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How do Search Engine Optimizers work?

  1. May 10, 2016 #1

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    I know a bunch of people who have their own website or blog, including myself. When you search some of the sites’ names, they pop up immediately as the very first link and, for other ones, it just never pops up. I’ve tried to read about this, but I find it hard to understand. How does this work exactly? And, for that matter, what if you have lots of backlinks and update content regularly? Is being recognized by search engines just sort of a shoot and miss kind of thing? I find this all very interesting and insight would be appreciated!
     
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  3. May 10, 2016 #2

    jedishrfu

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    Here's a writeup to read:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

    Google monetizes search results. Say you have a store named Albert Einstein's TV Repair then you could pay Google to place your website ahead of references to Albert Einstein when its typed in the search bar.

    They would compute the value of the words based on how often people search for Albert Einstein and charge you accordingly. Later if a competitor saw what you did they could do the same and pay a higher amount to get their website ahead of yours.
     
  4. May 10, 2016 #3

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    This is a very understandable explanation, thank you! I thought private businesses only payed Google for ads.

    But this leads to another question, if you have to pay to get ahead of other websites and domain names, why do some blogs and sites I know come up first even though they haven’t paid for anything?
     
  5. May 10, 2016 #4

    jedishrfu

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    Google collects stats on word usage and ranks websites based on how often they are linked. That's how some folks try to game the system by creating a presence on several platforms. Say you have a business so you create an Etsy website, a facebook website reference on other websites. Even cross-reference them get others to comment and reference your site. As the number of references increase and based on the ranking of the referencing website your site will rank higher and higher meaning your search ranking increases.

    If someone were to publish a derogatory article about you or something you did then you have two options one to get the article removed which usually can't happen (people aren't so kind) or to bury it in the search results by publishing articles that eventually get seen more and get ranked higher.
     
  6. May 10, 2016 #5
    You can only pay to rank within their ad sections. The general listings are still "open" and ranked according to hundreds if not thousands of factors that can change daily.
     
  7. May 10, 2016 #6
    btw, no one but Google knows exactly how the search engine ranks web content, for obvious reasons. We only have a glimpse from what Google decides to disclose, from user experiments and user observation.
     
  8. May 10, 2016 #7

    QuantumQuest

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    As jedishrfu points out for the very basics read Wikipedia.
    From a practical standpoint, the whole thing boils down to some common sense rules that developer of a website has to follow, as well as the ranking algorithm of the search engine - mostly Google. Now, for a top ranking you have to pay as jedishrfu describes.
    A concise and comprehensive guide is here - you can read whatever you need as it is structured in chapters https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo.
     
  9. May 10, 2016 #8

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Ah, this makes plenty of sense :) Now it's just a matter of getting a hold of those "factors", which is easier said than done ...
    So creating accounts in a variety of platforms improves the chances of being found? That makes sense, too.

    Another question (sorry). I'm not so sure about the other sites I'm thinking about right now, but why is Google the only one that picks up my blog? Bing only picks up my Google+ page ...
     
  10. May 10, 2016 #9

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Fair enough, some people are obviously better at it than others.
    Thanks, I'll read that link. I haven't followed any "common sense rules", but I seem to being doing okay, whereas some others have gotten professional developers to work on their site and they get nothing.
     
  11. May 10, 2016 #10

    jtbell

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  12. May 10, 2016 #11

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Thank you, I'll look into that, as well. Would using a known blogging platform, rather than building a site from scratch affect search engine recognition in anyway?
     
  13. May 10, 2016 #12

    QuantumQuest

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    Yes, what I mean by common sense rules is basically about fair use of keywords, external links, relevancy of content and the like.
     
  14. May 10, 2016 #13

    QuantumQuest

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    Blogging platforms are usually SEO friendly. And the war among them is well going on...;)
     
  15. May 10, 2016 #14

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    So by creating a site/blog using these platforms, all the "dirty work" (the things mentioned in @jtbell's link) is already taken care of? Apologies for my lack of technical terms.
     
