What is SEO?

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Great question. To understand SEO, you need to understand search engines. A search engine is a piece of software that crawls the internet and indexes its pages in order to provide the best website recommendations based on a user's search query. And they use complex, ever-changing algorithms to do that.

Moz said it best, “imagine the World Wide Web as a network of stops in a big city subway system. Each stop is a unique document.” As search engine bots crawl and index webpages, links serve as bridges that let them reach the billions of interconnected pages on the internet. From there, search engines are able to analyze and “understand” the contents of each page. When a user performs a search, they provide the best answer possible based on their algorithm specifications, ranking the results according to what they deem most relevant. It's all very impressive and can feel a little scary — but never fear, we're here to help.

The factors that search engines use to rank results include social media engagement, off-site optimization, topical authority, latent semantics, mobile friendless, local optimization, domain authority, and much more. That's where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO is the process of implementing strategies and techniques (both on site and off site) in an effort to achieve a higher rank in search results. Typically, the higher a site is in search results, the more visitors it receives.

Although there is much to learn about search engines and how to optimize for them, the following chapters will outline the steps to get you started with SEO for your BigCommerce store and, in time, help lead you to search engine domination!

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