SEO – what it is, and what it does

We’ve had more and more questions lately about search engine optimization, or SEO. What is it? How does it work? What does it afford me and my website? The answers to these questions can get pretty long-winded and technical, but we’ll try our best to keep it short and sweet.

Search engines (like Google) work in 3 ways. First, they “crawl” the Internet, or use algorithmic computer programs to fetch data from websites. These programs determine which sites to crawl, how often to crawl them, and how many pages to fetch from each site. The programs do this by using data from previous searches, as well as sitemap data provided by webmasters – you know, the webmasters who design websites to be optimized for search engines.

Next, the search engine programs use all that data they obtained from crawling to create a massive index of the Internet. This index includes the words on webpages as well as other info, such as key content tags and attributes designed by webmasters to help search engines find websites.

Finally, when a user conducts a search, the search engine serves up search results based on what indexed data appears to be most relevant. Relevancy is based on many factors, including content keywords, behind-the-scenes website data, and PageRank, which is the measure of importance of a page based on how many other webpages link to it. Webmasters who design sites for SEO optimization account for these relevancy factors to improve the ranking of a page in search results.

In plainer terms, webmasters who optimize your website for SEO do lots of things both to a site’s displayed content and a site’s architecture to make sure your website can be found when folks search for it. Because, if no one can find your site, what good does it do?

It should be noted that search engines don’t accept payment to crawl sites more frequently. There are indeed paid advertisements that will appear as “sponsored links,” but the “organic” search results appear based on whose site is the most relevant and best optimized, not who paid the most to get it there.

And since websites are added and updated virtually all the time, SEO also must be continuously managed for the best keywords, content tags, and links. This is what we do at O2 Creative.

When clients ask us to manage websites for SEO, we consider it an ongoing process. We’re constantly making sure all the content and all the design and all the architecture and every other little thing about a site is as current and complete as possible. We’ll continually look at your website, consider what search engines think of it, how it compares to competitors, how many other Internet users will end up linking to it, and many other factors to make sure your site stays optimized.

Because we want to keep our clients and their websites…well…relevant!


Click here for our next blog post – digital vs. print media!