  16. May 10, 2016 #15

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Also, I’ve been told that the actual design of the website affects this, too. Like whether the place is responsive enough or easy to navigate. Aren't blogs and websites built based on how the owner wants it? Is there a rubric or something that can help someone gauge whether their site is "good" or not? I'm not sure if mine is "acceptable" ... including other people's sites.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  17. May 10, 2016 #16

    QuantumQuest

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    The whole thing depends on the features that a certain blogging platform has and the configuration you'll do. For instance, BlogSpot is more limited in SEO while Wordpress is more demanding from a technical knowledge standpoint but has SEO plugins.
     
  18. May 10, 2016 #17

    jtbell

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    My own site is completely hand-coded. Although I've worked with WordPress, updating content on my college's web site, I've never created a site from scratch with it. But I'm sure you can do well either way, SEO-wise. However, if you use WordPress or some other platform, I think you really need to understand what is happening "behind the scenes": what it does at the HTML/CSS code level, how the files and folders it produces are laid out on your web host, etc.

    For example, I mentioned the Google Search Console. You have to "verify" your site with it so it will show you statistics etc. One way to do this is to upload a small HTML file that Google provides, to the "root level" (folder) of your site on your web host. In order to do this, you need to be acquainted with your web-host's "control panel", or know how to use an FTP program; and you have to know exactly which folder to put it in.

    Another way is to add a certain "meta tag" to the <head> section of your home page. I would simply open up the index.html file (which I wrote originally) at the root level of my site, in a text editor, and paste the tag into it. With WordPress, you have to find out which dashboard setting or plugin does this. (or maybe it uses the HTML file method... I don't remember.)
     
  19. May 10, 2016 #18
    For awhile there has been speculation that Google is able to evaluate design aspects important to user experience. One aspect Google has disclosed as important is mobile friendliness.

    Another tool the check out is Google PageSpeed
    https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/
     
  20. May 10, 2016 #19

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Oh, you’re the one with the cool train website, right? I remember it being quite nice! Thank you for the advice, I guess I’ll have to spend more time learning and looking into more of the “behind the scenes stuff”, even if I’m using a platform.
    Thank you, too! I'll definitely look into all these tools and share what I learned to others. About the mobile friendliness aspect of it all ... I have no idea how my site looks like on a phone or tablet because I don't have one ... is there a way to figure that out online?
     
  21. May 10, 2016 #20
    Remember all these tools and guidelines will only get you a good baseline which won't give any instant results. Most successful sites are already very optimized. To rank well you're going to need great content that people want to share. That is the tough part.

    https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
     
  22. May 10, 2016 #21

    jtbell

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    Firefox and Chrome have a "developer mode" that lets you simulate a smartphone and see what a site looks like on one. I haven't used it since I got my phone, but you should be able to turn up information about it with Google.
     
  23. May 10, 2016 #22

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    I'll remember that for sure :smile:
    Awesome! My site is mobile-friendly, I didn't even know. Thank you Greg!
     
  24. May 13, 2016 #23

    f95toli

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    And if you want to get really good at it, it becomes a full time job. There are plenty of agencies around which specialized in helping their customers with this. I know someone who has been doing this for a living for a few years now, and he spends a LOT of his time trying to figure out exactly how to optimize a site in order for it to get high in the rankings and he also need to be able to quickly react if something changes; i.e in addition to actually helping do design sites for customers he does a fair amount of R&D. Since Google, Bing etc frequently change the way they operate there is no single answer to how to do this and most likely you will have to continuously change things in order to stay ahead.
     
  25. May 13, 2016 #24

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Never occurred to me that optimizing a site could become someone's career, but I guess there's a lot of factor's to be accounted for, as Greg said earlier. The name of my blog consists of two words and even if you only Google the first word by itself, it pops up as like the fifth link. If you type up both words in Google, it's the first. What I don't get is that even with quotation marks, you can't find my main page on Bing. You can find affiliated pages, but not the main one, which is one reason why I wanted to know more about SEOs. Like I said before, it's really interesting, I'm definitely going to read more and become familiar with it all.
     
  26. Aug 15, 2016 #25
    To summarize you need:
    - Content about the topic of your website
    - Other websites linking to your website, preferentially about the same topic, and preferentially high-ranked websites in Google
    - Fast website (loading speed should be low, well optimized)
    - Regular new content, helps but not necessary (blog posts, articles, etc...)
    - Sitemap available, helps google and other search engines index all of your website faster

    On-page SEO is getting more and more obsolete, meta keywords and whatnot are no longer used, the content is what matters.
     
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