What is search engine optimization? - XSitePro Website Design

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Imagine your local newspaper gave away free advertising. All you had to do was send in your advertisement and they'd run it somewhere in their newspaper. It might be on the front page or it might be hidden away somewhere at the back of the paper in a place that nobody ever reads. To make this scenario even stranger the newspaper had come up with all sorts of weird rules that would decide where your advertisement appeared, but they didn't tell you what those rules were – you just had to guess.


In a nutshell, here is what happens. This is a very simplistic view, but it will give you an idea as to what actually happens.



You design a Web site and submit it to a search engine.



At some point in the future the search engine will send either an automated piece of software (known as a 'spider' or a 'bot') or a real human being to take a look at your Web site.



If all is well with your Web site the search engine spider or member of staff will enter the details into the search engine's database alongside millions of other entries.



When a web surfer visits the search engine in question and enters a word or phrase to search for the search engine software quickly looks through its database of Web sites and presents the surfer with a list of sites that meet their search criteria. For example, if they typed Italian Ice Cream they will be presented with a list of appropriate Web sites whose content relates to Italian Ice Cream.



The list of sites that surfers see will be sorted into an order that the search engine thinks best meets the surfer's needs. So at the top of the list it will put what it thinks is the best Italian Ice Cream related site and at the bottom of the list it will put the worst Italian ice Cream related site. There might be over a hundred thousand sites listed (depending on your search term) so there is a BIG gap between the top of the list and the bottom.



The way the search engine decides which site is best and which is worse is done using what are called 'algorithms', which is just another term for 'rules'.



In truth, there is a lot more to it than has been mentioned above, but to go into detail would take a volume all of its own.


The most important thing to take from this is that the search engines have rules which they use to decide which sites are best. The sites that follow those rules closest are the ones that will appear at the top of the list and the ones that do not follow the rules are the ones that disappear down to the bottom of the list – that part that nobody ever sees.


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