Search Engine Optimization is an online platform that allows users to find websites and web pages that are similar to their requests (Kaur, 2017, p. 147). The search results are calculated using algorithms based on various results of similarity. The similarity aspects are in relation to the similarity and popularity of the contents and topics of the websites. SEO is a free online marketing platform because it does not charge the corporations for the search results (Kaur, 2017, p. 147). Search engines find the requested information by filtering the websites and webpages based on similarity and then display the results based on popularity. Corporations have realized the free and independent market that exists in online search results. Rules exist limiting the techniques website managers may introduce new information and alter web pages. These rules ensure fairness and credible results. However, there exist contemporary websites called Black Hat SEOs that use “unethical means called spamming” to alter the results (Swati, Pawar, & Ajay, 2012, p. 12). These unethical techniques are employed on their websites, other websites, and search engines. The Black Hats do this to increase their markets by ensuring more viewers, albeit illegally. Further research is recommended to ensure only ethical means are used (Swati, Pawar, & Ajay, 2012, p. 13).
The design of a website is an important determinant of the search results. Online search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo rely on the similarity of the domain names and titles of contents in the sites. The ranking is based on similarity percentages based on domain name and content. Organizations and individuals seeking increased viewers of their websites work on improving the similarity of content to highly-searched content. There exist rules to the search process, but unethical black hat techniques increase the ranking of some sites.
Optimization is most important for business in marketing. Interpreted, the high and first ranking means more visitors to a website. The ranking is a result of the relevance and popularity of the site. Popularity pertains to the reference made to the website as a certified source of the requested information. Credibility is achieved through comments and directories to the website. The directories allow more hyperlinks over the world-wide-web which results in a higher ranking of the website (Kaur, 2017, p. 151). To increase relevance, the design of a website should allow access to the website for the Spider search engines. The access is enabled by unrestricted access to topics and headings of information on the website (Kaur, 2017, p. 149). Words used in the domain names, topics, and headings relate to what the company is associated with and what the clients are likely to search for. The search process relates to the domain name, Uniform Resource Locator (URL), web pages in a website, header tags, and titles, and names of images, videos, and audio recordings. The search engine relies on the following in the ranking of websites (Kaur, 2017, p. 150);
- A search engine cannot interpret sounds, videos, and images into words. Instead, it only reads the titles and tags associated with such.
- While the search engine searches for associated websites with the clients’ requests, it links with the URLs.
- Not all websites are free to visit and access the information while some are restricted by passwords. Instead, the search engines rely on the available topics and headings.
- Search engines read data from top to bottom and left to right.
Discussion of Findings
To counter the problems associated with search optimization, there is the usage of contemporary search optimization methods. The design of websites was also found to be important in search optimization. This article has more info. The optimization process is seen to be a marketing strategy and hence the associated organizations continuously change content to ensure higher ranking. To boost the ranking and prioritization of a website, there are two types of SEO techniques used;
White Hat SEO
White hat refers to SEO techniques used according to the laid down rules and policies on search engines. The results in White hat SEO are not altered, hence, are reliable and benefit both the search engine and user. There are two major white hat optimizations techniques;
This technique is dependent on keywords and their similarity to the requested data by a client; in essence it relies on information stored in the web pages. This technique requires the website owners to improve;
- Title tags- these are the most important in SEO. The spider engines list the websites based on titles and headings of different topics.
- Keyword density- the choice of words for titles should be similar to the discussed topic and should be words that are mostly searched by clients. However, these words should also be unique to reduce chances of similarity of words. The recommended similarity of words between the topic and body content is between 2%-8% (Swati, Pawar, & Ajay, 2012, p. 11). The similarity allows the search engines to associate the similar words in the webpage to the heading resulting in a higher ranking.
- Keyword in URL- association between the requested content and the URL helps rate the website higher in the results.
- Alt text keyword- because the search engines cannot interpret nor read images, the text is associated with the images. They describe the image using distinct words which when searched, result in the search engine finding the image.
- Off-site Optimization
Optimized view and ranking are also determined by external links to one website; these are usually not in any way connected to nor are they controlled by the website managers. The website with the highest rank appears at the top. To achieve this, the owners of the website require external links from reputable websites “websites with more number of backlinks improve ranking in search engine result,” (Swati, Pawar, & Ajay, 2012, p. 12). This is achieved because the search engine prioritizes search in the popular sites and because of increased links to a website, they are ranked top.
Black Hat SEO
The design of search engines is meant to promote honesty and fair competition among website owners. This is achieved and regulated under the rules and policies of search engines. However, corporations understand the relevance of the top position in the marketing of their entities. The top rank is interpreted to being “effective and least costly to reach many people,” (Swati, Pawar, & Ajay, 2012, p. 12). Cost-effective marketing is because users access the information without the corporations having to pay the search engine companies. Also, the top position means that the websites are viewed by millions of users. It is for these online marketing advantages that firms have resulted to using unethical methods to market their products. The processes involved in the technique include;
- Invisible text- this is where the “SEO optimizers insert text in the website which is unrelated to” a website (Swati, Pawar, & Ajay, 2012, p. 12). The inserted text is invisible to the user because it is written in a color similar to the background. The computer and search engines read the words and prioritize the websites because the words hidden are the popular or trending words.
- Link spamming- because search engines prioritize website results based on links to the website, these businesses and corporations list their links in comments on websites and blogs.
- URL redirection- these spammers allow the search engines to fairly prioritize the websites but limits the results to the client. The spammers force the loaded websites to redirect to their desired websites.
- Cloaking- search engines are altered to displays different website results from what the client requests (Swati, Pawar, & Ajay, 2012, p. 13). To achieve this, spammers introduce scripts that alter the readability of websites by search engines.
- Content scraping- against the copyright laws, these spammers copy data from popular websites and paste it in their sites. This improves the spammers’ ranking because the search engine cannot tell the duplicate from the original.
Speed also called crawl, is the main determinant of the ranking of a website. Fast speed is recommended because it results in a faster display of the website. The importance of fast speed is to allow clients to see the website listed first. This because users read through the ranked websites. “86% of people skip through television commercials and 44% of direct of direct mail is never opened,” (Zilincan, 2015, p. 506). Therefore, significant marketing is represented by search engine results because it allows more viewers to the website and its products and services.
Search Engine Optimization is an important marketing platform for businesses and other organizations. Because of the fast-changing technology concepts, the website development process is recommended to consider the best practices to allow higher ranking. The concepts considered include; allowed access to titles and headings, fast internet, use of unique names, and careful selection of domain names and URLs. Corporations have realized the importance of SEO and invested in ethical optimization techniques. However, some contemporary unethical methods are used to gain popularity and higher ranking in the search results. The unethical techniques limit the efficiency of the search results because they alter the results and hide relevant and credible results from clients. It is for these reasons that further research is recommended to ensure the use of such techniques is impossible.
Kaur, G. (2017). ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. International Journal of Research, 5(6), 147-151. Retrieved from http://granthaalayah.com/Articles/Vol5Iss6/18_IJRG17_A06_401.pdf
Swati, P. P., Pawar, P. V., & Ajay, S. P. (2012). Search Engine Optimization: A study. Research Journal of Computer and Information Technology Sciences, 1(1), 10-13. Retrieved from http://retawprojects.com/uploads/search_engine.pdf
Zilincan, J. (2015). Search Enhine Optimization. International Conference on Innovation, 3(1), 506. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/3bdd33f13271d74e8190c40752d06d85/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2045748