Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of tuning both the internal and external aspects of a website to attract more traffic from search engines. The objective of SEO is to rank high on Search Engine Result Pages, commonly referred as SERPs.
How Search Engines Work
In order to understand SEO it is good to have a general knowledge of how search engines work.
The following steps provide a bird’s eye view of how search engines operate:
- Special search engine programs called Spiders or Search Bots crawl your web page gathering information.
- The information about each webpage is kept on a giant index (like the index found in a book).
- When a user performs a search, the engine will scan the index and retrieve the web page that best matches the search query.
- The results are now ranked and displayed to the user in descending order of relevancy (relevancy is primarily based on keyword matching).
This is how a typical search engine worked in the early to late 90s. One of the major problems that plagued the 90s search engines was that their ranking system was not smart enough. The ranking system was merely looking the relevancy of a web page by scanning the content for the search keywords. The results shown on the top of the search pages were not necessarily the most relevant content. A poor quality document with lots of stuffed keywords could easily overtake a high quality document in terms of SERP rankings. Many users were frustrated with the search results they were getting.
In 1998, Google came into the scene. Google had a totally new idea on how to rank the web pages. Google not only looked at the relevancy but also looked at the popularity of a document. For example take the following scenario, there are two articles on the Internet. Both are of good quality. But article B is talked about by many people on the Internet. When I say talked about, what I mean is there are lots of quality links pointing to Article B. This means article B is popular than article A, even though both articles are of good quality. In this instance Google will rank article B ahead of article A. But if you really think about this, article B should also be much better in quality than article A, that is why many people are talking about it in the first place. Google ranking system took relevancy and popularity into account. The score that Google gave to each page based on its ranking is known as the Page Rank. The Page Ranking system has allowed Google to give you the most relevant and popular search results.
In order to optimize your real estate website for search engines, you need to perform 3 types of Search Engines Optimization.
Internal Aspects of Your Website
1. On Page SEO
Refers to improvements that you do on a webpage to make the page search engine friendly.
2 On Site SEO
Refers to improvements that you do to your website as a whole to make the site search engine friendly.
3. OFF site SEO
Refers to anything that you do outside your website to make your site more search engine friendly. Off Site SEO primary involves the task of building quality links to your website.
In the next sections, we’ll study each type of SEO in greater detail.