How Does SEO Work?
Are you wondering how SEO works? Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short) is the process of making web pages easier for search engines to recognize. So how does SEO work? Well, when a search engine peers into the depths of the Internet, it uses specialized software called a web-crawler. This software, as the name would suggest, meticulously explores a web page, keeping track of things it finds and storing them for a later comparison to other web sites. What is it looking at? Basically four things:
- Meta Tags Hidden in the HTML code of a website are a number of chosen meta tags. These are like keywords, only chosen by the web designer or content manager expressly to tell the search engine what the Website is all about. Consequently, the are usually the first thing the search engine reads and the most common way the engine guesses at the page's contents.
- Page Titles and File Names In addition to keywords, page titles and file names are taken into consideration by Google and Bing. Files on a web page, such as images, documents, and videos are evaluated as another type of keyword. Even the name of the page itself it taken into consideration. After all, to a computer, a web page is just another file.
- Keywords Of course, search engines don't trust webmasters. SEO works because search engines do their own homework about the content of a website. Web crawlers creep down the copy of the site, reading it and counting how often certain words are repeated. If a word is repeated often enough, the search engine will consider it a keyword and use it to match that site to the search entered into its engine. Google and other search engines prevent abuse of this method by monitoring the ratio of keywords to the total number of words on the page. It looks like a word has been repeated just for the sake of being repeated, they'll know.
- Inbound Links SEO works like grade school; its all a popularity contest. When deciding just how high they want to place a web page, search engines see how popular a Website is already. They do this not by counting the number of "hits" the site receives, but rather by seeing how many other websites link to it. It everyone else thinks that this site is where the party is at, then it must be a high quality content site. This is how websites at the top of the list tend to stay there.
This should give you a clue as how SEO works in the most basic sense. The proportional importance of each of these elements is always changing as search engines find new and better ways of sorting the limitless information on the Internet. For the average user, SEO allows them to surf with confidence they are getting relevant information from their search engine. For webmasters, SEO is a valuable tool for translating their know-how into visablity.