What Is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process of improving positions in organic (non-paid) search results in search engines. The higher the website is, the more people see it.
How Search Engines Work?
Google “crawls” billions of pages, both new and updated, on the web, using automated programs called bots or spiders. These bots follow links on the pages and then index them into Google’s database, which runs into trillions of pages and is more than 100,000,000 gigabytes in size.
Search algorithms then sift through the data on the index and rank the pages almost instantaneously based on over 200 signals, according to Google.
These algorithms are Google’s secret sauce, and they determine which pages will be displayed for a particular query (i.e. “ranking”).
At the time of this writing, Google’s infrastructure handles 63,075 searches every second, and this volume will increase by the time you finish reading this sentence. While you don’t need to be an expert in algorithms, it’s critical to understand how Google works. When diagnosing issues with a website, often times it comes back to issues with crawling and indexing.
What Ranks A Website?
No one except a select few inside Google has answers to that billion dollar question. But we can make educated guesses about the relative impact of over 200 signals to rank pages.
To name a few:
Number of “links” pointing to your website.
Google “crawls” websites through “links” – they count these links like votes in a popularity contest. A “link” is when another website talks about yours and “links” to you as attribution. There’s dozens of factors that go into links, but generally speaking, if your website attracts a lot of links from high quality sites, you will rank higher.
Keywords in important places on important pages.
It’s important to have your keywords in titles, URLs, subheadings and body text. While you don’t want to over do it, these keywords help Google associate your pages with searcher’s queries.
Content quality and depth.
Google looks heavily at the quality of your content when deciding if you’re worthy of being ranked. You want to make sure you’re covering topics to the best of your ability and staying away from “thin” content that does not provide any value to searchers.
Website speed and page load times.
All things being equal, a page that loads faster will be ranked higher than pages that take more time to load.
In 2017 Google announced that the number of searchers on mobile phones surpassed that of desktop. They’ve also stated repeatedly that sites that fail to optimize for mobile will receive decreased rankings.
These signals basically ensure that the users gets the most useful answer to her search query with the least amount of friction. Google’s stated mission has been to provide value to users, and this also lies at the core of great SEO.
To help you get started with your first SEO campaign why not check our list of 10 Free SEO Tools that will help you in search.