When you see SEO, that means Search Engine Optimization. It involves making your website search engine friendly, and making it rank well on organic search results(sometimes referred to as natural search results).
Goal Of SEO
The ultimate goal is to get onto the first page of natural (organic) search results, preferably at the very top position.
All the things that you can do to get those high rankings you are seeking for your web pages is what SEO is all about.
Those just getting going in these matters may be wondering why their website should be optimized for search engines, and really what these search engines are all about. Let us then begin with talk about search engines.
What Exactly Are Search Engines?
We enter into the search engine exactly what it is we are looking for, and it will bring up to us results with related information presented in files, images or web pages.
The search engines must first have to have the information in their data bases, in order to produce such results. Programs automatically browsing web pages on the internet is how this information is gathered.
These programs are called blots, spiders or web crawlers; web pages are retrieved by them and through the use of algorithms their content is analyzed.
Then, in the index database of the search engine, the data gets stored. When a web search is conducted by us, the search engine seeks information in its index database which best matches what it is we are seeking, and then on the search engine results page (SERPs), they are displayed.
The Three Major Search Engines
There are three major search engines and they are Bing, Yahoo! and Google.
The largest market share belongs to Google, and at the end of 2010, according to StatCounter Global Stats, that stood at 91%. Google Inc., founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, own the Google search engine. In 2004, Google Inc. which was first incorporated in 1998, became a public corporation.
Next in the ranking, with about a market share of 4% at the end of 2010, is Yahoo!, which Yahoo Inc. owns. David Filo and Jerry Yang founded Yahoo in 1994 and then incorporated the next year, 1995.
Yahoo! and Microsoft, in 2009, made the announcement that Yahoo! Search would be powered by Bing. In Canada and the United States, the transition to the Bing search engine is now completed.
Bing, which is owned by Microsoft, was formerly known as MSN Search, Windows Live Search and Live Search. In 2009, it was first launched, and by the end of 2010 held about a 3% share, as per the report issued by StatCounter Global Stats. It is expected that by the end of 2012, the transition to the Bing search engines by Yahoo! Search will be completed.
The Beginnings of SEO
They began to submit to search engines URLs so that their pages could be indexed and crawled. It was in 1997 that the term Search Engine Optimization was first used, on the Multimedia Marketing Group website.
It was on keyword meta tags and keyword density that the early search engines relied, and so manipulating rankings was simple; One simply had to put into the mega tags the targeted keywords, and then many times into the content of webpages insert those keywords to optimize them for the search engines.
Positive user experience did not result from this, so different measures were sought out to try and avoid search engine manipulations that only considered for their rankings on-page factors.
By 2004, to reduce the impact of manipulation, search engines brought in a wide range of factors undisclosed in their ranking algorithms.
The algorithms used to rank pages are not revealed by the leading search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. Google says it now employs more than 200 different factors in ranking web pages.
Why Do SEO?
The value of having their web pages appearing on search results became apparent to webmasters as stated above; the higher the better! So what exactly is the value they took account of?
Among other things this meant increased sales, being able to turn traffic to affiliate sites, and more easily disseminate information (educational websites, non-profit websites), among others.
Search engine optimization is impacted by two types of factors. These are called Off-Page SEO factors and On-Page SEO factors.
On-Page SEO is predominately about meta tags, headings, keyword density and links on a web page, and also site structure. As previously mentioned, putting on a page targeted keywords is mostly what SEO is about; for rankings to be good what you had to do was stuff your keywords, even variants misspelled, onto your web page as many times as you can, both into the copy itself and the meta tags.
Since then, search algorithms have matured, and there is now much less value to manipulated relevance indicators like keyword density. For on-page optimization today, the page content has to be good quality, containing correct and useful information and well written, and to the targeted keyword be highly relevant.
While targeted keywords still should be included in the headline tags, image all tags, meta description, meta title and main content, it is advised not to overdo it as already considered web spam is keyword stuffing.
Off-Page SEO factors, which to a site involve external links, now hold greater importance than On-Page SEO does. Toward ranking well on the SERPs, links from other sites are vital.
The quantity and quality of links pointing to a site and the text contained in those links are when ranking web pages what the search algorithms are looking for. This is why it is so important to get as many sites as possible linked to our sites.