What is Search Engine Optimization?
Few internet users are fully aware of all that goes into the results page they view after performing a search. The complex mechanisms which govern what they see when looking for information or products is the result of two activities. The first is by search engines, like Google, who analyze each website to extract key elements used to give it a rank. This can mean the difference between popularity and obscurity, as low ranked sites are not visible on the first page of results, meaning they will get fewer visitors and less customers.
From these search engine activities, the second factor of marketing seo services, or search engine optimization developed. This is the designing of a website in such a way that makes it come out in the top returned search results, preferably the first page, when Google or other search engines are used to find information. This is achieved by various techniques such as careful placement of words and key phrases, hyperlinks, meta tags, images, links and HTML and other forms of coding.
Google and Yahoo are the two best known search engines, a part of popular culture now the expression to “Google” a person or product has become commonplace. Estimates of just how many searches are performed every day vary, but with the rise of internet availability and use, the figures are well into the billions. When a search for the any information is performed, search engines take the information an internet user provides and compares it with its own data, then gives back results showing the sites most likely to contain useful information by matching some or all of the words entered in the search box.
Data is collected by search engines using spiders, highly complex automated programs which read all the information on a website and then assign it a rank. The spider downloads it onto its own servers, and through a process described as crawling, who take all the relevant information on site to be cataloged by another program called an indexer. They work constantly updating search results by adding new data and start again as soon as one cycle of scanning is finished. Search engines use programs known as algorithms to rate the information they gather, the details of which are highly guarded secrets within the industry.
A huge industry of SEO advisors and providers has developed to help companies gain web presence, a term meaning their sites are search engine friendly, and consistently are found in the top results on returned searches. They may be involved from the design stages of a website or take an existing page and totally re-write it from scratch, using the content of the company in such a way that gets it higher ratings.
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A huge market, fraught with scams and other questionable techniques, which will be discussed below, has opened up for companies who perform seo company los angeles ca for clients who often do not understand the mechanisms involved. SEO Webmasters submit the URL (web address) of the site they have optimized to the search engines, so they can send out a spider to analyze it. SEO experts analyze the patents that search engines apply for, when registering their specially designed algorithms, to try to find hints of how they operate in a drive to give their own techniques, or companies, the advantage in a very competitive business.
A History of SEO
The technique of SEO appeared for the first time more than 10 years ago. Danny Sullivan, the editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, mentioned it in his blog which comments on news and information about search engines. By 1995, SEO was a known means for getting high results with search engines and the race to produce the best results for clients of online marketing seo firms had begun,
The all-important programs feeding data to the search engines, the algorithms, have a history of their own. The first famous algorithm was in a program called “backrub”, developed by two grad students from Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. This program eventually became a pat of the Google link analysis system, PageRank, named after Larry Page and used by the Google internet search engine.
Pagerank gives a numerical value to each web page that it visits, to determine overall rank, by weighing the value of a its links, because as well as looking at written content, search engines also take into consideration inbound links. These links to other sites can make or break a page’s rating. Google describes how PageRank works by saying, “Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B.”
Search engines had to evolve quickly, as an engine that failed to get relevant results did not last long, with customers expressing irritation at often irrelevant and sometimes disturbing results from searches. As the engines were reliant on webmasters to give the correct keywords for a given site, unscrupulous ones found the system easy to abuse. Webmasters could, for example, stuff pages selling goods with keywords containing the names of popular celebrities, or news figures
In 1998, Page and Brin established the company Google, which fast became popular with internet users, for ease of use and reliability. The Google search engine was less likely to be fooled by dubious SEO techniques as it ranked pages by keyword frequency, meta tags, headings, links, page rank and hyperlink analysis, to name a few of its sources. Google now admits to using 200 different measurements when ranking pages for search results.
Not in the least bit discouraged, seo agency los angeles webmasters were soon coming up with ways to exploit this new engine, using techniques developed on gaming the Inktomi search engine, which was eventually acquired by Yahoo. Link-farming, keyword stuffing and other processes all became popular ways to get high rank by fooling the search engines.
Google, Yahoo and Bing,(Microsoft) became the three largest search engines as by 2004 the smaller ones were left behind, often the victims of bad SEO practices, which caused their popularity to wane by returning irrelevant search results, for example, porn sites would buy highly ranked pages and substitute their own content, giving offense to users.
The next milestone came in 2005 with Google’s use of search histories to provide targeted results based on predictions of what customers would want based on those histories. The public outcry against invasive practices did not last long, as advertisers sought to exploit this new tool to their advantage. At the time, Bruce Clay commented that meant the end of the ranking system, because a page’s value for each person could be different, but time saw this actually just changed the game, and did not halt it.
2007 and 2009 saw two big changes in how Google rated paid links, taking on the “pageranksculpters”, as SEOs who exploited Pagerank were called, with a system called nofollow. This consisted of using HTML codes to tell search engines that some links should be excluded from a page’s overall ranking. Very effective in cutting down spam in search results, nofollow improved the service Google offered its customers, who responded by boosting it to the top the of search engine pile.