What is SEO?
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It influences the rankings of your website on search engines. You can use SEO for a higher popularity of your website and thus for more visitors who become customers, leave contact information with you or subscribe to your newsletter.
Getting high in Google is not the final goal of SEO. It is a means to achieve the final goal. The ultimate goal is to get more visitors from the search engine.
Google is between an intermediate player.
What does it matter? Getting higher in Google and getting visitors from Google is the same?
No. Not always.
It is very easy to get to the first place for the keyword combination 'The Radiator King of Haarlem'. Put those words in the title of a road page and after a few weeks you will be in first place for that keyword combination. But you will not get visitors because of that number 1 position. Nobody is looking for 'radiator king Haarlem'.
Except for the radiator king itself.
The goal of the search engine
If you actually want to get visitors from the search engine, from Google, you first have to understand the purpose of the search engine.
And the goal of the search engine is: linking supply and demand.
When someone uses a search engine, he has a need, a question or a problem.
Timo wants to know how magnets work for a study project.
Pauline is looking for book traders about marketing, because she wants to start business shortly.
Martin wants to know when Kendrick Lamar will perform in the London.
Jasemine is looking for a holiday home for six people with a swimming pool near Barcelona.
And Richard would like to know how to link Google Analytics with a WordPress website.
That searcher then translates the search into search terms. For example, "top 10 books marketing".
One of the biggest challenges of the search engine is translating keywords into questions. How can an algorithm understand what you mean by a specific combination of words? An algorithm cannot think.
Matching supply and demand
How can the search engine determine whether the question (translated into a combination of words) matches the offer (a whole load with words)?
By seeing if they use the same words.
If a web page contains three times the words 'top 10 books marketing', perhaps in a slightly different order, then the search engine can be pretty sure that the offer (the road page) matches the question (the search terms used by the searcher ).
This is also the reason that keywords play such an enormous role in SEO.
It has been the way to connect supply and demand for a very long time .
Google is a lot smarter nowadays. They understand synonyms better and better and with the baking data that they have collected over the years they understand better what someone wants and what a page is about.
A page that only contains the words 'best marketing literature' can rank high on the keyword combination 'top marketing books'. And Google knows that you are probably interested in books about content marketing or online marketing. They understand the relationship between terms.
The quality of a page
Linking supply and demand is not the only goal of the search engine. They want to put the offer in order. The best article, which answers the question best, they want to give the highest position.
If you link those two goals, you also know what you need to do to get more visitors from the search engine.
What is SEO?
SEO is to answer, solve and fulfil questions, problems and needs better than your competitors.
How does Google know if your page fulfils a need better than the pages of the competitors?
That is a good question. And a hugely important question.
How can you measure the quality of something with an algorithm? How can they know if a page is user-friendly, the text is understandable and the question of the search is better answered than with competitors?
Well, they cannot. At least, not with 100% certainty.
They therefore look at the probability that a page is of good quality.
They use hundreds, maybe (ten) thousand, variables that can say something about the quality of a page.
• In general, it is generally linked from popular trade websites to qualitative pages rather than to moderate pages.
• Qualitative pages are generally more often shared on social media than moderate pages.
• On a qualitative page one clicks on links on that page more often than on moderate pages.
• And in general, a page about marketing on a website with a hundred other articles about marketing is better than a page about marketing on a website where people mainly talk about web design or coaching.
Not one of these statements is 100% accurate. Sometimes it is 51%, sometimes 90% and sometimes 62%. Sometimes it differs per type of search. Sometimes it differs per country. Sometimes it differs per niche.
But if you look at a lot of variables and put them next to each other then the search engine can make a reasonably good layout from moderate pages to good pages to probably the best page.
It is therefore possible that the page that is actually the best is ranked on place 23 and the second best on place 10. But in general there is a reasonably good classification in the search results. Almost always the top five results are in the top ten.
And with time, this format becomes more reliable (because more data is available and more variables are added that measure the probability that a page is good).