What is SEO part 1

SEO or search engine optimisation is the art of optimising or making a web page readable by search engine spiders, who, once informed of your websites existence, will periodically visit your site and take a snapshot of your pages also known as an ‘index’. In order for the search engine to understand what your page or snapshot is all about it needs to put those snapshots in to a filing system and organise them in such a way to reference them quickly. Why do they need to reference them? Well actually they don’t, who references them is actually a user that types a search term in to the search engine.

So, once a user types a search term into the search engine how does it know which page out of 100’s, 1000’s, millions or billions of pages to serve up to match the term? Enter SEO! Onsite or on-page SEO refers to parts of the page like the URL or website address, the title of the page, the description of the page, the keywords (however, word on the street is that keywords are not relevant to Google anymore but some search engines still use them so, it doesn’t harm to put them in your page anyway). There is also a sub reference for search engines to hook on to and that is the content of your page. These things are html elements like heading tags, paragraph tags, anchor tags (hyperlinks), title tags, image title tags and image alt tags.

So why SEO? Well consider it a way of connecting your pages to users looking for your terms  – it’s as simple as that. Imagine you had a shoe box full of old family photos, the only way to find an old picture of great Grandfather Richmond is to sift through the lot until you find one but, you find a couple of dozen old photos of someone who looks like him and you can’t be sure if it is him?! Wouldn’t it be much simpler to have catalogued each photo in a category or tag it with a keyword? Shyeah! I reckon so all you need to do is look up ‘family’ ‘grand parent’ and ‘richmond’ bingo you find what you need. So first you need to catalogue each image with titles, keywords, dates and other information that is directly related to the subject. The same goes for website pages, if you get the right information on them, the ‘indexing’ process will make it much easier for the search engine to serve up the results to a searcher.

Google uses over 200 scoring factors to determine if a page is relevant to the search term being searched by a user. Only some of the elements above are considered in the onsite SEO, other factors include how many links are pointing to a page from external websites, the quality of the external site, how many times a user has clicked a link to your page from the search engine page results, how long a user has been on your page, how many times a pages has been referenced on social networks… and many more, with over 200 factors, nobody really knows the full list.

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