Search Engine Optimization is, so to speak, the art of making websites attractive to Google in order to rank highly in search and maximize exposure to customers. It involves optimizing the content and structure of a website so that the website receives a higher ranking on the major search engines when a user inputs targeted keywords. While you don’t necessarily need a physics degree to become involved in SEO, having a physics degree may help you to understand the process better. In fact, SEO operates based on principles that are quite similar to a key physics concept: Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
According to the General Theory of Relativity, there is no such thing as absolute time. Instead, the concept of time is relative to matter and space. A similar theory can be applied to websites on the internet. There is no absolute authority on the web. Any given site’s authority on any topic is relative to the authority of other websites on the same topic.
For example, search engines such as Google typically determine how much traffic a given website receives for a search term by ranking it among other sites for that same keyword. The higher the site is ranked, the more authority it supposedly has on the subject. To determine the website’s ranking, Google compares it to similar sites and determines its authority relative to them. For example, Google has already determined that The New York Times website has a lot of authority for searches related to news topics, so The New York Times website will typically rank high during these searches. To determine the authority of another news website, Google may compare the website’s content and structure to that of The New York Times. Therefore, the authority of that website is relative to the authority Google has assigned to The New York Times.
While this example illustrates the concept, it isn’t usually all that simple in practice. Search engines don’t determine the ranking of a new site solely based on how it compares to one other site. Instead, they use a complicated algorithm that compares the site to hundreds of other sites on the internet. The algorithm also examines the keywords used on the website, the number of backlinks it has from other sites, and the level of authority assigned to the backlinks. The result is a complicated network of websites with interrelated levels of relative authority that a search engine uses to provide a page of ranked results each time a user inputs a search term.
Envisioning this complicated network of relativity is helpful for SEO professionals. By understanding how it operates, they become better equipped to optimize a website. For example, if you were using SEO to generate traffic for a given website, you would want its authority relative to other websites of the same type to be high. If its authority is higher than that of similar sites, Google and other search engines will assign the site a higher ranking. You would also make sure the site has a good distribution of the keywords you want search engines to associate it with and that it has quality backlinks from other sites with high authority.