What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engines like GOOGLE, YAHOO, ALTAVISTA, MSN, and others, are robots programmed to read internet pages, index them, and rank them according to some predetermined rules (algorithm).

The whole World Wide Web (www) and internet are like one BIG book, where each website is a chapter, and each web-page is a page in that chapter. At the end of this book there is an index. For example, next to the term 'SEO' in the index, there will be a list of all pages that contain term 'SEO'. In traditional books where pages are listed in sequential order, in index they will also be listed in sequential order (e.g. SEO - 133, 175, 742). Because the internet is not sequential book, but each page is determined by its URL, relevant 'SEO' pages in the index are not sorted sequentially, but are ordered according to certain rank assigned to them for the given term (in this example 'SEO').

This rank is so important that depending on it, your page may or may not appear when someone searches for relevant terms on Google. Algorithm that determines this rank is complex, and many factors are taken into account. Frequency of terms occurrence is only 1 of about hundred different factors. What other pages link to your page is another. What words those pages use in links to your pages is yet another. And so on... Because of the complexity, and importance of this algorithm, optimizing pages for search engines became a specialized field, even an industry that is now full of 'consultants', 'experts', 'specialists', 'engineers', and similar titles. It is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Note that this rank described above is not the same as Google PageRank (PR), which determines a popularity and importance of a page, and depends primarily on the number of other pages linking to it as well as importance (PR) of those pages. Yes, you are right, it is a circular definition - PR depends on other PR's which also depend on this PR, and so on... (chicken, or egg, or chicken, or ...) That's why there is much more to it than this simple description. Anyhow, to get little better understanding of it, see experiment and reference links on the right.

Next: Why is SEO Internet Marketing important?

Tutorial Articles

Basic reading: The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Further reading: SEO references, Google papers, Google's patents.

Creative reading: Blue Hat SEO.

Unofficial Dictionary - SEO terms related to this page:

* Algorithm is a list of instructions that tell search engines how to rank web-pages that are results of submitted queries.

* Backlink is a link to your site from another website. Incoming links, inbound links, in links, and inward links are all different names for the same thing.

* Index is a search site's database consisting of all web-sites that it had crawled.

* Keywords are word(s) or phrase(s) a person types into a search box.

* Link Popularity is the number of back links a page has, regardless of the quality of the pages or sites linking to it.

* Outbound Link is a link from your website to another site or page. Usually it sucks your web-site page rank. While there were no nofollow tags, that was OK. But then most visited sites started putting this tag, and as a consequence, while many people link to them and give away their PageRanks, these sites do not give any PR in return. What is happening is capitalization and concentration of Page Rank! Protection from SPAM is an excuse for that, while in reality, high PRs are main reason. SlashDot has much healthier approach. One solution to this is to link without this tag only to small and obscure sites with good content.

* Query is the same as Keywords, only with implicit question mark.

* Rank is position where a site appears in search results. We all want to be on top no matter if we deserve it. Therefore all these 'unnatural' ways of achieving optimal 'natural' search results.

* Relevancy means that if web page title mentions apples, web page content should be about apples, not submarines.

* Search Engine is the thing without which this site would have no need to exist. It collects all web-pages on the internet, and when we look for something, search engines tell us on what web-page we will find it.

* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via natural (organic or algorithmic) search results. This process includes optimization of humans who make web-sites to achieve higher performance in web-site design by trying to figure out what exactly are search engines doing. Once they find out, few guys in search engine companies change how these engines work, so that other SEO guys would have what to do in their free time - as if we didn't hear about books, television, travel, and dance!

* Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is a page that sometimes displays the results you were searching for.

* Search Term is a 4 hour time period needed for an average user to find an average thing he or she is looking for on the Internet. For another interpretation see Query.

* Spider is search engine bug (also known as bot or robot) that crawls the world wide web and gathers details of all flies (also known as web pages). When you want to find a particular fly, spider will point you in the right direction.

* Website Promotion are all things explained on this site (and more) that serve to promote your business on the internet.


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