Back in the day, if you wanted to get noticed, it meant renting a billboard, taking out an ad in a newspaper or failing that, just standing on a soapbox in the park and pontificating. But now with large search engines being the go-to fonts of information for most of us, to make themselves heard, people, companies and other organizations have been seeking ways to fight and claw to the top of search results using a process called search engine optimization or SEO. But what is that? How do search engines work? Well you see, giant search engines like Google use algorithms to push relevant results to the top of the web page, so that when a user types in a computer mouse, they will get links to buy a new input device rather than pictures of Stewart little trying to use a PC. Now, how exactly these algorithm work are usually closely guarded trade secrets, but there is enough public knowledge for webmasters to attempt to tune their pages to boost their position in the search results. In fact, Google even puts out a search engine optimization starter guide to help website owners improve their chances of earning the coveted top result. So, then for starters, it is a good idea to optimize your pages metadata. Metadata is all the stuff other than the actually content people will see in their browsed window. And accurate metadata things like descriptive page titles or embedding a short explanation of what is on the page into your HTML which you can often end up seeing underneath the Google result, can help push your site up to the top. A more recent development in making URLS themselves more informative. You've probably seen this on News site which have started to use file names that indicate what the article is about, like tasteless Youtube wear socks and sandals.html which is a lot more helpful to a search engine than just assigning some random number. Another pro tip is to nest your pages in some sort of sensible directory structure organized by things like topics and dates. But what about the page itself? Well, since most modern search engines use how often a page is linked to as a key metric of its importance providing descriptive text links in a body of a webpage to other pages on your site can be very helpful. And search engines are aware of things like topic headers and alt text for images to help categorize the site. The key as with any metadata is to keep these as short, but also as informative and descriptive as possible to make it easier for a search engine to determine that your site is relevant to a particular topic. Of course, though, everything we’ve outlined so far, is legitimate SEO strategy. There are a plenty of other tricks that might be employed by unscrupulous site owners.These collectively are known as black hat SEO or spam dexing. And their goal is to try to make the page seem more relevant to a topic than it actually is, and these tricks can take the form of anything from citing keywords in invisible text that a user would have to highlight to buying link backs or even traffic from other sites for using irrelevant keywords that might be trending at the moment or even just overusing the relevant ones. This kind of behavior has resulted in a bit of digital arms race between search engine developers who are trying to weed out these pages for their users and spammers or site owners who are desperate for clicks and aren’t above using shady tactics, so who will ultimately win? Well, let me put it this way as search giants like Google deploy more sophisticated methods to separate the signal from the noise, my advice is if you want your website to be around for a long time, stick to the honest tried and true tactics.