SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via ‘natural’ or un-paid ( ‘organic’ or ‘algotithmic’ ) search results.
Why is Search Engine Optimization important ?
Cornell University did an eye tracking experiment, basically tracking users eye movements and figuring out what part of the computer screen they looked when reviewing search results. The number one spot in the Google ranking received 56% of all the search traffic during this experiment. Page two of the search results was only visited rarely.
So, its pretty clear that Search Engine Optimization matters hugely, you should be striving to get as high as you can in the search results.
How do Search Engines work ?
Search Engines basically crawl the internet skimming text, image descriptions, meta data, page titles and URL’s. All this information is indexed as they go and then presented to you in a nice friendly format on the search engine results page.
Google uses PageRank to determine how important each page is, there are some complicated algorithms behind this which I am not going to get into here. Basically PageRank is a value of that page on the web, when page one links to page two, page one is effectively voting for page two. If page one is a very important page, that vote carries more weight and will therefore increase page two’s PageRank moving it higher up on the search engine results page.
So a link from RTE.ie would carry a lot more weight than a link from DmacMedia.ie, unfortunately.
So why don’t I just get all my friends to link to my website ?
Well, Google is not stupid. They know the quality of the link and they know if there are reciprocal links being passed between sites. There are websites out there that are dedicated to generating links commonly known as link farms. These are to be avoided, if Google finds a link to your site on one of these farms they will deduct points from your PageRank.
These are just a few things to think about for now. There’s more to follow…