What is Search Engines Optimization (SEO)?

What is website optimization?

In recent years, we have often received inquiries about building websites in which, somehow “incidentally”, and usually at the end of the email, there is the “small requirement” that the site should appear on the first page of the Google searches … Sometimes we also get calls from people who want to “make a first-page ad on Google” and only then do we realize that they actually want to build a website …

Unfortunately, not understanding exactly what Google is, how it works, and what can be done to improve its ranking in this search results has been the cause of many failed Internet projects and a lot of wasted money building low-performing and unprofitable websites.

We hope this article dispels at least some of these misconceptions.

A little bit of history

No human creation has seen such rapid deployment as the Internet. Only thirty years ago, the Internet was the domain of only a handful of computer geeks, and today even people who have never been tempted by the use of computers cannot imagine life without the Internet and Google.

Search engines played the biggest role in this explosive development of the Internet. Through them, the Internet has turned from an indiscriminate accumulation of information into a truly global information system.

The dawn of the Internet (early and mid-1990s) was marked by a fierce “search engine war”. Many companies have invested millions in their quest to create a system that can successfully find the information they are looking for in the ocean called the Internet.

Thus sites such as Yahoo.com, Altavista.com, Ask-Jeeves.com, and dozens of other ambitious projects were born and developed.

However, the “war of search engines” seems to have suddenly ended with the appearance of the already well-known Google search engine. In just a few years, Google was able to establish itself unconditionally in the Internet space, leaving far behind any competition.

You will probably ask what is the reason? The reason is that Google has finally found the winning formula for an internet search engine – speed, simplicity, and common sense.

The Google revolution

As soon as it came online, Google took an approach that no one had thought of before. While most of its competitors, such as Altavista for example, required each site to manually register in the search engine, others, such as Yahoo, implemented a rather complex system of free and paid “ads”, thus introducing confusion between paid ads and search results, Google did two things:

  1. Google was already a real “search engine”, that is, it found the sites itself and did not require registration.
  2. Search results were ranked according to strictly defined criteria and could not be influenced by payment. In other words, the most meaningful results came first, not those whose owners had paid for them.

This formula proved to be so successful that it literally blew up the Internet world. For the “leaders” so far, such as Yahoo and Altavista, it remained only to follow Google, and from a certain moment on they began to show on their own sites the results of their competitor Google.

Well, this is called a victory, right? 😉

What resulted from that?

Google’s undisputed victory also brought about a series of changes in the overall approach to building sites. While until now the emphasis was on the keywords and descriptions of the sites when registering them in the “search engines”, now much more attention has been paid to the sites themselves – the nature and volume of the texts and the technical implementation (code) of the site.

The key to the first page in Google began to go through a long and hard work on optimizing the texts and code of the site …

Since Google was already crawling the sites on its own, site owners and authors began to pay more and more attention to their content. Of course, immediately there were “tricksters” who started trying to deceive and lie to Google. An endless “lying” began by oversaturating the pages with keywords (keyword stuffing), inserting keywords as hidden texts, etc.

To the great regret of these “cheaters”, however, Google quickly exposed the fraudsters and their sites were immediately removed from the search engine results. Good professionals quickly realized that the key to the first page in Google is not through attempts to deceive the search engine, but through long and hard work on optimizing the texts and code of the site …

This is how Search Engines Optimization (or SEO) was born

A new profession has appeared on the Internet. They called it SEO (Search Engines Optimization), and it dealt with the preparation and processing of texts for websites in such a way that the website ranks as well as possible in Google search results. This is also the basis of website optimization.

Finally, real specialists appeared who took up the search and preparation of what actually drives the entire Internet – textual information.

The work of website optimization specialists began with market research in the specific niche, including analysis of real Google searches for keywords and phrases, as well as research and analysis of real competition in the niche, with the ultimate end goal of preparing such texts, which best “fit into the picture” and give the site the best chances for good ranking.

It was also quickly realized that website optimization cannot be a one-time act, but an ongoing process. The reason was simple: every time a site’s ranking improved for a particular keyword, competing sites responded quickly by improving their texts.

Thus began the race for “Google’s favor” that continues to this day, and from which Google users mostly benefit. They could increasingly rely on truly relevant and ranked “merit” results for their searches.

