In understanding the use of SEO for business development, it is also important to understand how search engines work in order to make best use of them in developing your business. In saying that we are not referring to the mathematics of search engine algorithms or exactly how they calculate the relevance of individual web pages to the search terms used to find them, but to those aspects of websites that are important in achieving high listing for any specific page.
First, let us agree to use Google as an example of a search engine: this makes sense because Google is used by more people than all the others together. In fact, in one study, Google had 85.3% of the total search engine traffic in December 2009, with Yahoo next on 6.3% and Bing with 3.3%.
When a Google user uses a search term to find information online, Google doesn’t then scan all the world’s web pages seeking that term, but refers to its index, on which it has listed web pages that provide that search term or vocabulary semantically related to it. In fact, it is possible to have a page listed for a specific keyword that does not contain that keyword at all – anywhere on the page! Google employs algorithms programmed to use pre-defined factors that calculate the relevance of the page to the search term being used.
You can use a keyword on your page to improve the possibility of your page receiving a high listing should anybody use it in their search, but there are many more aspects of SEO for business development that just keywords. By learning how search engines work you can maximize your web page to best meet the criteria that Google uses in calculating the relevance of a page to the information it considers a user is searching for.
First, each page is listed separately, so you will not find entire websites listed on Google. You will find either the home page or internal pages of a website, together with the links that can guide visitors through the entire site. In that respect, home page listing is equivalent to a site listing, but unlike website directories, a search engine will also list the internal pages of a site.
So let’s say you are using the term ‘Apple’ on Google to find information on growing Bramley cooking apples. Google will look up its index for ‘apple’ and list the web pages it calculates to offer the best information about apple. Some search engines regard singular and plural as being the same, but not Google. The top 10 results of a recent search offered 9 results on Apple Inc. and 1 on the fruit. This is where knowing how search engines work is beneficial in enabling you, not only to find the information you want, but also in optimizing your website and in the use of SEO for business development.
First, Google distinguishes between ‘apple’ and ‘apples’, and by using the plural, we now get 4 results for the fruit. A problem here is that Google looks, not only at the website and the on-page search engine optimization, but also at how many other pages link to the indexed pages. The more links back, then more authoritative that page is deemed to be on the topic of apples. That is why the Apple Inc. pages still figure highly, because they tend to have a lot more links from other web pages than a page on fruit apples.
You have to use an aspect of what Google refers to as ‘latent semantic indexing’ (LSI). That is language relating to the keyword in the meaning it is used on the page. Somebody designing a page on cooking apples would have to use related terms such as, cooking, fruit, pips, core, pies, etc, to show Google the type of ‘apple’ that the page relates to. You have to refine your search using similar terms.
So ‘cooking apples’ now provides a list with all 10 results appertaining to cooking apples. Refine it further using ‘growing bramley cooking apples’ and you get exactly what you are looking for. Not only that but the results are listed with the most authoritative web page listed first, based upon many factors such as content (use the Title and Description tags and H headings to tell Google what your page is all about), its relevance (use keywords and semantically related text to achieve this) and authority (internal and external links to the important pages).
That is basically how search engines work, and although there are many more aspects of SEO for business development used by Google in assessing the relevance and importance of your page to specific keywords it contains, focusing on the above will enable you to make good use of the search engine both as source of information and as a means of developing your business.