How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

The world of SEO is full of so many different search engines, firms, opinions, and more. Google recommends one thing, Bing another, and then companies and message boards tell you not to believe it, and really the only way to rank is by doing this or that. SERPS, organic ranks, search marketing, algorithm updates, penalties, backlinks, colored hats and more… it can get overwhelming to try to figure out how search engine optimization works, and where to even begin. Here at Creative California, we work hard to make what we do clear and easy to understand, so here’s our quick breakdown of how it all works. How Does Search Engine Optimization  seo training

How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

Search Engine Optimization has its Foundation in Links

In the early days, the creators of search engines sought a way to index the pages of the internet, and to provide quality sites in response to a query. The thought was that the more times a site was linked to (called backlinks), the more reputable the site was, and thus the higher in the rankings it should be. Algorithms were developed to automate this process, and thus websites like Google were born. How Does Search Engine Optimization

The problem was, with how this was originally built, people caught on to the way it worked and began manipulating the algorithms to get the results they wanted. Many companies would build “link network” sites, whose sole purpose was to link other sites together, thus artificially raising the ranking of their member sites. Oftentimes, when you hired an SEO firm, you would be asked to create a links page on your site that listed other sites as “partners.”

How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

Google, primarily, has actively fought against these tricks (employed by what many call “black hat” companies), and have put an emphasis on quality content and public reputation. It has created many different new algorithms to help weed out these black hat tactics: Penguin to combat link building strategies, Panda to combat content that is geared strictly towards keyword ranking, the newer Pigeon for local results, and others. Bing and other search engines have slightly different approaches, but the foundations are often the same. How Does Search Engine Optimization

For a basic rundown on how search works from an engineer at Google, here’s a quick three-minute video discussing the very basics on how their search engine works:

How do search engines determine relevance and popularity?

To a search engine, relevance means more than finding a page with the right words. In the early days of the web, search engines didn’t go much further than this simplistic step, and search results were of limited value. Over the years, smart engineers have devised better ways to match results to searchers’ queries. Today, hundreds of factors influence relevance, and we’ll discuss the most important of these in this guide.

Search engines typically assume that the more popular a site, page, or document, the more valuable the information it contains must be. This assumption has proven fairly successful in terms of user satisfaction with search results.

Popularity and relevance aren’t determined manually. Instead, the engines employ mathematical equations (algorithms) to sort the wheat from the chaff (relevance), and then to rank the wheat in order of quality (popularity).

These algorithms often comprise hundreds of variables. In the search marketing field, we refer to them as “ranking factors.” Moz crafted a resource specifically on this subject: Search Engine Ranking Factors.

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