In today’s net-savvy world it has become the norm for businesses to have websites that they use to widen their exposure and advertise their products and services. Conversely, search engines make it very easy for potential customers to search for the products and services they need online.

For a website to be successful, its link should land in the first three pages of the search engine, which should result in many visitors visiting the site. This can be achieved by implementing some search engine optimization on your website, which is popularly known as SEO. I thought I would explore the mechanics of SEO today in order to give you a better idea of how the process works.

SEO not only affects the search engine results, but also image search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. It determines how a search algorithm functions and searches what is popular with people. When a website link is submitted to a search engine, a special software robot called web crawler or web spider crawls through the site’s pages to gather links, which lead to other pages in the site. Those pages are then stored on the server of the search engine.

The information collected from these pages is sent to the indexer. The indexer’s job is to extract information from the stored pages, (such as the keywords and their weights, the location of the page, and other links that are stored for the web spider to crawl through in the future).

In the beginning, the search engine optimizing algorithms were dependent on the keywords and other technical information provided by the Webmaster. The use of keywords was and remains an integral part of success, but the other technical information didn’t prove to be useful, because some Webmasters added irrelevant elements to it in order to increase the number of hits and earn huge ad revenue. They even changed the HTML code of the web pages in order to achieve a good rank for the page, but these were instances of abuse that often resulted in the fetching of irrelevant pages.

Search engines then began utilizing complex ranking algorithms, which were difficult for the webmasters to manipulate so as to provide web surfers with genuine results. The rank of the web page was calculated mathematically by functions using strength and quantity of the inbound links. The higher the rank of the page, the more chances it had to be viewed by a person.

Later algorithms were developed which considered various other on-page factors such as rank and off-page factors such as hyperlinks. Since the webmasters couldn’t manipulate the page rank, they began exchanging and selling and buying links, which led to link spamming and even creation of numerous sites dedicated for this purpose.

Algorithms became more complex every passing day, and top search engines kept their algorithms a secret. As the cost of SEO increased, advertisers were roped in to pay for it, and that finally resulted in high quality web pages.

Although investing in SEO is potentially very fruitful it can also be quite risky, because without any prior notice the algorithms being used are bound to change and the search engine will stop directing visitors to the page. Many consultants are available in the market that provides SEO services. They manipulate the HTML source code in websites, affecting menus, shopping carts and sometimes even the content of the website to draw more traffic.

Search engines like Yahoo have algorithms that extract pages not according to the page rank, but according to the cost per click or set fee. If an advertiser desires for the page containing his ad to be displayed, he is expected to pay money for it. This is a point of controversy, as in many cases only the big businesses are fully able to increase the number of hits of their page using this method, but not the small businesses that might have a better quality page but a very small advertising budget.

Now that I’ve shared all that info with you, I must tell you to proceed with great caution when dealing with SEO service providers. SEO can be great for your online presence if you do your due diligence and deal with the right expert, but it can eat up your budget very quickly if you don’t, without any meaningful results…PROCEED WISELY!

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