What is SEO? (In layman terms)

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” SEO is how customers find to your website using search engines, like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Understanding Search Engine Results

When a customer types words into a search engine, they are asking a question. And search engines are pretty good at answering those questions. Type in “women’s shoes” and you’ll get a list of thousands of sites selling or discussing women’s shoes.

But how does the search engine decide what to list?

Search engines use automated programs called spiders (or robots or webcrawlers) to catalogue websites all across the Internet. The spiders “crawl” across the Web following the links between pages. As they go they index the content on each page. Ultimately it is this index that is referenced when a search is conducted. Top secret algorithms match the search word(s) to the index and rank which webpages are most relevant to your search.

Your website in the eyes of a spider

Spider programs don’t see websites the way a layman does. Spiders see only the code your web developer used to build your site. Here’s a snippet of what that looks like:

website code
To determine relevancy, search engines compare your website’s code to your customer’s search. They also look at things like how how old is your site, do other sites link to your site, and is your site is popular on social media? In fact, hundreds of factors are weighed by the search algorithms, and it gets more complicated every year.

How to SEO?

In layman terms, SEO is the process of putting the right words (called keywords) in the right places so search engines know what your site is about. There are website that will teach you how to do this. There are also professionals who will SEO your website for you. Some SEO companies are very good at what they do, while others take advantage of a layman’s lack of knowledge.

Before hiring any SEO company be sure to do your research. Ask detailed questions about how they will SEO your website. Get competitive price quotes from at least three companies. And be sure to check references. Or, you can hire a third party marketing consultant to act as your hiring agent who’ll find a quality SEO on your behalf.