Search Engine Basics and SEO Techniques

To understand SEO, it is very important to understand how search engines work. Let's take a look at the basics first. Every search engine works on a logical sequence known as an algorithm. There are various phases in the execution of a search query. These include Crawling, Indexing, Query Processing and Ranking.

A search engine crawler (many times called spiders) traverses the internet and collects webpages. Typically, it's a farm of crawlers. They search URLs and deposit them to a content repository. This is an ongoing process. The next step performed by a search engine is indexing. The indexers build an index of all the pages that were brought in by the crawlers, based on very specific rules. This index is then segregated and rankings are given to each site in the index, using PageRank algorithm, HITS algorithm and the like. Finally, when the user enters a query for the search engine, the Query processor reads through the database and computes the relevancy of the documents and returns a result with maximum relevancy ranked as first.

Having that as a background, let us see how SEO techniques help us harness the potential of search engines and derive its benefits for our online business. SEO is – in very simple language – a method to help your website rank amongst the top results displayed by a search engine thus increasing the number of visitors landing on your website hence increasing the probability of converting them into customers. This in turn increases profitability of your online business. Now, one important point to remember is – these are not tricks to tweak the search algorithm, but are carefully thought of techniques to assist you in obtaining a higher rank.

  1. It's important to select the best fit keywords for your site, as atleast 30% of the traffic to your website comes from endusers who search products / services by punching in keywords in popular search engines. These keywords must be appropriately placed throughout the content of your website. Do not over do it – that will pose a risk of a SPAM label on your website.
  2. Choose a domain name that contains the keyword. This will help search engines to spot you amongst millions of others.
  3. Titles are important too. Ensure that every page has a title with your keywords included. The Meta description tag should appropriately contain the keywords too. This is usually taken from the first few sentences of your content.
  4. Meta Keyword tags are disputed whether search engines actually use them or not. You would rather take the benefit of doubt and put them there anyways. And ensure keyword inclusion.
  5. Robots tag ensures that the crawlers index your page. Other than that the search engine is also looking for your Author tag where name of your company is a must. This is one of the major contributors in page rankings.
  6. Quality content is the key to building a good website where visitors who land on your page don't just pass-by but stay and go through your products and services.
  7. Static Pages take preference over dynamic ones, however there are some methods where dynamic pages can be made to refer to one link and hence increase it's probability in getting indexed and hence ranked in search engine results.
  8. Some search engines can't trace frames. This goes against the programmer's philosophy – enabling developers to call known routines from databases and hence increase the speed in loading and browsing webpages. This can be worked around with SEO methodologies.
  9. Site Maps, Themes and Design are contributors too. Do not neglect these – no technique is less important than another.

These are to name just a few. There are SEO consultants who can help you with the exact implementations.

The most important rule of thumb is, follow guidelines sincerely, do not discard any option as being unimportant, you never know what will work for which customer. Customer base being a dynamic entity, it makes it even more more difficult. Some customers may land on your page and leave it just because they did not like the "look" of it, for some it would be incomprehendable content. So, if you have invested precious time and money on developing a perfect website for your business, make it worth while by incorporating appropriate SEO techniques to make it visible to audience at large. You will see the results for yourself!

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