SEO has been featured, debated and quite often you might have come across many articles, tips, suggestions from peers about various things related to SEO. In this post let’s look at what actually is SEO and how it can benefit your business and what it takes to be in the SEO game.
What SEO does
Let me explain this more through a live example, you are looking to buy a mobile phone that has a 20 megapixel camera phone and you go to a search engine page (google, bing or yahoo) and start typing a search keyword “20 megapixel camera phone”, now the search engine starts giving you thousands of search results that talk about 20 megapixel camera phone, the results can be product selling websites, customer reviews, product reviews, videos, images, and everything related to the search terms “20 megapixel camera phone”.
What is SEO?
Ok, so what is SEO(Search Engine Optimisation), in a broad way they are the rules that define how a website will be ranked on various levels so a website can feature on the search engine results page, in our example if a website has keywords and content related to the search term “20 megapixel camera phone” then it has a good chance of showing up when the user searches for related keywords and in a nutshell optimizing a website with all the SEO rules is called Search Engine Optimisation so the website can get listed on the search engine results page. Better the optimization, better the website rank.
Let’s look at the history of a search engine and understand why they started imposing SEO optimization on websites.
The information problem that existed
The search and results is a big business gateway and the most powerful tool of the century invented by mankind to make peoples life easy for finding information, in early days the consumer had to go through physical phone directories, magazines, visit shops or call up stores or dealers to find out if they are selling what the consumer was looking for, which was extremely time-consuming for the buyer, on the other hand, sellers had a huge marketing problem of reaching their desired audience or sales prospects as they heavily relied on traditional advertising mediums of TV, radio, newspaper, magazine and maintain printed catalogs for door to door distribution or had to be physically mailed to a specific target audience which had no guarantee of people finding the seller easily due to the complexity of finding, remembering seller information when required.
Birth of a search engine
Things changed when search engines started solving the biggest challenge of showing relevant and useful information in seconds, the search engine was hailed revolutionary because it solved both buyer and seller problems gracefully by connecting them. A consumer could just search from a desktop, PC or mobile and find a seller instantly, for a seller’s business to appear in the search engine results they just needed a website with their catalog, contact information and some basic SEO metadata which search engine could pick up for indexing and show when an end user searched with relevant keywords of the seller website.
Sellers were winners as they did not have to spend big money to advertise in traditional channel like TV, Radio, Magazine, Newspaper, Billboards, etc the website medium worked well for a seller and it’s business because traditional marketing channels was a costly affair, out of reach for many small and medium businesses and it was never easy to measure a traditional marketing campaign reach and it’s success. Fast forward every merchant and their affiliates started making websites to gain digital channel advantage and started adding irrelevant content and metadata to their websites in a hope to be on the top of search results, this peculiar trend gave search engines a battle to fight fake content.
And soon search engines started making changes to their formula of how a website and it’s content will be ranked and shown which gave birth to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) a set of rules defined by search engines for websites to follow in return they can be indexed, ranked and shown when search terms related to their websites are entered in a search engine based on website relevant content.
The new age search engines and the SEO
In-between websites started finding back doors and other ways to manipulate search engines with various loopholes to stay in the top search results even when their content was not relevant, this journey of search engines evolving to counter fake content by altering their search formulas to beat fake and irrelevant content quite often gave rise to modern SEO practices which have been growing with each passing day to make the search engines smart and intelligent so they can differentiate what is real and fake. Search engine ranking a website has always been a closely guarded secret which keeps changing from time to time as search engines continue to archive monument of data every single day from social media, blogs, videos, websites, etc. The new era of mobile phone in every pocket has led to enormous data created every single minute and with more data, search result ranking has become even more complex as well as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
So how can a website figure on the first-page search results?
SEO is the answer and the answer is not just easy to crack because millions of websites are competing to be on the top 10 search results and everyone is following the same rule book and are pretty much doing the same thing, then came more changes by search engines, they started ranking websites based on various other parameters, like how secure the website is, how fast it loads, how good it shows on a mobile phone, how many social media mentions it has, how many websites are linking back to this website, how much time users are spending on the website, how many users left the website after just landing on the website, technically something called bounce rate and so on.
The parameters for ranking a website started growing day by day and any website that wants to be on top of the search results had to build upon, content, get good following, get mentions across platforms and technically it has to perform well along with following all the rules the search engine expects, so making sure a website is ranked top needs good SEO efforts and importantly SEO is a continuous exercise and not a one-time effort.
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