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What is a process of Search Engine Optimization?

Updated: May 30, 2020

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing the visibility of a website by improving the ranking in the search engine results page (SERP). It is a process of making the website more search engine friendly, thus getting higher positions in ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ or ‘unpaid’ search results. Since it is organic, it is a more credible and cost-effective way of reaching out to prospects. It enables discovery.

How do Search Engines work? A search engine is the first medium where people search for the information they need. It is often referred to as the zero moments of truth. SEO is a pull medium as users themselves seek information. SEO is powerful as it captures user interest. SEO is a long-term strategy as it takes time for efforts to fructify. While the short-term strategy can be to go for paid search advertising, a long-term strategy should be to shift marketing dollars from paid search to organic search. This chapter would deal with the principles and best practices for SEO. The process starts with web crawling, which is looking for the content available on the web.1 Websites are crawled by automated bots or spiders or crawlers that are software programs that visit each web page. You may wonder how crawlers will know which domains to visit? Crawlers get information about registered domain names and their IP addresses from Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is a non-profit organization responsible for assigning unique identifiers such as domain names and IP addresses for the entire Internet. Crawling is done periodically depending on the frequency that webmaster requests as websites keep updating their content. Search engines then take all the data that has been crawled and place it in large data centers with thousands of petabytes worth of drives. After that, search engines index the data, which is a classification of pages into categories by identifying the keywords that best describe the page and assigning the page to keywords. indexing involves many concepts from linguistics, cognitive psychology, mathematics, and computer science. Using those concepts, search engines have developed capabilities to index media files such as video, audio, and graphics along with the text.

When a search request comes, the search engine processes it, i.e. compare the search query with the indexed pages in the database. Since more than one page will contain the search query, so the search engine starts calculating the relevancy of each of the pages in its index to the search query. The last step in search engines’ processes is retrieving the pages with the highest relevance score on top of the search results and displaying them in the browser.

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