SEO: The Internet’s Dewey Decimal System
In the Google-plex universe of the internet terms like SEO, API, and algorithm are thrown around, but what does it all mean and why is that important to you as a customer?
Internet jargon is all the rage nowadays, but it’s shrouded in mysterious overtones. In the Google-plex universe of the internet terms like SEO, API, and algorithm are thrown around, but what does it all mean and why is that important to you as a customer? First, it should be noted what SEO stands for: Search Engine Optimization.Put simply: SEO is the underlying system that helps search engines create relevant results on websites like Google.com. Even that sounds vague and very intangible, though. It becomes a lot easier to understand when you think about it in terms of physical objects.
So let’s imagine the whole internet is in a library, and all the books within the library are the websites that inhabit them. These books have images, text, and tons of info within them that are managed by the Dewey Decimal System. When you look for a book at a library, the librarian can look up the book on their computer or uses the Dewey Decimal System, which is a system created to organize books by their subject. When it comes to the internet, you have Search Engines like Google or Bing instead of a librarian. Rather than using numbers to find your website, like the Dewey Decimal System, these search engines use metadata. Metadata is the information that defines what kind of topics are within websites. Meta is a Greek derived term meaning “beside” or “alongside.” So its all the data that naturally appears alongside a website as its developed that gives it content
All of this content has to be logged and indexed in search engines like a book would if it were to show up in the dewey decimal system.
…its all the data that naturally appears alongside a website as its developed that gives it content
Best practices these days consist of someone combing through and editing the metadata to correctly inform the Search Engines what all the content is, or the search engine will define it however it sees fit (or sometimes not a all). So it’s important to have someone go through and make sure the content throughout the website is correctly formatted to communicate with the Search Engine effectively to show relevant results for the customer.
You might be thinking: why do I need someone else to do that for me? First, you might need to edit direct HTML in the websites code. It’s not impossible, but can sometimes be risky, frustrating, and time consuming. Someone who is intimately involved with websites can do this more quickly and efficiently. Secondly, there are ethical guidelines for the internet’s metadata. Back when Google started out, you could simply trick the search engine into bringing your results up first by jamming a bunch of keywords into your metadata (known now as black hat SEO and VERY much frowned upon). This meant your end user might get unrelated results because someone packed their website with poor quality metadata.
Google is a little bit more complicated now, and uses an algorithm that actually tries to get around these SEO tricks that manipulate the search engines. Google actually encourages people to report improper use of SEO, so its important to keep your metadata ethical and full of truthful and quality information.
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