SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of optimizing search content through organic search results in search engines.
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But how do you optimize your content for SEO and which “ranking factor” is really important?To answer that, we first need to understand how search engines work.
How search engines work
Search engines are like libraries in the digital age.
Instead of saving copies of books, they store copies of web pages.
When you type a query into a search engine, it searches all pages on its index and tries to return the most relevant results.
No one knows how these algorithms work, but at least we have clues from Google.
Here is what they say on their “How Search Works” page:
To give you the most useful information, search algorithms show you a number of things, including the words in your query, the relevance and usability of pages, the efficiency of sources, and your location and settings. The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query – for example, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering questions on current news topics than in dictionary definitions.
Speaking of Google, most of our search engines use it for at least web search. Because it has the most reliable algorithm so far.
That said, there are many more search engines that you can optimize for
Learn more about this in our guide to how search engines work.
How SEO works
Simply put, SEO works by showing search engines that your content captures the best results for the subject.
This is because the goal of all search engines is the same: to show the best, most relevant results to their users.
How you do it depends on the search engine you’re optimizing for.
If you want more organic traffic to your web pages, you need to understand and take care of Google’s algorithm. If you want more video feedback, this is about YouTube’s algorithm.
Since each search engine has a different ranking algorithm, it is impossible to cover them in this guide.
So, going forward, we will focus on how to rank them in the biggest search engine of all: Google.
Google has a market share of ~ 92%. That’s why it pays to optimize your website for Google instead of Bing, Dakdakgo or any other web search engine.
How to optimize for Google
Google famously uses more than 200 ranking factors.
Even in 2010 there were about 10,000 conversations here.
No one knows the reason for all these rankings, but we do know a few of them
How? Google told us, and many people, including us, have studied the various factors and the interrelationships between Google rankings.
We will discuss a few of these shortly. But first an important point:
Google ranks web pages, not web sites.
Simply creating stained glass windows for your business does not mean that every page of your site should be ranked “Stained Glass Windows” for search.
You can rank for different pages and for different keywords and topics.
Let me now talk about some of the things that affect ranking and search engine visibility.
Before Google even considers ranking your content, you need to know this first.
Google uses a variety of methods to discover new content on the web, but the initial method is crawling. Simply put, crawling is where Google follows links to pages that they already know about people they haven’t seen before.
To do this, they use a computer program called a spider.
Suppose your homepage has a backlink to a website that is already on Google’s index.
The next time they crawl that site, they will follow that link to discover your website’s homepage and probably add it to their index.
From there, they will crawl links to your homepage to find other pages on your site.
That said, there are some things that can block Google’s crawlers:
Poor internal links: Google relies on internal links to crawl all pages on your site. Pages without internal links are not often crawled.
Noflooded Internal Links: Internal links with noflo tags will not be crawled by Google.
Noindexed Pages: You can exclude pages from Google’s index using the Noindex meta tag or the HTTP header. If other pages on your site only contain internal links from non-indexed pages, chances are that Google won’t find them.