When building a website, the number one priority is attracting visitors. What’s the point of building a site that nobody uses right? So, how do people find your site? Search engines, links from other sites and word of mouth.
Search engines live and breathe by helping people find the information their looking for, the visitor visits the search engine, types in their request and the search engine scours its database looking for the most appropriate matches to the query.
This is where you can make the difference. You can help the search engine determine that your site is of relevance and to display a link to your site at or near the top of the list.
This is called Search Engine Optimization or more commonly known as SEO. In short, SEO is a method of placing search engine “food” on your site’s pages so that the search engine will regard it as a relevant site in relation to the query provided by the visitor. If you want to learn more about SEO, you should read about this detailed guide on SUSS education portal.
What’s this about search engine food you ask?
Search engines are hungry. Search engines want information to digest, and whether they like the SEO’s site or not depends on what the SEO feeds it and how.
Here’s how it works:
- Search engine spider crawls a website and stores the information collected from the website in a database
- A visitor visits the search engine and requests pages related to their search terms
- The search engine then references its database building a correlation between what the user searches for:
- Keywords – in the search “brown cats”, Brown and Cat would be different Keywords
- Keyphrases – in the search “big brown cats”, Big brown cats would be the Keyphrase
- The search engine will then display a list of sites that most closely matches the visitors query in order of relevance. It determines the relevance by:
- Weight of the Keyword – Weight refers to the number of times that the particular word appears on the page
- Weight of the Keyphrase – Again, the number of times it appears on the page
There are also a lot of other factors which goes into how the search engine displays the pages it thinks are relevant to the query
- Age of the page – How long it has been in the index (database)
- Number of links – How many other pages point to that page
- The unknown factors – Proprietary algorithms belonging to the search engine, no one really knows for sure the exact nature of these algorithms
So, the job of the SEO is to try to feed the spiders as much as it can eat by putting keywords that people are likely to search for into pages that match those topics.