The Hard Freakonomics of Search Marketing for Small Business
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.
Here’s how it works: Google (or any search engine you’re using) has a crawler that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the Internet. The crawlers bring all those 1s and 0s back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your query.
I wouldn’t worry about going ahead and disavowing links even if you don’t have a message in your Webmaster console.
This section of our site is here to help you learn anything you want about SEO. If you’re completely new to the topic, start at the very beginning and read the Beginner’s Guide to SEO. If you need advice on a specific topic, dig in wherever suits you. Once you’re ready to start walking that SEO walk, it’s time to apply those SEO techniques to a site, whether it’s brand new or an old one you’re improving. A site isn’t really a site until you have content. But SEO for content has enough specific variables that we’ve given it its own section.
Dig deep into everything you ever needed to know about links from anchor text to redirection. Read this series of pages to understand how and when to use nofollow and whether guest blogging is actually dead. If you’re more into the link building side of things (working to improve the rankings on your site by earning links), go straight to the Beginner’s Guide to Link Building.
These monstrous storage facilities hold thousands of machines processing large quantities of information very quickly. When a person performs a search at any of the major engines, they demand results instantaneously; even a one- or two-second delay can cause dissatisfaction, so the engines work hard to provide answers as fast as possible. Search engines are answer machines. When a person performs an online search, the search engine scours its corpus of billions of documents and does two things: first, it returns only those results that are relevant or useful to the searcher’s query; second, it ranks those results according to the popularity of the websites serving the information. It is both relevance and popularity that the process of SEO is meant to influence.
How do search engines determine relevance and popularity?
To a search engine, relevance means more than finding a page with the right words. In the early days of the web, search engines didn’t go much further than this simplistic step, and search results were of limited value. Over the years, smart engineers have devised better ways to match results to searchers’ queries. Today, hundreds of factors influence relevance, and we’ll discuss the most important of these in this guide.
Popularity and relevance aren’t determined manually. Instead, the engines employ mathematical equations (algorithms) to sort the wheat from the chaff (relevance), and then to rank the wheat in order of quality (popularity). These algorithms often comprise hundreds of variables. In the search marketing field, we refer to them as “ranking factors.” Moz crafted a resource specifically on this subject: Search Engine Ranking Factors.
In our test, we started with the hypothesis that a link earlier (higher up) on a page carries more weight than a link lower down on the page. We tested this by creating a nonsense domain with a home page with links to three remote pages that all have the same nonsense word appearing exactly once on the page. After the search engines crawled the pages, we found that the page with the earliest link on the home page ranked first. Why should you invest time, effort, and resources on SEO? When looking at the broad picture of search engine usage, fascinating data is available from several studies.
- Keyword Appears in Top Level Domain: Doesn’t give the boost that it used to, but having your keyword in the domain still acts as a relevancy signal. After all, they still bold keywords that appear in a domain name.
- Keyword As First Word in Domain: A domain that starts with their target keyword has an edge over sites that either don’t have the keyword in their domain or have the keyword in the middle or end of their domain.
- Country TLD Extension: Having a Country Code Top Level Domain (.cn, .pt, .ca) helps the site rank for that particular country…but limits the site’s ability to rank globally.
- LSI Keywords in Title and Description Tags: As with webpage content, LSI keywords in page meta tags probably help Google discern between synonyms. May also act as a relevancy signal.
Popularity and relevance aren’t determined manually. Instead, the engines employ mathematical equations (algorithms) to sort the wheat from the chaff (relevance), and then to rank the wheat in order of quality (popularity).