SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, involves enhancing a website’s technical setup, content quality, and link popularity.
This helps the website’s pages become more visible, relevant, and popular in response to user searches. As a result, search engines give them higher rankings.
Search engines suggest SEO strategies that improve both the user’s search experience and a webpage’s ranking. This involves creating content that meets user search requirements. It includes using appropriate keywords in titles, meta descriptions, and H1 headings, using clear keywords in URLs instead of numbers, and implementing schema markup to clarify the page’s content, among other recommended SEO practices.
Search engines play a crucial role in helping people find information online, whether they’re researching products, searching for restaurants, or planning vacations. They serve as a common starting point when seeking information. For business owners, search engines provide a valuable opportunity to attract relevant traffic to their websites
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves optimizing your website to achieve a higher ranking on a search engine results page (SERP), which in turn attracts more traffic. The goal is usually to secure a place on the first page of Google results for keywords that matter to your target audience. Therefore, SEO is not only about the technical aspects of website configuration but also about understanding your audience’s preferences and needs.
How do search engines work?
Search engines offer results for any user’s search query by scanning and comprehending the extensive network of websites on the internet. They employ advanced algorithms to decide which results to show for each specific search query.
Why SEO Emphasizes Google
For many, the term “search engine” is synonymous with Google, which commands approximately 83% of the global search engine market share. Given Google’s dominance, SEO strategies typically center around optimizing for Google’s algorithms. It’s valuable to gain a clear understanding of Google’s functioning and rationale.
Google is designed to prioritize delivering the best search experience to its users, or searchers. This involves providing the most relevant results as quickly as possible.
The search experience revolves around two core elements: the user’s search term (input) and the search results (output).
For example, if you search for “Mailchimp guides and tutorials,” it’s a clear and straightforward query. Google comprehends your intent and promptly presents a valuable page as the top organic result—in this case, Mailchimp’s official page.
From Google’s perspective, this outcome represents a highly favorable search result and a positive user experience. It’s likely that the user will click on the top result and be satisfied with the information provided.
The anatomy of search results
SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are divided into two main categories: paid search results and organic search results. Organic results don’t generate revenue for Google; instead, Google ranks them based on their relevance and quality. Depending on the type of search query, Google can include various elements on the SERP, such as maps, images, or videos.
The number of ads on a SERP depends on what users are searching for. For instance, if you search for “shoes,” you’ll likely encounter many ads among the top results. In fact, you may need to scroll down to find the first organic result. This abundance of ads occurs because there’s a high likelihood that the searcher intends to buy shoes online, and numerous shoe companies are willing to pay for prominent placements in the AdWords results for this query.
On the other hand, if you search for something like “Atlanta Falcons,” your results will differ. This search is primarily associated with the professional American football team of the same name, so the top results are related to it. However, it’s still a somewhat vague query. You’ll come across news stories, a knowledge graph, and the team’s homepage. These three types of results at the top indicate that Google isn’t entirely certain about the precise intent of your search but offers quick ways to explore the team, read the latest news, or visit their website.
Since this query doesn’t suggest an intention to purchase, advertisers are less likely to bid for the keyword, resulting in no AdWords results.
However, if you modify your query to “Atlanta Falcons hat,” indicating that you might be shopping for merchandise, the SERP results will change to include more sponsored results. This reflects Google’s adaptation to the evolving user intent behind the query.
The Purpose of SEO
The aim of SEO is to enhance your position in organic search results. Different strategies are employed for optimizing AdWords, shopping, and local results.
Despite the competition for space on SERPs, which can push down organic listings, SEO remains a potent and profitable endeavor. Google handles billions of daily search queries, and organic search results represent a significant portion of this vast volume. Although securing and sustaining organic rankings demands initial and ongoing investments, every click that drives traffic to your website comes at no cost.