SEO for Beginners – How Search Engines Work

There is a lot of information out there about Search Engine Optimization.  Professionals toss around a lot of technical jargon that only makes sense to other pros.  For the non-professional hoping to modify a business website to increase traffic, it can all seem very confusing.  It really isn’t though.  When you strip away the technical talk, SEO is really all about common sense.  Really, optimizing your website is a lot easier than you might think.

Of course, the easiest way to optimize your sight is to use the services of a competent and reputable Search Engine Marketing consultant.  Going pro will save you a lot of time and frustration.  For a large business this is definitely the way to go.

However, don’t be discourage from trying your hand at SEO.  Tinker around with your company’s site.  If traffic doesn’t increase and you aren’t happy with the results, you can always hire on a professional later.

When we say SEO is really a lot simpler than you might think, we mean it.  You don’t have to be a brilliant programmer (though that helps).  You don’t even have to completely grasp the intricate algorithms that search engines use to sort and rank websites (though, again, that can be helpful).  You only need a basic understanding of how search engines work and how your customers think.

So, let’s start with discussing how search engines do what they do, namely providing us with lists of websites that are relevant to our interests, presented in order of relevancy.  If you are already breaking into a nervous sweat, don’t.  This isn’t quantum physics, it’s just good sense.  Really, there are only two basic concepts you really need to understand: how spiders crawl the web and how search engines match keywords/phrases to specific pages on a website.

When we talk about search engine spiders we aren’t talking about tiny little eight-legged creepy-crawlies skittering through cyberspace (though, admittedly, that would be pretty cool).  Search engine spiders are simply scripts, also referred to as “bots”, that are built to follow links from one to the next throughout a website and the entirety of the internet.  These scripts are running around the clock, scouring the web to create a virtual roadmap that search engines can use to decide not just what sites are relevant to users searching for specific words and phrases, but also which ones are most relevant.

Obviously, spiders are a pretty important concept to understand (so important that we will devote the entire next installment to the subject).  Ultimately, you are trying to make your site as easy for search engine spiders to crawl.  That isn’t enough though, if the information gathered by the spider doesn’t tell the search engine that your site is important.

What makes a site important?  Keep in mind that search engines thrive on presenting users with successfully presenting users with the information they want quickly and easily.  Search engines are built with the user in mind, so you should build your site the same way.  It’s all about relevancy.  Make your site relevant to the interests of the consumers you are trying to reach!