What exactly is search engine optimization? Don’t websites automatically get ranked on google? these are some of the questions i get asked on a daily basis. Search engine optimization is a service- it is not generally included in normal web development as it requires time, attention to detail, extensive research and an excellent understanding of search engines and how they work. Websites usually do find their way into Google’s index, but if the site is not properly optimized, it will probably show up on page 99,999… which is pointless.
The point of search engine optimization is to get your website ranked for specific keywords. These keywords should be the products or services you offer, or a topic of discussion on your website. Don’t get fooled by people who will get your website ranked for your company name or website address- this happens anyways, so you are essentially paying someone for no work at all.
What do you need to know in order not to get ripped off? you need to first understand how a website gets ranked on a search engine:
Search engines send out a ‘bot’ (robot, spider, whatever you want to call it) which is an automated program that crawls the internet and bounces off HTML links. Most bots will first target major directories, like DMOZ (the largest human edited directory on the internet) and the big search engines, as all search engines feed off each other. When they find their way into a directory or different search engine, they will bounce off the link to the websites and ‘visit’ them. When the bot arrives, it is looking for specific instructions, or ‘meta tags’ to help direct it around the website, and understand what the page is about. There are a variety of robot commands that can be used, which need to be hard coded into your websites pages. After reading the meta tags, the bot will then proceed into the text content of your page, and should then (hopefully) find it’s way to your other pages.