Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process that affects a website’s visibility and ranking on Web search results. The objectives of SEO includes achieving an increased volume of inbound traffic or the number of visitors to a webpage or site, promoting awareness of the webpage among online users, and elevating its search engine ranking.
How Does It Work?
When users look for information on the Internet, they usually run some “keywords” or phrases on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing. The search engine spiders crawl through billions of pages that may possibly contain the material that the user needs. It then indexes these pages and returns a list of site addresses, which are displayed on the search engine results page (SERP). A particular page or site’s display “rank” is influenced by certain factors such as the value, relevance, and popularity of the information it provides.
SEO experts implement various techniques designed to anticipate the possible search “keywords” and to structure a webpage’s content in such a manner that it would be ranked higher by a search engine algorithm. The hope is that the webpage would be shown at the top of the results list and gain more visitors as a result.
Why is SEO Important?
SEO affects a site’s visibility and accessibility to both search engine robots and online search users. Various SEO methods help a search engine locate a “text” or a string of words on a page to match the query entered by the user. When a search engine finds the pertinent site, the latter is included in the top results. The higher a site gets placed on the SERP, the more chances it has of receiving visitors.
Increased volume of inbound traffic is always good for a website because it correlates to higher potentials for conversions to sales or subscriptions.
Therefore, SEO plays a crucial role in internet marketing and – when implemented effectively – helps the website owner promote the information, products, or services featured on the website. This is particularly useful for e-commerce shops, because it is critical to attract target customers and boost sales.
Types of SEO
There are two broad categories of SEO: white hat SEO (considered the “good” kind), and black hat SEO (the “evil” twin of white hat SEO).
White hat techniques are those that adhere to best practices and guidelines of search engines. These strategies are implemented with the end user as the ultimate consideration and not the search engine algorithms. The methods focus on providing valuable and relevant content. These practices have shown to deliver longer-lasting benefits and returns for a webpage.
In contrast, black hat SEO strategies do not conform to the search engine’s standards. They are designed to improve the site ranking through the use of deceptive methods that seek to bypass algorithm rules. Such practices include the use of hidden or off-screen text, keyword stuffing, and page swapping.
Black hat SEO tactics are strongly disapproved. When discovered, search engines will likely impose sanctions against the page in question, including permanently banning the site. However, webmasters who look for quick financial returns on a page resort to these methods, regardless of the risk.
The intricacies of SEO may appear daunting to new website owners. Fortunately, a lot of online information, guides, and tools are readily available, and most people can easily navigate through the basics. Take note, though, that developing effective SEO techniques takes time, effort, practice, and commitment.
Depending on the site’s goals, needs, and target timelines, webmasters can always hire or consult experts to help them develop a good SEO plan and implement it successfully. However, regardless of the nature of the website’s business or objectives, SEO is essential to the continued presence and exposure of any website in the online community.