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What the heck is SEO ?

Posted by: Narayan Sapkota

That’s the same thing I asked when I was first told about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) during the course of work. I did a bit of my own research, read blogs and journals and tried to get as much information on it as possible from the available sources in the internet. So, if you’re looking for definitive guidelines to better search engine optimizations, you probably won’t find it on this post but if you want to read about what a novice learned, you’ve come to the right place. The questions you should be asking are

SEO? What’s that? Is it important? Should you continue reading? YES!

Ever wondered how Google, Bing, Yahoo! or some other search engines miraculously find whatever you are looking for on the web, auto complete your search queries, give you other relevant search results and help you efficiently navigate through the huge maze of information that is the Internet where you could easily get tangled and tricked (they don’t call it the world wide web for nothing). There are over 6 Trillion individual webpages in the internet all craving for your attention. Its upto search engines to find the most suitable information for you and upto webpages to help search engines give you suitable information. And the process how websites design themselves to make them search engine friendly, suitable for crawling and indexing and comply with search engine guidelines and standards without putting barriers that would otherwise hamper its discoverability is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

There are a number of things that we need to understand before we get the whole SEO picture in our minds. Understanding how searches work form the basic step. The location from where the search was made, browsing history of the device from which the search is being made and even the version of the search engine used influence search results. Search engines like Google use “crawling and indexing” where they follow links through page to page, sort the pages by their content and other factors and then keep track of it in the index. Google doesnt accept payments to crawl a site more frequently and if somebody offers to “help your site get crawled because they’re an agent of Google”, you’re probably getting ripped off. Algorithms and formulas are then used to pull out the most suitable results from the indices and are displayed according to their ranks. Keywords are other factors that would determine a website’s hit rate. Keywords are basically keys that unlock a website into search results. Search engines usually find stuff on the internet based on the correlations between keywords present in your query and the resultant webpage (although this trend is getting sidelined).

Once you get a general idea on how searches work, you may want to make your website search friendly so that your customers and stakeholders can easily find you through search engines. That’s where the SEO part comes in and mind you, there is no ‘one best method’ for search engine optimization. Different people follow different schools of thought for optimization, have contrasting methods and have varied ideas on how it should be done and will show you proven results as well. I’m a newbie in this particular sector and do not have the experience to call myself a SEO Warrior/Knight/Ninja but from what I’ve learned and read and seen, SEO can be both fun ball game to play and extremely delicate chess maneuver at the same time.

As emphasized earlier, there is no basic template to SEO, so, what worked for you 2 years ago will and has become obsolete. Extreme optimizations with keywords, keywords and more keywords that would rather suit a robot’s search query than a human’s isn’t the way to go now . Responsive design and quick loads are the in-things now, if your website doesn’t suit my phone-screen, I won’t visit it. Backlinks are the highway of the internet. Building online relationships that would get you backlinks and you providing outward links is of the healthiest methods used for search engine optimizations. Recent trends suggest that old school internet marketing is now getting replaced by content marketing. So it’s time to get verbose and decrease bounce rates on your website when visitors do visit. Along the line social media integration and engagement have now become measuring rods for a webpage’s popularity, so whoever ignores social media will in turn be ignored by the social media.

SEO has been around for long and also been used as healthy tool for web marketing and directing traffic towards oneself by large number of websites. There may be many approaches to getting your site optimized but as CEO of SoftNEP says “Common Sense: Thats what is needed the most for Search Engine Optimization”.

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