, it is very important at the first instant, to understand how the search engines work. So, let us take a few minutes and learn how actually the search engines function. If you can understand this thing, then you will start with a solid base.
The search engines primarily, has two basic things to do: Crawling and Providing Answers.
Crawling or Indexing
The search engines have spiders or bots ( you can consider then as automated programs), which crawl through the entire web. They index each and every single webpage, images, video, documents or any other information they find important. Each and every webpage is connected by links, technically speaking, hyperlinks. These hyperlinks act as bridges, that allows either visitors or crawlers or both to pass through them. We can also put restrictions to these links, if we want to stop crawlers from passing and only want to allow the human visitors to pass through. But we are not going deep into links today, but this is important to better understand crawling.
So the search engine crawlers, crawl through each and every single webpage so as to gather as much information as possible, and build a huge index of these information’s. Whenever we ask for a question or query, the search engine uses this huge index to provide us with the relevant results.
Providing Answers to Queries
The second thing that the search engines do is, provide answers to the questions or queries that we ask them. Though this job seems to be pretty simple, but it is actually not. This could have been very simple, if the number of answers to any questions were very few. But the real scenario is completely different. There are huge number of answers or queries possible to ay query or question.
Having said that, the work of the search engines becomes very difficult. They have to sort these answers in terms of their RELEVANCY and POPULARITY.
While sorting these numerous answers, the search engines first consider the relevency of a certain result with respect to a particular query.
Suppose, you ask for “cheapest iPhone deals” and the search engine shows you results for “justin bieber latest albums”. Then, is it relevant at all? But thankfully the search engine are not stupid enough to make this kinda foolish mistakes. But still relevency is a very important factor to look at. Even if you search for “cheapest iPhone deals”, the search engine has too many answers to this question. But which answers is the most relevant one? Or which answer is the best quality answer?
To provide its users with the most high quality and relevant answers, the search engines take RELEVANCY into account.
Relevancy itself, is not enough to sort out the best possible results or answers to the users. So the search engines uses the metric of POPULARITY. The idea is very simple. The search engines assume that the the websites which are most popular or loyal or trustworthy, provide the best answers. And this assumption has proved to be significantly correct for so many years.
Now, the question is, how do you become popular in the eyes of the search engines? How do you make your site a trust worthy source? The only possible way is by gaining votes. Now, you will ask me, how do I get these votes and who will vote for me? And more importantly, what these votes actually are?
The idea is simple again, these votes are links. Not those links, that you give from your website. But the ones that you earn from other websites. So the idea here is, simply, to gain links from other websites who themselves, are trustworthy and very popular.
Why We Need To Do SEO?
Now, as we have understood a bit about how the search engines actually work. Now lets get into the details of why we actually need to do SEO? You can tell me that, if the search engines are so smart and so intelligent in finding answers, then why can’t they do it themselves. Why we need to make our sites so called, “search engine friendly” to get visible in the search results?
The answer to this question is simple enough. There are many answers that the search engine have for a particular query. They is definitely smart enough to find the answers itself, but the process is sometimes time consuming. It may take a long time for the serach engines to actually understand the your website is an important website, popular enough, and you need exposure.
So, as SEOs it is our job or duty, to optimize our site for better and faster results. There are many factors that the search engines consider while ranking a particular website. So if you can know at least some of them, then you can easily optimize your site to rank better in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). So, this is what SEO is.
It is practically impossible for any one to actually know what’s actually written in the search engine algorithms. But there is nothing to get afraid of. Research, experiment, and exhaustive testing for years, have concluded many factors that govern the majority of SEO. And if we can take the right path, success is not far away.
Optimization Techniques Of SEO
As we have understood what SEO is, so lets learn some of the optimization techniques in brief. SEO, basically comprises of two parts. One is the On-page optimization and the other is the Off-page optimization. In this section, we will go briefly about these two topics, what they are and how to get hold of them? I am not moving into deep details on it, as I will write dedicated articles on these topics soon.
On-page optimization, typically, deals with those optimization’s that you need to do in your website structure or content. The first thing about on-page optimization, is Keyword Research. This is quite simple. You simply, need to find the words or the phrase that people commonly are looking for. Now, as you have found those words that maximum of the people are looking for, you can optimize them to get ranked for.
There are other things that you need to consider, like you need to maintain a certain Keyword Density will writing any article. Too much or too less density of keywords, both will not give you your desired results. You need to take care of the keyword being used in the title of pages and the important heading, this will help the serach engines understand what the topics you are writing about.
You need to understand one very simple thing, that the the search engine does not manually select web pages and rank them in the search results page. They use automated programs or algorithms, which perform complex calculation to rank websites.
These primarily deals, with getting backlinks. Dont get confused now, backlinks are the links or votes that we have just discussed a few paragraphs before. Off-page optimization is more important than on-page optimization and need the most attention of any SEO.
Mainly focus, on getting high quality backlinks. Dont forget, that Quality is much more than Quantity here. So hundreds or thousands of links, will not be helpful here. You need to focus on getting links that are from sources which are the most popular, and trust worthy sources. More and more popular the sources are, the better will be your link profile.
So, now this article now needs to be put to an end. I think you have got your answers to the three questions that I mentioned at the beginning of the article – What is SEO, how the search engines work and why we need to do SEO? Probably, much more than these three questions. We are not going to dig more deep into SEO anymore. I will write more article on this subject to make you learn SEO in the simplest way possible.
Have a nice time! Expecting some true feedback’s from my readers. See you in the comments section!
NOTE: If you have at least 5 minutes of spare time, I would like you to see this awesome comic book explanation of SEO by “SEOMAN“. Its not Superman or Batman, its “SEOMAN“. Have a great experience learning, what is seo in a funny and amusing way!