Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I could give you a link here to some dry explanation of what SEO is on Wikipedia, but I won’t bore you. I’m going to break this down into very simple terms, to take some of the mystery and hocus pocus out of it.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The major search engines are Google, Bing, and Yahoo, with Google maintain getting the vast majority of the search engine traffic. For this explanation, I’m going to use Google for my example.
When someone types a term into the search box of Google, Google spits out a list of websites that they believe are relevant to your query. Google uses a multitude of parameters to determine what are the relevant sites, and ranks them based on these parameters.
Since most people don’t go past the first page of Google when they are searching for something, it should be the goal of any business to have their website rank on the first page of Google for their main keywords or search terms. So if you’re a plumber in Pasadena, you would want your site to appear on the first page of Google for Pasadena plumber, pasadena plumbing, pasadena plumbing contractor, pasadena plumbers, etc.
In order to achieve 1st page rankings on Google, your site needs to be search engine optimized (SEO). While Google doesn’t tell us exactly all the parameters they look at when ranking sites, we do know some of them… and they keep changing as Google continues to try to get the best results for their customers.
Basically, there are on-site factors that need to be in place to make the search engines notice you, and there are off-site factors.
We know what these on-site factors are, and include them in all of our web designs. We can also take an existing site and SEO it.
The off-site factors get a bit trickier. In a nutshell, Google looks at how popular your site is with other sites on the web. They think of a link on another site pointing back to your site (backlink) as a popularity vote, and the more popularity votes (backlinks) you get from other sites, the higher they’ll rank your site. They also look at how popular the site that’s linking to you is and will weigh a more popular site’s (high Page Rank – PR) backlinks more heavily than from a nerdy, non-popular site.
So one of the most important off site factors in SEO is to build backlinks to your site. There are a wide variety of ways to do this, some more effective than others.