If you have a web presence or are in the process of trying to create one, you are probably familiar with the term SEO.
SEO or search engine optimization is the practice of implementing a variety of techniques with the goal of increasing search engine traffic to your site. The ultimate goal of SEO is that it results in the page gaining high placement when people use search engines like Google. While you can direct some traffic to your sites in other ways, such as with social media or paid advertisements, the majority of potential traffic comes from search engines. For this reason, SEO is extremely important.
When people use a search engine such as Google to find something, Google attempts to retrieve sites in the order it believes they will be most relevant to the searcher. Rather than retrieving all relevant sites and displaying them in a random order, search engines use a specific algorithm to determine the order the sites will be displayed. This algorithm judges sites on many factors including content, relevance, popularity, and authority.
When someone types a word or phrase into the search bar, they are matched with sites that Google feels will most likely be relevant to the user’s query. But how does Google decide this?
Of course, content is extremely important. Google will judge your content based on naturally occurring keywords (rather than ones used in a spammy, repetitive fashion) as well as readability. How relevant and useful will it be to the user?
Google will also judge sites based on popularity. Even if multiple sites exactly match what the user is searching for, Google doesn’t consider them to be equally useful to the user. Google will rank a site which regularly brings in a large number of visitors over a site which has not had many visitors, which gives a significant advantage to more established sites. This is because a site with regular traffic has proved to Google that it is useful.
So if you are just starting out, gaining popularity can be difficult. You can, however, improve ranking through sites who have authority.
Many sites have gained a strong reputation in the eyes of search engines due to its relevance and many years of frequent visitors, proving itself to be useful to users. They have gained authority and Google considers them to be a trustworthy site. So when sites like these use links directing to other sites, they are basically informing google that they believe it is a good, relevant site that they vouch for. Since Google trusts their authority, Google will consider the site to be more relevant.
SEO is extremely important for gaining traffic to a site. Good SEO can be very time consuming and a lot of work, usually requiring a lot trial and error. While it can be difficult to establish great SEO, it will likely prove to be a worthwhile investment.