Introduction to SEO
What is SEO? SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s un-paid search results. The higher ranked and more frequent a site appears in a search results list, the more traffic it will receive. There are different kinds of search that SEO might target, local, video, academic, news, and industry specific vertical search engines.
SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for and the actual search terms or keywords they use on search engines. They know what search engines are preferred by a target audience. This isn’t much different than naming your company with a letter of the alphabet that would always show up first on an alphabetized list.
I was not an SEO specialist, so when l had to write an article on the subject, it entailed at lot of study. The truth about SEO is somewhere between two extreme beliefs. It is GOOD or it is BAD. Site owners began to realize the value of having their sites highly placed and visible in a search engine list. This started an opportunity for both good and bad practices.
Much of the controversy over SEO can be reduced to two fundamental truths.
Links Matter Most
This was Google’s innovation. This doesn’t mean that design, content tagging or keywords don’t matter, but a site that gets a lot of links can do well in spite of most shortcomings in other SEO elements. As long as your site gets lots of links, that should be what matters.
Content Matters Most
There are sites people want to link to and sites that people don’t want to link to..
SEO is controversial because those who produce content in the favorable sites think that SEO is all about scamming links for content in the content category. They think that the only legitimate approach is to produce site content in the link category.
More Controversy About SEO
It is known that there is controversy because linking is both a social activity and a network driven activity.
It is social, because you link to a site because you think it’s worthwhile to do so and the more you link to others, the more they link back to you.
It is network driven because linking tends to multiply exponentially. You link onto a site with high traffic, and get a lot of trackback, thus getting a lot of links.
Controversy for SEO seems to be about whether there is an imbalance between publisher and consumer, because SEO is judged on appearances. Some people just get lucky and happen to know someone with a site that has a high PR. This means that a site with no good information on it can land on the front page. This causes trust issues with the users.
A good SEO figures out how to balance a web design and marketing, that are not search friendly, with content that is engine friendly and cannot only be indexed, but will attract lots of attention.
Keyword density caused search engines to suffer from abuse and ranking manipulation, because a search engine is determined by its ability to produce the most relevant results.
Search engines had to adapt to ensure that their results page showed the most relevant results, rather than pages of unrelated sites full of stuffed keywords. Problem was, most users rarely go past the first two pages of a search. Everyone wanted to be on those first two pages.
Google attracted a loyal following of internet users because of its simple design. Off page factors (PageRank and hyperlink) were considered as well as on page factors (keyword frequency, Meta tags, headings, links and site structure). This enabled Google to avoid the kind of manipulation seen in search engines that only considered on page factors for their rankings. They also began personalizing search results for each user.
They announced a campaign against paid links that transfer PageRank. They punished sites whose websites were not unique, and penalized sites that manipulated techniques to improve their rankings on the search engine.
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