What is SEO?SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and the importance of correct SEO practices cannot be overstated because the efficient use of SEO can be a key factor in a website’s success.

When someone places a search query into a search engine the search engine often returns many pages of results, but the results listed at the top of the first page will receive a higher amount of click throughs. In simple terms, sites that appear at the top of the first page of results, for any given keyword, will usually get the majority of traffic.

SEO is the process webmasters use to try and encourage search engines to place their sites in a more predominant position on the results pages.

The Relationship Between SEO and SERPS

Search engine results pages, often referred to as SERPS, are of such crucial importance to online success that it seems prudent to take a closer look at how the search engines determine them.

When a search engine query is created the search engine orders its results by relevancy (to the search term) and site authority (how much respect the search engine has for a site). Google measure this respect in page rank. Rank is measured from 0 (new and low-quality sites) to 8 (high quality informative sites).

The authority of a webpage is determined by many things, including the age of the domain and the amount of quality sites that link into the page as a source of further information. If a page has a lot inbound links from respected sites the search engines perceive this as an endorsement and act accordingly.

How relevant a page is deemed to be (to the search query) can also be signified by the kind of inbound links it has, but the choice of keywords used, how often they are used, and where they are placed on the page is probably of greater importance.

Once all this is understood, the simplest way to explain the function of SEO is to say it is a way of saying to the search engines, “Look at me! I’m an authority on the subject you are looking for!” And, of course convincing the search engines that this is true.

SEO can be split into two categories:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO.

These will be explained in future articles.