If you have spent much time online in the last few years, you have probably stumbled across the term “SEO.” You may have even discovered that it is an acronym for “search engine optimization.” However, unless you have your own website, you may not be quite sure what this term refers to. What does it mean to be optimized for a search engine?
Simply put, SEO is a process whereby websites are designed so that they will be highly ranked by the big search engines. When someone searches for a term in Google or another, similar site, the results that they receive do not appear just by magic. They are the results of carefully crafted algorithms that are supposed to return the best and most relevant web pages.
For example, if someone searches for “car wash Phoenix,” they want to find results about car washes in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. They do not want a bunch of websites that are only vaguely relevant to their search. Google and the other major search engines put a lot of time and effort into making sure that they return the best results so that people will come back for more searches.
Because the search engines do a good job of returning relevant results, most people never bother to look past the first two or three items. They almost never go to the second or third page of results. Websites that are listed near the top of the first page will see a lot more traffic than those who are buried farther down, and the goal of SEO is to make sure that a site achieves one of those top results.
One of the major techniques used in SEO is the proper selection of keywords. These are the terms that people search for when they are trying to find information online, so choosing the correct keywords is vital to the success of an SEO campaign. Optimizing a site for keywords that are only rarely used will not help you boost your traffic.
Fortunately, you do not simply have to guess about which keywords to use. There are analytical tools that you can use to see which keywords people actually use in their searches. By looking at this data, you can make sure that you optimize your site for the keywords that will give you the best results.
Links are another important part of SEO. Search rankings are calculated in part depending upon how well-connected a website is to the rest of the Internet. Sites that have lots of incoming links from other popular sites will get much higher rankings than those that do not have many links, or only receive links from sites with low rankings.
There is a lot else involved in SEO, but these are just a few of the most important concepts. If you are interested in learning more, there are many great resources available online that can help you master the art of effective search engine optimization.
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