What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process or science (and sometimes an art in itself) of maximizing the visibility of websites in search engines, in the results they generate and getting the optimum level of relevant traffic directed to one’s site, thus the word optimization is used. This involves a lot more than one would have guessed, from the way that a site is structured, the manner in which it connects to other websites, to the words used in the main areas of the website.
It is common knowledge and now statistically proven that the higher up or earlier a website appears on a search engine’s results page, the more traffic it is likely to get from the users of that search engine. The second factor to influence traffic is the frequency of appearance on the results page, or how many times a certain website appears on a search engine’s results page. The primary or basic goal of search engine optimization is to maximize both these aspects of appearance to direct more traffic towards a website from a search engine.
Search engines use internet bots called ‘crawlers’ or ‘spiders’ to index websites on the World Wide Web and keep their indexes updated. This process is called crawling or to put it in easier terms, crawling is the process of reading and cataloging websites on the internet. In collaboration with these spiders, algorithms are written to generate results from the indexes created by these internet spiders. The process or methods through which, firstly, a website is made easier to index for a search engine’s spiders and secondly, made as responsive as possible to the algorithms of the search engine, is what a large part of search engine optimization is all about.
Remember, SEO deals with improving the ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ results that a search engine generates for one’s website. Organic here means that the results are not optimized through paying the search engine as is done in ad-based optimization to get paid or sponsored results, which involves the different set of strategies or tactics, as well as payment. That is another search engine marketing methodology altogether.
Before we move on towards understanding how SEO achieves the above mentioned objectives for a website, let us look into a more basic question – why does a website need SEO, to begin with?