Discovering how SEO worksPosted 31 October 2011 by
It was only a few months ago that I heard of the term “search engine optimization”. As an intern, I still only have a vague idea of how it works, but it certainly seems to be the “in” thing when it comes to advertising online. From the little that I do understand, SEO is all about helping search engines find and rank your site higher than the millions of other sites out there whenever someone does a search query. In a nutshell, SEO helps you get traffic from search engines.
Living in an age in which we are highly dependent on technology and the internet, searching has become the most dominant way for consumers to find products or services. Before we buy a product, or use a service, we immediately go online to find out more about it. Not only that, but most of us only look at the results on the first page when we need to research something, hence why it is important for businesses that their website comes out in the top ten search results.
The most basic thing to understand about SEO is that search engines are text-driven, which means that they ‘crawl’ around the Web looking at particular site items, mainly text, in order to get an idea of what the site is about. In the case of Google, the crawling is done by a piece of software called a Googlebot, which basically follows links from one page to another, indexing everything it finds. Of course, with billions of pages on the Web, the crawler cannot visit every page every day; it can take up to a month or more before the crawler visits a page again.
The other activities involved are indexing, processing, calculating relevancy, and retrieving. So after the page has been crawled, the page is indexed. The indexed page is then stored in a huge database from where it can later be retrieved. So what does indexing involve? Indexing basically identifies words and phrases that best describe the page and then assigns it to certain keywords.
Then there’s you, searching a certain service, for example, ‘digital marketing’. The search engine processes the request by comparing the keywords with the indexed pages in the database. The search engine calculates the relevancy of each of the pages in its index with the keywords. This is where the tricky part comes in, there are various algorithms for different search engines to calculate relevancy, and if you want to be at the top you have to know how to adapt your pages to the latest changes.
The last step is retrieving the results and displaying them, with the most relevant in the top ten, and the rest being left behind in the endless pages that follow.
(This is a post by our new intern Ivelina Dineva)
(Image by sachyn, stock.xchng)