Search engine optimization or SEO is a way to improve the appearance of a website in a search engine. Whenever you search for a keyword in a search engine, millions of results come up. Tem results are displayed at the first page and rest on subsequent pages. People usually click on top 3-4 links that appear on the first page of Google, going to second page is out of question. Just think to yourself how many times you have gone to page 2 of Google to find what you need. This means that websites appearing among top ten results have the highest probability of getting the most traffic. Traffic is what you need as a webmaster. If you have traffic to your website, you can do a bunch of stuff to it. So SEO is a way to increase traffic to your website in an organic manner i.e. without advertising it.
Unless you are a nonprofit company, you are most likely trying to make some money off of your website. So paying for advertisements to get traffic and ad revenue will be absurd. Although you can advertise your site if you own a big business but for single sites and small business, SEO is the best approach.
In order to fully understand SEO, we need to understand how search engines work.
How search engines work:
Search engines work in following three steps:
Search engines are always searching the World Wide Web for new content with the help of their automated programs called spiders. These spiders are also referred to as crawlers or bots. The frequency of crawling varies among different search engines. This is the reason that frequent updating of content is advised for better SEO.
After finding new content on the web, search engines save all or part of that webpage, a process called indexing. In simpler terms indexing is the process where search engines store data for future use. The more web pages you have indexed for your website, the better chances you will have at search engine optimization. That’s why quality content is always the key to get a higher search engine ranking.
When search engines have crawled the web and stored any relevant data they found, it is time to put that data into use. Whenever users write search terms called “keywords” in a search box, the search algorithms scan through millions of web pages to find all the results relevant to that keyword and display to the user. This process takes a fraction of a second.
Difference between search engines:
Although all the search engines follow the aforementioned framework to conduct searches, but there is one difference. Search engines differ in their indexing mechanism. Some search engines store each word they find on the webpage whereas others store a portion of the webpage. Search engines like Google only store part of the web page and display it during the search results.
Market share of different search engines:
Following table shows the market share of different search engines for 2014.
|Search Engine||Market Share*||Monthly Searches**|
*The data only accounts for desktop searches, mobile searches are not included.
** For April 2014.
As seen from the above table, Google leads the search market with a marginable difference. So ranking high in Google means great traffic to your website. That’s why we will discuss the SEO techniques in this course with reference to Google. Since Google has the most strict search policies and algorithms, ranking high in Google will eventually give you higher rankings in other search engines as well.