Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
is often considered the more technical part of Web marketing. This is true because
SEO does help in the promotion of sites and at the same time it requires some technical
knowledge – at least familiarity with basic HTML. SEO is sometimes also called
SEO copyrighting because most of the techniques that are used to promote sites in
search engines deal with text. Generally, SEO can be defined as the activity of
optimizing Web pages or whole sites in order to make them more search engine-friendly,
thus getting higher positions in search results.
One of the basic truths in SEO is that even if you do all the things that are necessary
to do, this does not automatically guarantee you top ratings but if you neglect
basic rules, this certainly will not go unnoticed. Also, if you set realistic goals
– i.e to get into the top 30 results in Google for a particular keyword, rather
than be the number one for 10 keywords in 5 search engines, you will feel happier
and more satisfied with your results.
Although SEO helps to increase the traffic to one's site, SEO is not advertising.
Of course, you can be included in paid search results for given keywords but basically
the idea behind the SEO techniques is to get top placement because your site is
relevant to a particular search term, not because you pay.
SEO can be a 30-minute job or a permanent activity. Sometimes it is enough to do
some generic SEO in order to get high in search engines – for instance, if
you are a leader for rare keywords, then you do not have a lot to do in order to
get decent placement. But in most cases, if you really want to be at the top, you
need to pay special attention to SEO and devote significant amounts of time and
effort to it. Even if you plan to do some basic SEO, it is essential that you understand
how search engines work and which items are most important in SEO.
How Search Engines Work
The first basic truth you need to learn about SEO is that search engines are not
humans. While this might be obvious for everybody, the differences between how humans
and search engines view web pages aren't. Unlike humans, search engines are text-driven.
Although technology advances rapidly, search engines are far from intelligent creatures
that can feel the beauty of a cool design or enjoy the sounds and movement in movies.
Instead, search engines crawl the Web, looking at particular site items (mainly
text) to get an idea what a site is about. This brief explanation is not the most
precise because as we will see next, search engines perform several activities in
order to deliver search results – crawling, indexing, processing, calculating
relevancy, and retrieving.
First, search engines crawl the Web to see what is there. This task is performed
by e piece of software, called a crawler or a spider (or Googlebot, as is the case
with Google). Spiders follow links from one page to another and index everything
they find on their way. Having in mind the number of pages on the Web (over 20 billion),
it is impossible for a spider to visit a site daily just to see if a new page has
appeared or if an existing page has been modified. Sometimes crawlers will not visit
your site for a month or two, so during this time your SEO efforts will not be rewarded.
But there is nothing you can do about it, so just keep quiet.
What you can do is to check what a crawler sees from your site. As already mentioned,
password-protected pages and directories, so if you have tons of these on your site,
you'd better run the Spider Simulator below to see if these goodies are viewable
by the spider. If they are not viewable, they will not be spidered, not indexed,
not processed, etc. - in a word they will be non-existent for search engines.