Search Engine Optimization Overview

search engine optimization

The importance of search engine optimization can not be stressed enough. High rankings on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and the others ranks among your top priorities when putting yourself or your business online. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is exactly how you do this.

The first thing you need to know about search engine optimization is what search engines are exactly and how they work. Frankly, I have no idea. From what I've heard and from what I've observed, Google and its inner workings rank up there with the greatest inventions of all time. It might even possibly be a greater invention than the entire universe.

Kidding. Just seeing if you're with me.

All we really need to know is that search engines have a little spider, or bot (short for robot) that goes out nightly or daily or whenever and scans sites on the internet. In the case of Google it's "Googlebot," while Yahoo! 'S robot is called "Slurp!" and MSN uses "MSNbot."

These little bots go to your site and "read it" in much the same way as a human does, left to right, top to bottom. What these robots find they bring back to the "mothership," the search engine database. If Googlebot finds your site about kittens, it will report the site, its location (URL), its contents, etc. to Google's database where it is stored. When someone then does a search through Google for kittens, Google looks to its own database for search results. This is what makes search engines so fast. All the searches you do call upon data already in the search engine's database, not from a brand new search of the entire internet.

There is something else to mention as well. Search engine bots will search your site whenever they darn well feel like it. You can go to Google and tell it to search your site by telling it basically that you exist, giving it your URL, etc. That does not mean Google will go check it out right that instant or even that night. In fact, sometimes it takes weeks or months for Googlebot to actually go and sniff out your site. And when it does all it means is that you are now in Google's database which is HUGE. You may not even show up in Google's listings for a while.

That's where Search Engine Optimization comes in. Search Engine Optimization has two purposes really.

To make the search engine bots happy by providing them relevant information,

To make the search engine bots happy enough to place you high up on search rankings.

See, Google and Yahoo! and all the search engines make money on relevant searches. If every time someone searches for kites Google comes up with a bunch of pages on iguanas, nobody is going to use Google anymore as the results just are not accurate. This explains a couple things: what the bots are looking for when they sniff your site (good and relevant content), and why search engines will penalize you, sometimes for life, if you try to fool them.

We'll get to all this in the next few pages, but suffice it to say now that the bots are looking for tasty subject matter, good writing, relevant content, etc. If you want to know how to really make Googlebot happy, give it what you'd give any human visitor to your site. Think of Googlebot as your best friend and design with him in mind.


search engine optimization

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