Welcome to What is SEO, Inklings’ five part series to help companies and small business owners gain an understanding of the mysterious art of Search Engine Optimization!

In March 2016, the world count for websites finally broke 1 billion (internetlivestats.com). While only about 200 million of these websites are listed as active, competition is fierce for the coveted first page of Google. As the number of active websites continues to climb, more small business are asking the question, “How do I make my business stand out online?”

How Do Search Engines Find My Website?

The first thing to understand is how Search Engines find and prioritize websites. The Big Three (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) all use complex algorithms. Five years ago, getting to the front page was as easy as choosing a few choice keywords and setting your website loose; however, as the internet grew, so did the algorithms. In order to deliver better results to the consumer, the search engines had to learn how to weed out spam, inactive, and unsafe sites.

They do this by using bots to index websites and running the site against a series of desired attributes. These attributes are usually fit into four main categories:

  • Keyword Use
  • Quality and Quantity of Links
  • Site Usability
  • Site Traffic

Altogether, there are over 200 unique attributes in these categories that a search engine looks for when deciding how to rank a website (Brian Dean, backlinko.com).

Small Business SEO

So where does all of this leave a small business just looking to expand their customer base? Although SEO sounds like an expensive, complex endeavor for a small business to take on, the challenge isn’t insurmountable as it seems. With the right skills, your website can be the valuable asset your company needs. Over the next few articles we will cover the steps that a small business can take to improve their Search Engine Optimization, and the red flags to look for when choosing third party services.

SOURCES REFERENCED

Brian Dean; https://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors; 2018

http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/; 2017


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