SEO Basics - Search Engines

SEO Basics – Search Engines

By Sadie on September 7, 2011

SEO Basics: Search Engines - Back to school SEO is a complicated subject and requires a combination of technical skills and marketing skills to implement a successful SEO campaign. When working with business owners it is important that they get a good understanding of SEO, although it isn’t always necessary to go into detail so here are a few of the basics. We will continue to write about the basics so you can keep coming back and get a better understanding of SEO and how it can benefit you.

Search engines

  • Search Engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are generally the starting point for most users looking for a website, information or service
  • Google’s market share increased to 91.52% in July 2011
  • Being ranked in the top 10 for major search terms can result in huge quantities of targeted traffic to your website
  • It is equivalent to a shop being placed in an ideal location with a high footfall in a shopping centre

Search engines are the biggest referrer of traffic to most websites, many users will use a search engine to find something specific, as more users have become more web savvy search engines have adapted to this using tools such as keyword suggest, images, videos and news. Prime real estate for search engines is on the first page and ideally the top 5, by having your website high in the search engines will direct a large amount of traffic to your site for relevant keywords. This is often valuable traffic as in most cases it should be a user specifically looking for what you offer therefore should have a good chance of ‘converting’.

How search engines work

  • Search Engines use automated scripts called ‘robots’ to trawl websites and index their content. This is saved to the Search Engine ‘cache’
  • When you enter a search term into i.e. Google, it searches it’s cache and uses a unique ranking algorithm to display the most relevant sites
  • When you enter a keyword into a search engine the most relevant pages should come up at the top. This is because search engines use robots that crawl the internet and will pick up on a websites coding, content, inbound links to evaluate which keywords the website is most relevant for.
  • This algorithm takes into account 1000’s of on page and off page elements of the site
  • The algorithm is constantly updating and evolving to improve the search functionality and remove low quality and SPAM websites

To save time and bring up results quickly Google will take a snapshot or cache of your website and uses this to display the results if you do not update your website search engines will have no reason to go back to take another snapshot (cache) meaning other websites may move up above you in the search engine ranking positions. The search engines all work differently putting more weight on different aspects of a site but all of them take into account elements of off page and on page work. This can be content, coding, feeds, internal and external links… It is possible to try to manipulate the search engines and ‘trick’ them into thinking that a site should be placed higher but these methods are often found out and have harsh penalties. To improve the search results the search engines are always trying to improve their algorithms this keeps SEO’s on their toes but is for a better service and to make sure only quality sites are displayed in the search engines. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of improving your website to do better in the search engines.