The World Wide Web is a vast place, and it’s easy to see how one person or company can get lost in the shuffle. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play.
SEO helps your business website rank higher on search engines, so potential customers will find you faster when they’re searching for something specific. It also helps ensure that your content shows up in social media feeds more often, leading to more visitors coming from those sources. But, how does SEO actually work? A lot of people are always asking, “How does search engine optimization work?” It’s not an easy question to answer, but it is essential that you know the basics.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engine optimization involves optimizing your website for the search engine you want to rank for, whether Google, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, or YouTube.
In other words, your goal is to make sure a search engine sees your website as the best overall result. The “best” result is based on an algorithm that considers things like authority, relevance, loading speed, and more. Google, for example, uses over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. As a result, many people associate “search engine optimization” with “Google SEO.” So, in this guide, we will focus on optimizing your site for Google.
Search engines like Google and Bing use crawlers or spiders to collect information regarding all the content on the internet. Crawlers begin at a known web page and follow internal links to pages within that site and external links to pages on other sites. As the crawler reads the content of those pages and follows the links, it can determine what each page is about and how it is semantically related to all the other pages within the search engine’s immense database, called an index.
The search engine pulls out the most accurate and valuable list of results for a user’s query using complex algorithms when a question is typed or spoken into the search box. Organic results can include text-based pages, news articles, videos, images, local business listings, and other more niche types of content.
Search engines’ algorithms take into account a wide range of factors, and those factors evolve continuously as user behavior changes and machine learning advances.
Organic Results versus Paid Results
There are two distinct sections on search engine result pages: organic results and paid results.
- Organic Search Results
The organic search results, also known as the “natural” results, are ranked based on their merits alone. So, you can’t pay Google or other search engines to rank higher in organic search results.
Google ranks organic search results based on hundreds of ranking factors. However, Google considers organic results to be the most trustworthy, authoritative, and relevant websites.
Companies use organic search to boost their site’s visibility in search engine results. In contrast, users can pay to get a prominent spot in search results with paid search. For now, the most important thing to remember is- in “SEO,” we mean ranking your website higher in organic search results.
- Paid Results
A paid search result is an ad that appears above organic results. Paid listings are entirely separate from organic listings. The paid results section ranks advertisers based on their willingness to pay per click (pay per click advertising) for a particular set of search results.