Devising an efficient SEO strategy is a matter of understanding the process of search engine optimisation. Although Google has been consistently rolling out new algorithm updates, with the Quality update as the last, the core principles of SEO haven’t changed. By learning the role of each element in the process of SEO, brands can understand the process of how search engines like Google get, index, and deliver data as a way of implementing solid strategies that increase exposure, drive more traffic, and generate more sales.
Let’s delve deeper into search engines’ modus operandi, and how each process aligns with the core principles of SEO.
The Core Elements of SEO
Search engine optimisation consists of three core elements: technology, relevance, and authority. Each of these elements aligns with a search engine process – but more on this below.
Technology is the element that refers to everything technical that has to do with the site, from URL structure to XML sitemap, HTML coding, and HTTP status codes. These technical aspects ensure that your website has proper structure and can easily be crawled and indexed by search engines. Website platforms (technically known as content management systems) play a very big role in how easy to crawl and index your website is. While some platforms, like WordPress, integrate many core SEO elements into its structure, others like .NET don’t, making the entire optimisation process difficult and time-extensive.
There are many technical elements of a website, but to list just a few:
XML sitemap: an XML file that provides a breakdown of your website for faster indexing.
URL structure: clean and simple, without any parameters such as date, post category, or post author.
HTTP status codes: 301 status code for “Moved Permanently” pages, 302 status code for “Moved Temporarily” pages, etc.
Ten years ago, search engines were not as clever as they are today, putting emphasis on keyword occurrences within a web page rather than the relevance of that page to a user’s search query. This is no longer the case today, as search engines have developed the understanding of the context of search queries, as well as whether or not a web page is relevant to it. Relevance is about the various on-page elements that tell if your website can be correctly interpreted by search engines. Generally, these elements include:
Adequate content structure: heading tags, bulleted or numbered lists, short paragraphs etc.
Optimised headlines: this should include the main keyword close to the front, 50-60-character length.
Readability: good command of English language, with no grammatical errors or spelling errors.
Outbound links: 2-3 links pointing to other relevant sources.
Content with good quality is the most important, as it combines most on-page elements, thus increasing the relevance of a website for a specific query.
The third and equally important core element of SEO is authority, which allows websites to brand themselves as authoritative and highly credible sources in a specific niche/industry. Authority is calculated based on a number of factors, including inbound links from established websites and social signals that show that your website provides quality content that’s popular and very valuable.
In theory, websites will link back to your site as long as your content delivers accurate information backed up by verifiable facts. Authority is supported on the relevance pillar, so the more relevant a website is for users’ queries, the more authoritative it will be.
How Do SEO Elements Align with Search Engine Processes?
Web search is a complex process that’s divided into 3 smaller processes: the crawler, the indexer and the query engine. Together, they provide search results that are relevant to a user’s query, valuable and accurate as well.
The crawler, also known as “spider,” is essentially where web search begins. This process involves crawling the World Wide Web to look and retrieve content, and also to find and follow hyperlinks. The crawling process with a list of URLs supplied through XML sitemaps: the crawler visits each URL, identifies new hyperlinks and adds them to a new list (which essentially replaces the initial list). The process is repeated, and so the crawler gets an increasing number of hyperlinks.
In order for the crawling process to take place on your website, it is necessary to have an XML sitemap, correct HTTP status codes for each page, good site structure and clean URL structure. This makes the crawling process significantly easier, getting your website ready for the next stage of the process – indexation.
The hyperlinks retrieved by the crawler are forwarded to the indexer that analyzes them and designates an individual relevance value to each keyword within the content.
3. Query Engine
The last process of web search is the query engine, which implies determining the context of a user’s query, and providing the most relevant of results based on it. The query engine retrieves URLs from the index, applies them the ranking values set during the indexation process, and compiles a list of results based on these values to be shown to the user.
Different types of results (e.g. images, news, local) are largely determined by the context and intent of a query, type of device, user location, and query intent.
Now that you understand how web search works and how each component of SEO aligns with the different processes entailed by web search, you can proceed to reviewing and devising your current strategy. If you’re not familiar with search engine optimisation, you may want to hire a SEO Sydney company to help you implement a strategy that addresses all core elements of the process.
A reliable SEO agency should have a very good understanding of SEO, knowing how each element aligns with the three processes of web search. While it may be a significant investment on your end, the revenue potential is incredibly high, thus making it critical to your success.