What is SEO and why do I need it?

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whatis seo

What is SEO and Where does the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) come from?

The first search engines emerged in the early 1990s. Until Google appeared in 1996, many were created, including Yahoo. The boom of the Web began. People realized that you could really make money with them. Thus they concluded that they needed to attract traffic. What was the best method of attracting traffic? Search engines. At that time the owners of the websites began to think about how they could reach the top positions … SEO was born!

SEO focuses on organic search results, that is, what is not paid:

what is seo

But well, let’s go to what matters and the reason why (I think) you are reading this chapter:

1. What is SEO?

Search engine optimization or search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website in the organic results of different search engines. It is also common to name him by his English title, SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

WIKIPEDIA

SEO is one of the “disciplines” that has changed the most in recent years. We just have to look at a large number of updates that have been Penguin and Panda, and how they have taken a 180-degree turn to what was understood by SEO until recently. Now with SEO, what Matt Cutts himself calls “Search Experience Optimization” or what is the same, “everything for the user” is pursued.

Although there are thousands of factors on which a search engine relies to position one page or another one could say that there are two basic factors: authority and relevance

  • The authority is basically the popularity of a website. The more popular the more valuable the information it contains. This factor is what a search engine takes most into account since it is based on the user’s own experience. The more content is shared, the more users have found it useful.
  • Relevance is the relationship a page has to a given search. This is not simply that a page contains a lot of times the search term (in the beginning it was like that) but a search engine relies on hundreds of on-site factors to determine this.

SEO can be divided into two large groups:

  • On-site: On-site SEO worries about relevance. It ensures that the web is optimized so that the search engine understands the main thing, which is the content of it. Within the On-site SEO, we would include keyword optimization, loading time, user experience, code optimization and URL formatting.
  • Off-site: Off-site SEO is the part of SEO work that focuses on factors external to the website we work on. The most important factors in off-site SEO are the number and quality of links, presence in social networks mentions in local media, brand authority and performance in search results, that is, the CTR that our Results in a search engine. Surely you are thinking that all this is very good and that it is very interesting but that you are here to know why you need SEO on your website and what benefits you will get if you integrate it into your online strategy.

Once we know what SEO is, we must differentiate whether or not we follow the “recommendations” of the search engine. Black Hat SEO or White Hat SEO

  • Black Hat SEO: Black hat is the attempt to improve search engine positioning of a web page through unethical techniques or that contradict the search engine guidelines. Some examples of Black Hat SEO are Cloaking, Spinning, SPAM in forums and blog comments, or Keyword Stuffing. The black hat can provide benefits in the short term, but it is generally a risky strategy, without long-term continuity and that does not add value.
  • White Hat SEO: It consists of all those actions that are ethically correct and that meet the guidelines of the search engines to position a web page and the search results. Since search engines give greater importance to pages that best respond to a user search, White Hat understands the techniques that seek to make a page more relevant to search engines by providing value to its users.

2. Why is SEO important?

The most important reason why SEO is necessary is that it makes your website more useful for both users and search engines. Although they still cannot see a web page as a human does. SEO is necessary to help search engines understand what each page is about and whether or not it is useful for users.

Now let’s give an example to see the clearest things:

We have electronic commerce dedicated to the sale of children’s books. Well, for the term “coloring pictures” there are about 673,000 monthly searches. Assuming that the first result that appears after doing a search on Google gets 22% of clicks (CTR = 22%), we would get about 148,000 visits per month.

Now how much are those 148,000 visits worth? Well, if for that term the average cost per click is $ 0.20 we are talking about more than $ 32,000 / month. This only in Spain, if we have a business-oriented to several countries, 1.4 billion searches are conducted every hour in the world. Of those searches, 70% of clicks are on organic results and 75% of users do not reach the second page. If we consider all this, we see that there are many clicks per month for the first result.

SEO is the best way for your users to find you through searches in which your website is relevant. These users look for what you offer them. The best way to reach them is through a search engine.

3. How do search engines work?

The operation of a search engine can be summarized in two steps: tracking and indexing.

Tracking

A search engine travels the web crawling with what are called bots. These go through all the pages through the links. Hence the importance of a good link structure. Just as any user would do when browsing the content of the Web, they pass from one link to another and collect data on those web pages that they provide to their servers.

The tracking process begins with a list of web addresses from previous crawls and sitemaps provided by other web pages. Once they access these websites, the bots look for links to other pages to visit them. The bots are especially attracted to new sites and changes to existing websites.

It is the bots themselves who decide which pages to visit, how often and how long they will track that website, so it is important to have an optimal loading time and updated content.

It is very common that a web page needs to restrict the crawling of some pages or certain content to prevent them from appearing in the search results. For this, search engine bots can be told not to crawl certain pages through the ” robots.txt ” file.

Indexing

Once a bot has crawled a website and collect the necessary information, these pages are included in an index. There they are sorted according to their content, their authority and their relevance. In this way, when we make a query to the search engine it will be much easier to show us the results that are more related to our query.

At first, the search engines were based on the number of times a word was repeated. When doing a search, they traced those terms in their index to find out what pages they had in their texts, better positioning the one that had more times. Currently, they are more sophisticated and base their indexes on hundreds of different aspects. The date of publication, if they contain images, videos or animations, microforms, etc. They are some of those aspects. Now they give more priority to the quality of the content.

Once the pages are crawled and indexed, the time comes when the algorithm acts: algorithms are the computer processes that decide which pages appear before or after in the search results. Performed the search, the algorithms check in the indexes. This way they will know which are the most relevant pages taking into account the hundreds of positioning factors. And all this happens in a matter of milliseconds.

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