What Is SEO or Who’s on First

What is Search Engine Optimization

SEO is Search Engine Optimization. SEO is optimizing a website or content such as a video, picture, article, product or service page so that search engines will find relevance and rank it.

Who’s on First, What’s on Second?

When you pull up a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing and start searching, depending upon what you’re searching for you can have anywhere from a couple of hundred relevant pages to hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions. Who ends up on the first page, or the first slot on the first page? What ends up on the second page? How is this decided? Well- for a search engine to remain relevant and credible, it needs to ensure that the content showing up on the first pages and slots are the most relevant content on the internet for a given search query for a given user at a given location. With SEO, we help a search engine determine which content is most relevant.

I Don’t Know – He’s on Third

When you create a website or a blog, you might think the page or content you just created is special.  Being special– you might wonder why it didn’t show up on the first page of a Google search. Well, there may be 1,000,000 other pages competing to be on the first two pages for a search term. Once you get to the 3rd page… I don’t know… no one knows. Rarely does someone care or bother to look past the first two pages of search results, but there is still a SERP [Search Engine Results Page] ranking for a page.  Once you fall to page 3 or beyond, there may be little value to your ranking.  The Click Through Rate [CTR] drops down to about 1% by the time you get to page 3 in a search result.

Click Through Rate - Advanced Web Ranking
Click-Through Rate Example 

The click-through rate example chart shows that the number of clicks a link gets will drop off pretty quickly as the SERP ranking drops.  If you’re interested in current data, you can head over to the Advanced Web Ranking web page for more current interactive graphs.

How Does Someone Get on First?

To be on page one in the first slot for a search term, you have to be considered the most relevant content for a given search term. Remember, for a search engine to remain relevant, they need to be credible. To stay credible, they need produce search results that are in line with what search users consider useful and relevant. If you have content that is relevant, that’s a great start. Now you need others on the web to support the idea that this is the most relevant content for a given search term and you need to let the search engines know your content is out there.

What Are Search Engines Looking For?

The next natural question is What are the search engines looking for?  This is where SEO gets to be a little funny. As an SEO’s we’re looking at Google to see what they’re doing… and Google is looking at how people interact on the web to determine what they’re doing. Once Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any search engine figures out what people are doing, they will then go about capturing and modeling human behavior with an algorithm. You didn’t think Google had millions of people reading web pages, did you? No- they have lots of computers crawling the web reading and cataloging the contents of the web. There are some incredibly brilliant engineers and programmers architecting these algorithms, but to read through the wealth of information on the internet, this has to be automated. 

Now- with an algorithm being used to determine what is most relevant, what showed significance five years ago may not work today. What works today with the weaving of web pages, videos and social media may not be relevant in 5 years either. Maybe it still will. It depends on how people as a whole use the internet to find value. The algorithms used to determine search results will continue to evolve with the internet and how users interact with the internet.

Where Does SEO Fit In?

As an SEO agency, we analyze what Google, Bing, Yahoo and other engines look for to determine relevance; then we send appropriate signals to the search engines to show significance.  We optimize content for importance across the web so that a search engine can tell it is significant.  In short, we improve search ranking on content for a given search term.