Search engine optimization is the process of maximizing the number and quality of visitors to a website through techniques like keyword research, content marketing, link building, and website performance optimization. Search engines like Google are the gatekeepers to a huge percentage of global online activity, and having an optimized site is key for any business or organization that wants to grow their reach and revenue.
When you perform a search on Google, Bing or another search engine, the results that show up are based on a complex set of algorithms that determine what pages should be displayed based on relevance and authority, among other factors. To accomplish this, search engines use crawlers that “scan” the web for content and create an index of all the billions of web pages that exist. Then when someone searches, the index is retrieved and sorted so that the most relevant pages surface first.
These algorithms look at a lot of different factors, including the topical relevance of the page, the page’s keywords, how often other pages on your website link to the page, and the website (domain) that the page belongs to. Search engines also evaluate how users interact with results, and this information feeds back into the algorithm as a factor that helps to predict whether a particular page will be relevant for a query.
The best way to optimize for search engines is by creating and maintaining high-quality content that answers questions, solves problems, or entertains your audience. This will not only help to establish you as an expert in your field, but it will also provide valuable information to people who are searching for the products and services that you offer.
Search engines like Google reward websites that have a good user experience, which encompasses things like usability, functionality, design, and more. By making sure that your site is easy to navigate, well-organized, and contains useful, valuable information, you can send a positive signal to search engines that will impact your ranking.
On-page optimization refers to all the activities that you can control on your own website to improve its SEO. These include things like optimizing your URL, title tag, and meta description to incorporate relevant keywords, updating the text tagged on images to be more search-friendly (called alt text), and improving the structure of your website and its pages. It’s also important to stay up-to-date on emerging trends and technologies in search, so that you can remain competitive and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. For example, responsive design is now more important than ever before, as it ensures that your site provides a great user experience on all devices.