Who would have thought, a few decades ago, that search engines would hold all the aces? Who could have foreseen that search engines would rank websites in terms of their utility and value? Back in those days, the use of computers was not as widespread as it is today. Hence, the arrival of the internet hardly raised any eyebrows. Most people would have felt it to be a passing fad that would soon subside. Little did they know that the computer would revolutionise business and lifestyles. Even lesser would they have guessed that the arrival of the internet would transcend geographies. The combined force of computers and the internet would result in shrinking the globe. It would also ensure that the notions of people working long-distance across geographies would not remain in the realm of science fiction. It would speed up the process of communicating information around the world.
Search engines in the early nineties, were simple software programs that searched the World Wide Web for information. A user could enter some search phrases into the dialog box. The search engine did a quick check on the internet and generated results that matched the phrases keyed by the user. In the initial days of the internet, the CERN webserver maintained a list of webservers around the world. Once the number of webservers increased, this became increasingly difficult. After several false starts, the first crawler based search engine that searched for text on the internet – WebCrawler – staged an appearance. In 1994, the novelty provided by WebCrawler lay in the fact that users could search for any word on any web page. WebCrawler thus, set the standards for nearly all search engines thereafter. One of these was Google, which redefined the search engine domain completely.
Google rose to prominence in 2000, using an innovative iterative algorithm titled PageRank. PageRank assigned ranks to web pages using a simple logic. It operated on the premise that genuine web pages would have a higher number of links to other pages. Search engines operate via three methods. These are web crawling, indexing and searching. Search engines retrieve web pages by a web crawler. The crawler traverses all the links on a specific site and analyses the content. It stores data about the web page in an index. Examples of data it stores could be words extracted from the title of the page, the content on the page, headings etc. Google stores a snapshot of the entire web page. Thereafter, when a user enters some key phrases, the search engine merely returns the results of its index that match with the phrase entered by the user.
Business and website owners eventually wised up to the way search engines worked. They latched on to the fact that the higher up in the search results their site appeared the more visitors they attracted. This led to the emergence of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Search Engine Optimisation became the technique by which website owners sought to raise the profile of their websites on search results generated. In a sense, search engine optimisation became an internet marketing strategy. It brought together the content visitors wanted to see on a website with the target market the website wanted to attract. Thus, SEO brought together the following aspects like:
- The modus operandi of search engines
- The searches made by internet users
- The keywords entered by users
- The search engines patronised by users
As website owners understood how search engines worked, they devised means to improve their ranking. Some of these strategies approved by search engines became white hat SEO strategies. Other strategies that search engines penalised became black hat SEO techniques.
White hat SEO strategies will adhere to the norms laid down by search engines. They will entail creating content designed to engage and attract users rather than search engines. Black hat SEO techniques use ruses and manoeuvres to hoodwink search engines. An example of this could be a web page that lists a keyword repeatedly as hidden text. Alternatively, it could contain text having the same foreground and background colour. This would raise its keyword density without having useful content to provide the user.
When you visit a local SEO company to optimise your website, consider their suggestions. If they give you ways to obtain a natural placement on search engine results (also called organic SEO), you can trust them implicitly. Common methods for achieving this are:
- Analysing your website’s statistics and analytics
- The use of social media
- Frequent publishing of fresh and topical content
- The presence of links to related websites
- The measured use of appropriate keywords
- Providing each web page with appropriate titles and meta data
- Using CSS or structural mark up to segregate the content from the presentation
Rotapix Interactive Media is an online marketing specialist in Australia. Renowned industry bodies like TopSEO rate us highly for being the best provider of SEO services in Sydney. We follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines to the ‘T’. We also conform to Google’s requirements as ethical search engine optimisers. Our strategies aim at driving clean and convertible traffic to your website. This is something that might take a little time. However, it remains invaluable when you reap the dividends long after you hire us.