What Is SEO? Why Does It Matter? And Why You Should Care
The What and Why of SEO: Analyzing the Importance of SEO and Why Every Website and Business Owner Should Opt for SEO
While browsing the web, you may have used Google, Bing, or any other search engine to find the website or answers you are looking for. After typing in your search query, you may have ended up with millions of results. There would probably be hundreds and thousands of pages (called Search Engine Results Page or SERP), each containing around 10 results. But have you ever flipped to the second page? This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in.
The thing is, over Google or Bing, people usually get what they are looking for on the first page itself. Heck, most don’t even browse beyond the top 2 or 3 results. Why then does the search engine throw up so many results?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can increase the number of consumers finding your business’s website via Google Bing, and other major search engines. If a potential customer is using a search engine to find what they need online, SEO will ensure that you appear in their search results – Hopefully in the first couple of results.
Let’s First Understand what a Search Engine is
While browsing through a popular website, you may have noticed a ‘Search’ box on every page. It allows you to find what you are looking for on the website. It is especially useful when the website has several pages. You don’t need to browse through every page to find a small piece of text. Simply type it in the search box and it will take you there.
A search engine is just like a website. The only difference is that it contains information about every other website posted over the internet. After you type in your search query, it pulls up all the relevant websites that it could lay its hands on to show you millions of results.
Now, why do Search Engines Throw Up so many Results?
The ‘internet’ is a global network that operates without a central governing body. This means that anyone with access to the internet and with a relevant platform can upload, post, write, rewrite, dump, delete any kind of information. For instance, if you believe that the Sun moves around the Earth, you can simply build a website, pick a domain, and state your theory as fact. And if someone types ‘Sun’ or ‘Earth’ over a search engine, your website will be included in the millions of results.
However, your website definitely won’t be displayed on the first page. That is because it doesn’t contain the right information. So, how does a search engine know the difference between right and wrong? How does it know how to rank websites/pages over the SERP? Does it employ a hundred thousand people just to verify the information on every page of every website?
So How do Search Engines Analyze Every Website?
To make things easier, let us go with Google to understand how search engines work. Google uses a system called Googlebot to analyze every page of every website. Googlebot is basically a horde of programming bots (also known as spiders, crawlers, robots) that do the work of assessing the content on a website at a quick-fire pace. They can go through literally thousands of pages in the blink of an eye.
Have these Bots been Programmed to Know the Difference between Right and Wrong?
No! They haven’t been fed with all the right information that the world has to offer. Google would need a massive storage unit for each bot if that were to happen. And the crawlers can’t know the moral difference since they are not humans. We don’t have that kind of technology yet.
So How the Heck do these Bot things Rank the Websites with the Right Content Higher than those with the Wrong Content?
Imagine that you are an Astrophysicist. You have conducted a series of observations, experiments, and calculations to reach the conclusion that the Earth is round (let us assume that the popular belief is that the Earth is flat).
You publish your theory in a small-time science magazine. A handful few subscribers may read it, and fewer still might understand its importance, but it won’t make your theory globally accepted. You will definitely acquire a few supporters, however. The word will gradually spread and some important intellectual might recommend your work to be published in a reputed magazine.
Many more will start supporting you this time around. Eventually, your theory will catch the attention of the brightest minds in the world. They will refer it to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). After your meeting with IAU’s board of directors, your theory will be formally recognized. Thus, you will have made your way to the top.
Throughout this journey, you already had a unique idea. All you needed was support and references. Similar is the case with a website. If you have a unique business idea, you will need support from other websites. The Google crawlers will count the number of references and rank your website accordingly. The more the number of websites that refer you, the higher will your rank be.
How can Websites Refer and Support one another?
References and recommendations in the virtual world are not made through word of mouth. Hyperlinks are used for the purpose. Say you own a website that sells baby products. There is another guy who writes about pregnancy and child care on his blog. If he wishes to refer your website, he will simply add a link back to your website within one of his articles. The Google bots will consider that as a valid reference and improve the rank of your website.
Back to your Previous Example, what if I Directly Approach the IAU?
Well, you can try. But they will barely glance at your proposal. In the virtual world, the IAU’s counterpart is any government website. You know a website is controlled by the government if its URL ends with .gov or .edu. If you get a link back from even a single one of these websites, it might be enough to place you right at the top. But they won’t simply give away a backlink if you ask for it. You will have to work your way up by gathering less significant references.
So that’s it? References and Right Information will take me to the Top of SERPs?
In essence, yes, that is all. After getting a web host, domain name, and a website, all you need to do is fill it with the right content, gather quite a few relevant backlinks, and you might just get to the top. However, your chances of ending up at the peak are low to the point of being negligible.
Many websites have the right content, and much more have credible references, and thousands of owners are fighting for the top spot. That is why quality and ingenuity matters. Is your content free from grammatical errors? What makes your website different from others? Has it been designed well? Is it user-friendly? Can a layman navigate the website easily? Does it have the right number of keywords? Is the internal structure of the website flawless? Have you added meta tags and descriptions? Do you have enough relevant backlinks to get you going?
This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into the picture. You may have a website and a business idea, but implementation requires expertise. You will need a creative writer to weave your idea into captivating articles, a keyword specialist to target certain relevant and in-demand keywords and sprinkle them throughout your website, a guest posting wizard to increase the number of quality backlinks, an off-page SEO expert, and a meticulous analyst to track the progress of your website at regular intervals.
A comprehensive SEO specialist offers all these services, and then some. With the right SEO specialist handling your website, the results will be apparent in a week or two. You won’t directly start ruling the roost, but you will gradually climb the steep steps, and the specialist will help you through it.
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