What is SEO?
Why is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) important?
It all started with the “boom” of the Internet era in the early 90s. Many sites appeared today that are very common such as Amazon, Yahoo and the largest of today, Google. Over the years people learned that money could be earned by attracting people to web sites, this is known as attracting traffic. The best method to attract traffic that becomes customers is using search engines like Google. The owners of the sites had to learn how to get to the top positions of the search engines such as Google to be in view of customers, and this is where the SEO was born.
SEO concentrates on the organic search results, these are the ones that aren’t paid or say “ad”:
Taking into account all the amount of updates that have been happening in the recent years we can see that the discipline of SEO has changed a lot. The last two updates that recently happened, Panda and Penguin, have changed almost everything that was known before about SEO. This made it so that maybe a web page that was just released last year and was ranking on the first page, does not yield the same results as before due to these new updates. In these days, what is most important is the user’s experience.
There may be many factors to rank a website on a web search engine but these are the two most basic ones, authority & relevance
- Authority is how popular the web page has been. If it is very popular then the information it contains becomes more important. Authority is the factor that a search engine has more in mind because it is important for the user experience. Something that is taken into account is how many times a link is shared or used to share the content that is very useful for users.
- Relevance is the correlation that a search result has to the search that a user does. It is not as simple as including the keyword many times throughout the webpage anymore, even though it used to be this way. Now search engines rely on hundreds of factors within the page to determine this.
SEO can be divided into two factors:
- On-site: For SEO on-site or on-page, relevance is the most important factor. The page has to be optimized so that a search engine such as Google can understand that the content is relevant. The on-page SEO process includes the optimization of keywords, loading time, user experience, code optimization and format of URLs.
- Off-site: SEO off-site or out-of-page is when we work on factors outside of our website. These are some of the important factors for off-page SEO: the number and quality of links that are not from sites with a lot of spam and low quality, presence in social networks, mentions in local media, the authority of the brand and performance in the search results as many times as you click.
Although all this information is very interesting I think you are here to know why you need SEO on your website and what benefits it will offer if you integrate it into your page.
Now that we know what SEO is, we need to understand the differences between Black Hat SEO & White Hat SEO
- Black Hat SEO: Its called black hat when the attempt to reach the top positions of a search engine involve using techniques that may not be very ethical or that contradict the guidelines of the search engine. Some examples of Black Hat SEO are Cloaking, Spinning, Spamming forums and blog comments, or Keyword Stuffing. This strategy of black hat may seem to provide benefits in the short term, but it can be a risky strategy, because in the long term if Google finds out about these methods, they can mark your website with a penalty and lower it from the search results.
- White Hat SEO: Consists of ethical and correct strategies that comply with the suggestions of the search engines to position a web page within the first search results. This is because search engines prioritize a page that responds easily and quickly to a search. White Hat uses the techniques that make a page more relevant for users, providing value for users.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is important for a simple reason and it is because it makes your website more useful for both search engines and users. Although search engines like Google can not yet see a website as a human does. SEO is important because it helps search engines understand what each page is about and if it is useful for users
Now let’s see an example so that we can see things more clearly:
Let’s say you own a business that provides the service of painting houses. For the search term “house painters” there are 40,500 searches a month. Let’s say the first search result on Google receives 22% of clicks (Click-Through-Rate = 22%), you would receive 8,910 visits a month.
Now, how much are these 8,910 visits worth? For this keyword the average cost per click that someone paying for ads is paying $5.37, we’re talking about paying $47,845 a month. This is an example for all of the United States, if you had a business that could service multiple countries we are talking about 1.4 billion of searches being made in the world in one month. Of those searches, about 70% of clicks are made to the organic search results on the first page & 75% of users don’t even make it onto the second page of results! Having all this in mind we can see that the first ranked organic search result receives a significant amount of clicks.
Organic SEO is the most useful way for your future customers to find you through searches in which your website is more relevant. These people are looking for what you are offering and it makes it more likely that people will become your customers. The best way for customers to reach you is from a search engine.
How do Search Engines Work?
The way that search engines work by doing two things: Crawling and Indexing
A search engine crawls your website using “bots”.These scan all your pages through the links. That’s where the importance of a good link structure comes from. This is also important because it benefits any user who is browsing the content of your website, pass from one link to another and collect data on those web pages that is provided to their servers.
The crawling process starts with a list from the directory of previous crawls and from the sitemaps provided by other webpages. Once they arrive at these sites, the bots look for links to other pages to visit them. The bots prefer new sites and frequent changes that are made in existing sites.
The bots are the ones that decide which pages to visit, how often and how long they will crawl these pages, that is why it is very important that the pages can load quickly and with new and updated content.
After a bot has reviewed a web page and collected the necessary information, the pages are included in an index. Once there they are put in order according to the content, their authority and relevance. In this way, when you start a search to the search engine it is easier to show the results that are more relevant to a search.
Some time ago the search engines looked at the number of times a keyword appeared. When doing a search they traced those terms in their index to find which pages they had in their texts, leading to the page that had repeated it most times in the first results. Now, things have changed. The process is more sophisticated and is basing their indexes on many different aspects, for example, the date of publication, if they contain images, videos or animations, microformats, etc. Now the quality of the content has more priority.
After the webpages have been crawled and indexed now comes the time for the algorithm to get to work. Algorithms are the mathematical processes that decide which pages appear before or after on the search results. Algorithms check in on the indexes this way they know which web pages have more relevance and also take into account the hundreds of other positioning factors in a matter of milliseconds.