Where does the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) come from?
The first search engines emerged in the early 90s. Until Google appeared in 1996, many were created, including Yahoo. The boom of the Web began. People realized that there was really money to be made from them. So they came to the conclusion that they needed to attract traffic. What was the best method of attracting traffic? Search engines . At that moment, the owners of the websites began to think how they could reach the top positions… SEO was born
SEO focuses on organic search results, that is, what are not paid:
But hey, let's get to what matters and why (I think) you're reading this chapter:
1. What is SEO?
Search engine optimization or search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website in the organic results of different search engines. It is also often named by its English title, SEO (Search Engine Optimization). - Wikipedia
SEO is one of the “disciplines” that has changed the most in recent years. We just have to look at the large number of updates to Penguin and Panda , and how they have turned 180 degrees on what was understood by SEO until recently. Now with SEO, what Matt Cutts himself qualifies as «Search Experience Optimization» or what is the same, «everything for the user» is pursued.
Although there are thousands of factors on which a search engine is based to position one page or another, it could be said that there are two basic factors: authority and relevance
- Authority is basically the popularity of a website. The more popular it is, the more valuable the information it contains. This factor is the one that a search engine takes into account the most since it is based on the user's own experience. The more a content is shared, the more users have found it useful.
- Relevance is the relationship a page has to a given search. This is not simply that a page contains the search term a bunch of times (in the early days it was) but that a search engine relies on hundreds of on-site factors to determine this.
SEO can be divided into two large groups:
- On-site : On-site SEO is concerned with relevance. It makes sure that the web is optimized so that the search engine understands the main thing, which is the content of it. Within SEO On-site we would include keyword optimization, loading time, user experience, code optimization and URL format.
- Off-site : Off-site SEO is the part of SEO work that focuses on factors external to the web page we are working on. The most important factors in off-site SEO are the number and quality of links, presence in social networks, mentions in local media, brand authority and performance in search results, that is, the CTR that our products have. results in a search engine. Surely you are thinking that all this is very good and that it is very interesting but that you are here to find out why you need SEO on your website and what benefits you will obtain if you integrate it into your online strategy.
Once we know what SEO is, we must differentiate whether or not we follow the "recommendations" of the search engine. Black Hat SEO or White Hat SEO
- Black Hat SEO : Black hat is the attempt to improve the search engine positioning of a web page through unethical techniques or that contradict the search engine guidelines. Some examples of Black Hat SEO are Cloaking, Spinning, SPAM in forums and blog comments, or Keyword Stuffing. The black hat can provide benefits in the short term, but it is generally a risky strategy, without continuity in the long term and that does not add value.
- White Hat SEO : It consists of all those actions that are ethically correct and that comply with the guidelines of the search engines to position a web page in the search results. Given that search engines give greater importance to the pages that best respond to a user's search, White Hat understands the techniques that seek to make a page more relevant to search engines by adding value to its users.
2. Why is SEO important?
The most important reason why SEO is necessary is because it makes your website more useful for both users and search engines . Although these still can not see a web page as a human does. SEO is necessary to help search engines understand what each page is about and whether or not it is useful to users.
Now let's take an example to see things more clearly:
We have an e-commerce dedicated to the sale of children's books. Well, for the term “coloring drawings” there are about 673,000 monthly searches. Assuming that the first result that appears after doing a Google search gets 22% clicks ( CTR = 22%), we would get about 148,000 visits per month.
Now, how much are those 148,000 visits worth? Well, if for that term the average cost per click is €0.20, we are talking about more than €29,000/month. This only in Spain, if we have a business oriented to several countries, every hour 1.4 billion searches are carried out in the world. Of those searches, 70% of clicks are on organic results and 75% of users do not reach the second page. If we take all this into account, we see that there are many clicks per month for the first result.
SEO is the best way for your users to find you through searches in which your website is relevant. These users look for what you offer them. The best way to reach them is through a search engine.
3. How do search engines work?
The way a search engine works can be summed up in two steps: crawling and indexing .
A search engine scours the web crawling with what are called bots. These go through all the pages through the links. Hence the importance of a good link structure. As any user would do when browsing the content of the Web, they go from one link to another and collect data about those web pages that they provide to their servers.
The crawl process begins with a list of web addresses from previous crawls and sitemaps provided by other web pages. Once they access these websites, the bots look for links to other pages to visit them. Bots are especially attracted to new sites and changes to existing websites.
It is the bots themselves that decide which pages to visit, how often and how long they are going to crawl that website, so it is important to have optimal loading time and updated content.
It is very common that a web page needs to restrict the crawling of some pages or certain content to prevent them from appearing in search results. For this, search engine bots can be told not to crawl certain pages via the “ robots.txt ” file.
Once a bot has crawled a website and collected the necessary information, these pages are included in an index. There they are ordered according to their content, their authority and their relevance. In this way, when we make a query to the search engine, it will be much easier for it to show us the results that are most related to our query.
In the beginning, search engines were based on the number of times a word was repeated. When doing a search, they tracked those terms in their index to find which pages had them in their texts, better positioning the one that had it repeated the most times. Nowadays, they are more sophisticated and base their indexes on hundreds of different aspects. The date of publication, if they contain images, videos or animations, microformats, etc. are some of those things. Now they give more priority to the quality of the content.
Once the pages are crawled and indexed, it's time for the algorithm to act: Algorithms are the computer processes that decide which pages appear earlier or later in search results. Once the search is done, the algorithms check the indexes. This way they will know which are the most relevant pages taking into account the hundreds of positioning factors. And all this happens in a matter of milliseconds.
If you want to continue researching the processes of a search engine, these pages may interest you:
- Google infographic on how a search works
- How a search engine works by Moz
- 28 reasons why you need SEO for Search Engine Land