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What is SEO?
Search engines must gather information on the majority of the web pages on the internet so that they can provide meaningful results to the search query that the user is looking for. Actually they do an amazing job! Consider that 19.2 billion pages were indexed by Yahoo! by August 2005 (and the web has only grown since). The world wide web is big- very big. Despite this, any good search engine can normally find what you are looking for in the first page of their results which is pretty cleaver isn’t it?
To achieve this, each search engine has spiders (to crawl the web) which are computer programs designed to visit pages and store important information about them. If they see a link to another page on the page that they have looked at they go and have a look at that page; this method is called crawling. For each page they must do two things: ascertain what the page is about so that they know what to show when someone searches for something and secondly, they must decide which pages are more important than other pages so that they can order their search results. The challenge foris to make it clear to the spider what the page is about and to convince the spider that your page is a good one. Once you achieve this you will be shown high up in the search engine results when someone searches for whatever your page is about and that means that you get lots of visitors that want to read your page.
Suppose you had a shoe shop; you would rather it be in the main shopping street of a major city than in the middle of a forest wouldn’t you? That is the difference between a well optimised site and a site that has paid no attention to. You may have the best shoe shop in the world but if it is in the forest how will anyone ever know about it?
The two types of SEO: There are, broadly speaking, two types of optimisation: White Hat and Black Hat. White Hat SEO is the type of optimization that the search engines approve of and even encourage. It is about creating good sites for humans as well as making them easy to spider. Black Hat SEO is all about tricks to con the search engines into thinking that your site is something that it isn’t. As you can imagine, this is deeply frowned upon by the search engines and, although certain tricks may work for a while, if they catch you the site is likely to get banished from their indexes. I will only be discussing White Hat techniques in this tutorial since it is the only way to produce a solid foundation for any website and, frankly, more effective in the long run.
Next section: Find your target keywords – SEO tutorial
Index of all our tutorials: Wight Hat tutorials