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What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

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SEO or Search Engine Optimization is getting site traffic from having high search rankings on selected keywords that are commonly used with search engines such as Google and Microsoft. Each one of these search engines scans the internet (with robots) and has its own recipe (algorithm) to search the pages they have found (indexed). Although the public doesn't know the search engine's recipe for finding a site, there are tried and true methods to boosting your search engine results so that your site can get more visitors from search engines.

The following sections will provide you with information on what SEO is all about and possible tool you can use to get ahead of the competition.

How a Search Engine Finds Your Site

Before understanding the tools needed to boost your SEO results, you will need first to understand how search engines find the best results for all the different things people search for on the internet. The following are the three main things needed for a search engine to find sites for a search query properly.

  1. Robots - The first step a search engine must do is create the library (index) which will be searched. Search engines do that by sending out millions of programs that scan (crawl) web pages all over the internet and document their findings. These programs are called by many different names, such as bots, robots, or spiders.
  2. Indexing - The next step for a search engine is to organize all of their collected information in an index, just like a library would organize its vast collection of books. A site can be indexed because it was found and scanned (crawled) by a robot or because the site was manually submitted (indexed) by a person.
  3. Algorithm - The final step which brings all of this information together is the search engine's secret recipe or algorithm. An algorithm is a mathematical method for solving highly complex problems. An algorithm can solve numerous possible solutions and find the best possible solution out of those available. You can see how an algorithm can be very important to search engines that need to take specific search terms (keywords) and pull the best possible sites from their entire index.

What a Search Engine Looks For

  • Content - The content of a site is analyzed for the quality of the writing, the words and phrases present which are commonly searched for, the number of time visitors spends on a site, and the popularity of the sWhat a Search Engine Looks For
  • HTML - The HTML of a site is analyzed for the strength or relevance of title tags, description tags, and header tags. Search engines generally view titles and headings as a summary of a site's contents.
  • Stability - The stability of a site is analyzed for how easy it is for robots to crawl the site, how quickly the site loads, and whether the URLs are short and contain relative keywords
  • Links - The links to and from a site page are analyzed for whether respected, trusted, quality sites are linked to, whether respected, trusted, quality sites are linking to your sites, and the overall number of sites being linked to and from the site.
  • Social - Social media has become an integral part of SEO. A page will be analyzed to see who is sharing your content and the number of overall people sharing your content.
  • Trust - The trust of a site is based on many of the above factors and how long the site has been around to determine what kind of authority the site has.
  • Geography - The geography of a site is analyzed for the geographical location of the site (country, city, region), the history of visitors, and the location of visitors.
  • Reputation - A site's reputation can be built when people like or share the site, but the reputation can also be damaged when people block or remove a site from their searches.
  • Violations - There are several violations of the above topics that can hurt a site's SEO rankings. These violations include spamming other sites, being identified as a purchaser of links, showing alternative sites to search engines (cloaking), a lack of content on a site, and overusing keywords throughout the site.
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