Let’s imagine we have three characters in a story:
a. John, who wants to find some things on [bread] via Google;
b. Mary, who’s an expert in SEO;
c. A search engine – let’s call this one Google, due to some statistics;
1. What is Search Engine Optimization?
Let’s imagine John, who wants to get some insights on bread. He goes to Google.com and types [bread]. What will he find in there?
a. He’ll find some general information on ‘bread’: Wikipedia page (always there for most generic terms), some recipes, various information on cooking bread; So this is an informative type of result that he’ll get (he’ll only get information);
b. He’ll also get some information on things to do; Most likely buy some bread online, buy some appliances (like an bread-making-machine, a cutting knife, an utility to store bread in), download things (download a brochure on bread); This would be a navigational query; He will do some actions (from buying online to downloading things on his PC).
What does Google do? Google will try his best to serve John best: he’ll deliver top results (based on some ever-changing mysterious algorithm), both informative and navigational. In this specific case, there are mostly informational results on top 100 results (Add [Buy] to the keywords searched and things may differ).
Here comes Mary. She has a client that sells bread online. That client wants to be as high as possible in the results page delivered to John (first top 10 positions? Why not?). I won’t tell you right now if the client has a relevant (to his business) objective for Mary to solve, but I will tell you that Mary has three interests for reaching those objectives:
a. Get her money from the client by delivering a top 10 result for [bread] query;
b. Make Google thing that her client deserves to get to top 10 pages (using SEO techniques);
c. Make John click on the result after he sees it (this would be an additional objective from the client).
That’s what, at a basic level, SEO is about.
So, how does Mary do all that? It’s time for part two of the presentation.
2. How is SEO done?
Now we’re getting a bit technical. SEO comes from “Search Engine Optimization”. A better-to-understand definition would be: “Optimization of web sites so that search engines love them”.
How does Mary manage (hopefully) to get a top 10 result for [bread] keyword for her client? She has two basic solutions at her side (and she should use them both with equal interest):
a. Modify the website of the client, so that Google loves the web site for the [bread] keyword; This implies quite a few things to be done:
i. Create a page on that web site (might even be the homepage) that is dedicated to the word [bread];
ii. Give the page the title and description related to the word [bread];
iii. Use [bread] word a few times in the page;
iv. Emphasize the word (bold, italic, underline);
v. Make links from other pages of the web site to that page;
… and some other things, which are best described at this page: SEOmoz | Google Search Engine Ranking Factors;
b. Get links from
i. Important web sites;
ii. A lot of web sites;
to her web site in general, and also to that particular page;
The links should be (at optimal level):
i. Contain the [bread] word;
ii. Be placed well in the page (so not in the footer, with small fonts);
… and follow other criteria, described, again, in here: SEOmoz | Google Search Engine Ranking Factors;
Mary should do a lot of things to optimize the site itself and to get the links from other web sites. But the basic two things she needs to do are said above: change the web site to be loved by Google and have links from other web sites.
3. How will SEO look like in 10 years’ time?
Let’s go back to John and imagine he’s 10 years older. He goes to a new version of Google, and let’s stay that, 10 years after today, he’ll still be looking for bread, instead for some magic future pill to digest and have no hunger.
How would Google look in 10 years time?
a. I think Google would be much more local; He’ll get the IP address of my computer and only provide me with local store selling bread;
b. Here goes personalization: if I search today for bread and find a good result on the fourth page of results, Google (in 10 years’ time, remember that) might remember this thing I just done and serve the result in the top positions next time I search for [bread]; Since I already clicked on it, and I stopped looking for other results (Google can already determine this easily), this means I’m satisfied and I shouldn’t spend the same time looking for it again and again; Google should learn from what I learn!
c. Social: Google should provide me with good links of my friends (what recipes do they like) or my neighbors (where do they buy bread from);
d. Semantic: in the year of 2019, I might go to Google and type the thing below and he should understand exactly what I mean:
“I want to see a bakery selling ecological bread in my area”;
Google should de-compose this into:
[show me images] AND
[of bread selling magazines] AND
[with ecological bread] AND
[in the geographical area where my IP is located]
(and decompose these even further into his language).
Now these kinds of radical changes might also shape the way Mary will do SEO in 2019, wouldn’t you say?
Note: Also see the Yahoo! Group on which I present similar issues:IMRo. To join, email firstname.lastname@example.org and reply to the confirmation email.