What are the factors that affect Google’s ranking?

Of course, to ensure meaningful search results and to protect against scammers, Google is jealous of the algorithms it uses to rank results. These algorithms also change over time. However, there are some basic criteria that serve as Google’s starting points for ranking.

The main (but not all) criteria are:

  1. The nature, volume, qualities, and relevance of the texts on the site in relation to the search term,
  2. The quality of technical implementation (HTML code) of the site,
  3. The competition available on the Internet for the particular keyword,
  4. The number of connections (links) to the given site from other sites with a similar theme,
  5. The qualities, frequency, and volume of updates on the site,
  6. Site loading speed,
  7. … as well as a host of other criteria, most of which, as we’ve already said, are Google’s closely guarded secret.

From here it is clearly seen that optimization for search engines (that is, optimization for Google) is not and cannot be a one-time act. There is no such thing as a “subscription” for the top spot on Google, and anyone who says otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or is just plain lying.

You can read up-to-date information on what are actually the most important factors for a good ranking in Google today in our article “How to rank on the first page of Google today”.

What is website optimization (SEO)?

Optimizing a site for a good ranking in Google is a continuous process of improving the content of the site, monitoring the competition and taking adequate measures in this direction, building networks of links on other sites, and constantly updating the texts on the site, as well as improving its code.

Therefore, be very careful with companies that “guarantee” you a good ranking on Google only if you order your site with them. Building a quality site can only give you more chances to rank well, but keeping a site at the top of search is an ongoing process, not a one-time act.

What optimization can do (and what it CAN’T do)?

To optimize a site, you must have a site! We know how absurd this statement sounds, but unfortunately, our many years of practice have proven how true it is!

When clients call us and we ask them what source materials they have, one of the most common answers is “we have a lot of photos”.

Unfortunately, my dear friends, this is far from enough! For a website to have a chance at any ranking, pictures are not enough. There is no way to optimize a site that lacks texts, or the tests are simply few.

Your site needs texts to rank well! Lots of texts! Well-written, clearly focused, informative and helpful articles!

Remember this, and be aware that anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or is simply lying to you. It’s really that simple!

What does site optimization take care of?

In order to make a successful sale through your website, at least two things must happen:

  1. Your customer must land on your website.
  2. Your customer needs to make a decision to buy from you.

And while the optimization of your site can somewhat facilitate the “landing” of your potential customers on your site, whether your visitor will make a purchase decision and become your customer depends on completely different qualities of the site that have nothing to do with optimizing it for Google.

Therefore, think of optimizing your site as just the first step to your success on the Internet.

How does site optimization help you?

What optimization can do is drive visitors to your site by ranking the site better in Google searches.

However, if your site doesn’t contain the words or phrases people are searching for on Google, it’s just not going to happen!

As we have already mentioned in many places on this site, Google is a search engine that is determined by the text on a website.

Google doesn’t care about images, nor will it direct users to your site if it contains generic talk like “our company is the leader in the industry” or “our company employs talented professionals”.

Let’s add, however, that even if you manage to attract visitors to your site by means of well-optimized texts, this is still far from guaranteeing that your site will be successful and sell.

What optimization WILL NOT do?

The words “optimizing” and “optimization” somehow enticingly buzz in the heads of all site owners. Some of them are confident that only optimization is what will solve all the problems of the website and it will immediately start selling.

However, the truth is very different, and unfortunately, some site owners learn it “the hard way” – with their sites down for years!

Even if perfectly optimized and ranking well in the results, your website may fail again and not sell your product!

You will ask why? Because with optimization and good ranking, you only achieve your first goal – your visitor and potential customer entering your “store”.

Whether your visitor will shop at your website, however, depends on many other things, such as the appearance and the functionalities of the site, the texts and the organization of the information on the site, the arrangement and the way of presentation of the products, their prices, as well as all the information surrounding your products, such as the clear presentation of terms of delivery, complaints and many other factors.

And it is here that the role of experienced web designers and experts in digital marketing stands out, who, not only through the vision but also through relevant functionalities, appropriate texts, and organization of information, as well as adequate advertising techniques, can greatly contribute to your visitor become your customer.