Search Engine Optimization a.k.a SEO [Part 1]

by Goran Kovačić, April 15th, 2020

After countless hours of hard work, your shiny new website is ready to take on the world! Or is it now? How are you going to show it to the world? All that blood, sweat and tears and you can't even display it to your audience... You didn't think that happens all by itself now, did you?

That was a major mistake. You see, SEO isn't some band-aid that you plaster on your website that makes everything OK. It requires planning ahead of acting. Best practices include SEO implementation in their web design for the best digital marketing results.

Nothing is lost, you just need to get back to the drawing board and be prepared to do some adjustments to your website. It will take time. And probably money. But look at it as a long term investment that will eventually pay off.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website to get organic (un-paid) traffic from the search engine results page.

In short:

SEO is used to improve the site’s ranking in the non-paid section of the search results page. Here's a graphic for all you visual thinkers:

The main benefit of good SEO is, you've guessed it, free traffic. Free traffic equals profit. And everybody loves themselves some good old profit.

How do search engines work?

Now that we've figured what SEO is, let's figure out how search engines work. The most popular search engine in the world is, and probably always will be Google.

When you search Google (or any other search engine) for something, an algorithm works in real-time to bring you what the search engine considers the "best" result.

Aw snap! There are hundreds of billions of pages it has to scan in order to filter out the most relevant ones, how does Google determine the "best" result?

The answer is relevancy.

Relevancy

Google searches for relevant keywords used on web pages. For example, if you search for "pizza dough recipes", you won't get "My Little Pony" search results. I'm just talking off the top of my head, no idea how I came up with that one.

Anyway, the search results page displays the "pizza dough recipes" results, great! But how does Google determine which pizza dough recipe is ranked first on the search results page?

To sort that out, Google relies on a few other elements of its algorithm.

Authority

Content that is accurate and trustworthy has more authority. Very simple.

How does Google know if a page is authoritative?

The answer is "backlinks". Backlinks (also known as inbound links, incoming links or one way links) are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks votes for a specific page. Pages with a high number of backlinks tend to have high organic (un-paid) search engine rankings.

In short, the number of links on the page determines how the page will be ranked.

Usefulness

A page may be relevant and authoritative but that doesn't make it useful. There is a difference between "high-quality content" and "useful" content.

Let's say you search for "calisthenic workouts". After all, a healthy mind in a healthy body.

Result A is written by an expert calisthenics trainer. Since the page has a lot of high-quality content, many people have linked to it (backlinks). However, the content is completely unorganized and a complete mess.

Result B is written by a fairly new calisthenics enthusiast which doesn't have as many backlinks. However, Result B's content is well organized and it doesn't use that professional mumbo-jumbo lingo no one understands. Because of those reasons, Result B will rank high in the search results, maybe even higher than Result A, even though it doesn't have as much thrust and authority as Result A.

Conclusion

When building web pages, write content with which people can relate and understand. Make them love it. Search engines are designed to measure different signals across the Web so they can find websites that people like the most.

These were the very basics of SEO. You now have an understanding of what SEO is and how search engines work. I'll be covering the theme more in-depth in the next parts.

You've noticed the [Part 1] in the title, right? :3

About the author:
Goran Kovačić
Frontend Developer & UI/UX Designer
The ninja. Proud owner of four cats. Avid Rocket League player and a sports junkie. Likes wolves. Dislikes talking about himself. Apparently isn't able to write a longer author bio.
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