Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

Dimitrios Giomelakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Andreas A. Veglis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch700
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Abstract

In this article, we will discuss at length the subject of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), its different characteristics and why basic SEO knowledge is considered as a useful tool for any web business. The article will address both the theoretical and practical issues related to the design and implementation of SEO and also will cover previous research done on this topic. In order to give a better understanding of the importance of SEO in the current state of the Internet and in information search, basic knowledge of how search engines operate along with their recent updates will also be provided. The development of World Wide Web (Web 2.0) along with the growth of search engines over the last decade has brought significant changes in web content. In this context, we will see how SEO has evolved over the years since mid 90's when it first emerged. Nowadays, social media and social signals have increasingly become one of the many factors search engines take seriously into account, which is another issue that this article will address.
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Introduction

The extensive range of information resources and services is certainly one of the most important features of the Internet while at the same time, web search is considered as a crucial application for managing the massive volumes of distributed web content. Beyond argument, search engines have made an enormous contribution to the web by making the process of finding information online a very quick and easy process. Today, major search engines are considered to be the most common and trusted tool or service to retrieve information from the Internet (Spink & Xu, 2000). Also, they are the primary method used for navigation for hundreds of millions of users worldwide and one of the most common online activities (Purcell, 2011; Purcell, Brenner, & Rainie, 2012). The majority of Internet traffic depends largely on them (Safran, 2013) and thus, web search is one of the best sources of traffic for any website. However, it is true that the vast majority of all search traffic comes from the first or the first pages of search results as users usually focus on the top ranks.

There are two ways an online user – customer will find a business website via a search engine: through a pay-per-click campaign (PPC) or through an organic result listing that is based essentially on what is called Search Engine Optimization or briefly, SEO. The latter can be defined as the process of affecting - improving the visibility of a website (or a web page) so that it ranks well for particular keywords in a search engine's “natural” or “organic” (un-paid) search results (Ledford, 2009; Potts, 2007). Generally, the earlier, and more frequently a site appears in the search engine results page, the more visitors it will receive from the search traffic. In other words, it is a set of techniques that take into account the evaluation criteria of search engines regarding website content and structure (Giomelakis & Veglis, 2015a).

There have been plenty studies regarding online users’ click behavior on search engine results pages. According to the results, 90 percent of search engine users never read beyond the third page of search results (iProspect, 2006). Also, the top listing in Google’s organic search results receivers 32.5 percent of the traffic, compared to 17.6 percent for the second and 11.4 percent for the third position. Finally, websites listed on the first page in Google’s results generate 92 percent of all traffic from an average search (Chitika, 2013). From all the above, it is evident that if a website is not in the first search results page or even worse is absent from the top 30, it has almost no chance of being read by a user (Clay, 2006). As a consequence, and while more and more websites are indexed by search engines and compete one another to ensure their own market share, it is clear that factors as the highest ranking and top of the results page become increasingly essential for businesses of all kinds (Enge, Spencer, & Stricchiola, 2015; Giomelakis & Veglis, 2015a).

This chapter provides an overview of Search Engine Optimization, with a focus on its different characteristics as well its history and how it has evolved over the years. In order to give a better understanding of the importance of SEO in the current state of the Internet and in information search, basic knowledge of how search engines operate along with their recent updates are also provided.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Local Seo: The optimization process that focuses on results that are relevant to a user based on its current location.

Social Signals: A kind of recommendations through social media. Social signals are the Facebook shares or likes, the tweets, Google +1s, pins or some other way of social media bookmarking or sharing.

Organic Results: Also called «natural» or un-paid. The results that appear because of their relevance to the search terms.

User-Generated Content (UGC): Any form of digital content such as images, video, status updates or blogs that is produced and shared by users of an online service or website, often made available via social media websites.

Vertical Search: The search accessibility of specific segments and formats of online content. Vertical search services focus on specific topics such as news, restaurants or products. Google provides also vertical search such as Google news or Google images.

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