Explaining SEO to layman can be a daunting task. In this post, I will attempt to break it down easily and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about SEO. This post will answer the following questions:
- What is SEO and How Does it Work?
- What Does SEO Do for You?
- What is Search Engine Optimization and Why it is Important?
What is SEO?
SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, i.e., Search Engine + Optimization.
Search Engine is a website such as Google Search, Bing Search or Yahoo Search where you find information related to your queries such as “Most Popular Smartphone” or “Homemade Skin care Tips”.
We call these queries “Keywords” or “Keyword Phrases”.
Google doesn’t actually answer your queries itself — it relies on other websites to answer your queries.
What Google does is it visits websites that contain the answers to your queries and then displays those answers as a list.
By default, Google displays only ten results per page — and those ten results are basically ten websites that contain the answer to your queries.
Among the top ten websites, Google puts the most relevant result (or website) at the top of its list.
Google may show hundreds of results (ten results per page) but most people usually don’t go beyond the first page (or top ten results).
What is Optimization?
Even as your website has great answers to some popular queries, it may not appear on Google Search at all.
When a new website is built, Google is unaware of it.
It’s like when you create a new Facebook profile, you friends and co-workers won’t know until you send them a friend request.
Similarly, you need to follow a process to tell Google that you have built a new website. This process is called “Optimization”.
Obviously, Google isn’t just another person on Facebook whom you can send a friend request to tell them, “Please, you’re welcome to my website”.
You actually follow a couple of technical steps to inform Google about your website. Once that’s done, Google takes about a couple of days to visit your website.
Since Google Search is an engine, not a human, the process of visiting is known as “crawling a website”. Crawling because Google Search Engine is known as a Search Spider or Bot.
When Google visits your website, it actually takes a couple of photos of your web pages, especially the most important pages such as home, about us, and contact page.
We call this process of capturing photos as “indexing webpages”. So, Google crawls your website and goes back after indexing a few important pages of your website.
To remember your website, Google then stores your web pages in a database known as “Search Index”. Think it as a contact app on your smartphone where you store names/numbers of new people you meet.
In short, if a new website hasn’t been optimized, it’s hard for Google to crawl and index it quickly. That’s why you should “optimize” your website to help Google crawl and index it.
Google crawls a lot of website every day and adds those to its index. When you ask a question on Google Search, it immediately search its index (database) and returns a bunch of answers to your queries.
I Don’t Have a Website — What Should I Care about SEO?
You needn’t! However, knowing how search engines work will help you search better answers (results) to your queries.
I Have a Website – Why Should I Optimize it for Google Search?
If you are running a business, getting optimized for Google Search means you have a chance to attract online visitors. If you sell products online, your visitors may buy from you, which boosts your revenues.
I Have a Website – Why Can’t I Find it on Google?
Is this a brand-new website or fairly old? Most likely, you need to optimize your website for Google to find it.
What Does Ranking at #1 Spot on Google Really Mean?
It means money. When you rank #1 on Google Search, you will most visits. For example, if you’re selling flowers online in New York City, and you appear at the #1 spot on Google Search every time people search “Flowers in New York City”, you’re most likely to sell a lot of flowers. This definitely means a lot of money to you, right?
Does Being #1 Mean Money Every Time?
Nope! Not always. It depends on the types of keywords your website ranks for. Some keywords, such as “What is a Smartphone”, is informational in nature — websites ranking those queries may not earn any money. However, if you rank for transactional keywords, such as “Cheap Smartphones Stores in New York City”, those visitors are likely to convert into paying customers.
How Long Does it Take for a Website to Appear on Google Search?
If you simply want your website to appear on Google Search (regardless of which page), then you simply need to optimize your site for Google. It usually takes Google a couple of days to crawl and index your website.
How Does Google Rank Particular Website for Keywords?
Google considers “Authority” of a website in order to rank it for a keyword. Authority of a website is determined by the age of a website and it’s popularity apart from the quality of content. If a website is considered expert in particular industry, it has the best chance to rank for popular queries. For example, when people search for “symptoms of diabetes” on Google Search, they see results from “WebMD.com” as the #1 result.
How Long Does it Take for a Website to Rank for a Popular Keyword?
If it’s a new website, and you’re trying to rank for popular keyword, then it might take longer. However, it all depends on your efforts to boost your authority in the industry and the quality of information on your website. There are examples when websites could rank #1 within 6-8 months. However, generally, ranking for more popular keywords can take longer period of time, regardless of your efforts. This is because a lot of websites are also putting similar efforts to rank.