obirsen May 16th, 2007
Written by Onur Birsen
Due to the fact that search engine optimization is such a complex field, understanding what it takes to make it to the top of the search engine results can be extremely challenging. Getting lost in the countless details of search engine optimization is easy and common. In this short article, I attempt to provide a bird’s eye view of the organic SEO process with the ultimate goal of making it easier to understand for the average person with no programming knowledge.
In my opinion, the easiest way to understand search engine optimization (SEO), or almost any topic for that matter, is to start with the basics, use everyday examples from other better understood topics, and focus on the similarities between them.
Let’s start by imagining that the internet, like the physical world, is comprised of continents, countries, counties, towns, neighborhoods, and ultimately houses where individuals live. Each website can be thought of like a house, with different sections of the website corresponding to the various floors in the house, and each web page corresponding to each room.
In order for a house to provide optimal living conditions, the following three factors need to be present: construction, furniture and transportation. The house needs to be built from the ground up, with a solid base, using safe and strong materials, and well thought out architecture. Once the structure is complete, it needs to be outfitted with furniture. Finally, the house needs to be reachable by roads, preferably close to large highways/intersections to make it more accessible.
In the same exact way described above, a website requires the following three factors to be implemented in order to become optimized for search engines: code, content, and links.
Code (i.e. construction)
A website’s information architecture needs to be carefully thought out prior to building it. It then needs to be built using quality programming code, compliant to professional standards. Just like one can build a house out of wood, bricks or steel, a website can be built using different programming languages. Depending on where the house is, and where it is in relation to other houses, using certain programming languages can yield better results.
Content: (i.e. furniture)
Immediately after a website has been coded, it is basically an empty shell. As a house needs furniture, a website needs content. The higher the quality of the furniture, and the more appropriate the type of furniture, the better. In the same way, higher quality and more relevant content is extremely important. Too much, or not enough content is also detrimental.
Connections: (i.e. transportation)
For both the tenants and their visitors, it should be easy to get to and leave a house. Convenient houses offer options for public and private transportation, have multiple avenues and highways around it with clear signs and directions. Typically, the more densely populated a neighborhood is, the more options there are for transportation, and the higher the market value of the houses in that neighborhood.
In the same way, the more links there are pointing to a website from other websites (incoming links), the easier it is to find it, and the higher the page rank (similar to market value). The easier it is to get to other quality, relevant points of interest from a website (outgoing links), the better. Having a road from a house to another small neighborhood is not as valuable as having a direct road to a major commercial center or vice-versa.
Covering Your Bases
Everyone would agree that having a large house with quality construction, and fabulous furniture is virtually worthless if there are no roads to get to the house. Even you have a well built house, right next to a busy commercial district, you will not live in it if it does has no beds to sleep on. Having the trendiest furniture in your house, located in the best neighborhood is just as useless if passing rain showers cause the ceilings to crack and collapse. Likewise, if you fail to ensure that your website has the three pillars of search engine optimization, you will be facing an increasingly uphill battle marketing your website.
About the author of this article:
Onur Birsen, M.B.A, C.P.A. is currently a partner and the Chief Technical Officer of Glacial Multimedia, Inc. He has been lecturing for over 6 years within the medical community on the topic of search engine optimization, and holds a degree on e-commerce from Harvard University.dd5