SEO 101: How to rank well on search engines

We will show you how writing powerful content will drive traffic to your site

By Uncommon Contempos

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines.[1] SEO targets unpaid traffic (known as "natural" or "organic" results) rather than direct traffic or paid traffic. Unpaid traffic may originate from different kinds of searches, including image search, video search, academic search,[2] news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, the computer-programmed algorithms that dictate search engine behavior, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. SEO is performed because a website will receive more visitors from a search engine when websites rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP). These visitors can then potentially be converted into customers.

Webmasters and content providers began optimizing websites for search engines in the mid-1990s, as the first search engines were cataloging the early Web. Initially, all webmasters only needed to submit the address of a page, or URL, to the various engines which would send a web crawler to crawl that page, extract links to other pages from it, and return information found on the page to be indexed.[4] The process involves a search engine spider downloading a page and storing it on the search engine's own server. A second program, known as an indexer, extracts information about the page, such as the words it contains, where they are located, and any weight for specific words, as well as all links the page contains. All of this information is then placed into a scheduler for crawling at a later date.

Website owners recognized the value of a high ranking and visibility in search engine results,[5] creating an opportunity for both white hat and black hat SEO practitioners. According to industry analyst Danny Sullivan, the phrase "search engine optimization" probably came into use in 1997. Sullivan credits Bruce Clay as one of the first people to popularize the term.[6] On May 2, 2007,[7] Jason Gambert attempted to trademark the term SEO by convincing the Trademark Office in Arizona[8] that SEO is a "process" involving manipulation of keywords and not a "marketing service."

Early versions of search algorithms relied on webmaster-provided information such as the keyword meta tag or index files in engines like ALIWEB. Meta tags provide a guide to each page's content. Using metadata to index pages was found to be less than reliable, however, because the webmaster's choice of keywords in the meta tag could potentially be an inaccurate representation of the site's actual content. Inaccurate, incomplete, and inconsistent data in meta tags could and did cause pages to rank for irrelevant searches.[9][dubious ] Web content providers also manipulated some attributes within the HTML source of a page in an attempt to rank well in search engines.[10] By 1997, search engine designers recognized that webmasters were making efforts to rank well in their search engine, and that some webmasters were even manipulating their rankings in search results by stuffing pages with excessive or irrelevant keywords. Early search engines, such as Altavista and Infoseek, adjusted their algorithms to prevent webmasters from manipulating rankings. (Source: Wikipedia.org)

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