We can see the importance of search engines through our own lives; how often do you take to Google to answer a question? Search engines are behind a large portion of online traffic, which is why they are critical to bringing traffic to our web content.
These days, the internet is flooded with web pages making it difficult to weed through competition and rise to the top. Fortunately for content creators, optimizing content for the search engine’s algorithm is the very definition of SEO.
What is SEO?: SEO Definition
Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is the practice of generating organic website traffic by leveraging search engine algorithms and tools. Concerned with the user’s intent, SEO best practices look to get at the heart of what users search for, and in turn, answer their search queries.
Nothing beats organic traffic, which is traffic that is not the result of an ad. While ads require payment to keep running, SEO does not. Even better, Moz notes that SEO best practices generate around 20x more traffic opportunities than mobile and desktop pay-per-click ads.
When your site is SEO optimized, the returns can come back to you tenfold. As search engines become more advanced and skilled, SEO allows them to easily read and interpret your page. Essentially, SEO informs search engines on the page’s content, so it knows to recommend your page.
Understanding the Google Algorithm
To understand SEO best practices, it is important first to understand why they are in place. Over time, the Google algorithm has seen countless updates. While some updates are more significant than others, keeping a watchful eye on the algorithm will inform best practices and techniques.
The Google algorithm solves a problem: how do you best answer a user’s search query? WebFX explains that Google’s algorithm reads webpages and assigns them numerical values based on a set of programmed priorities. When a search query is entered, Google recommends relevant search engine result pages (SERPs) ranked by their internally assigned numerical values.
Essentially, the Google algorithm infers the searcher’s intent by reading their search keywords and supplying them with SERPs, which Google does a number of different ways through images, a “People Also Ask” section and others.
While the algorithm’s specifics are not made public, we know that keywords and naturally occurring links come into play. Along with optimizing webpages so the algorithm can easily read the page, these elements are key factors in making your web page one of the first search results.