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Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, can be a bit of a head-scratcher, especially if you're just starting out. It's often difficult to figure out exactly how these search engines work and how they get their information, so let me give you a very short primer to give you at least an idea of where this index information comes from. I have Google open in my browser and if I go and search for lynda.com, the search engine gives me a response. In this case, it says here, "lynda.com Software training and tutorial video library." "Our online courses help you learn critical skills." "Free access & previews on hundreds of tutorials." If we go to lynda.com though, you'll see that that text doesn't appear on the page, so where is it coming from? Well, the text is hidden in meta-content of the page.
So if we activate Firebug and go down to SenSEO, and click Show Components, you'll see that the title is Software training online tutorials for Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple & more. And then Meta-Description here, the second line, says, Software training & tutorial video library. Our online courses, etcetera, etcetera. So you see the Meta-Description matches what Google is displaying here as the description, but the Meta-Description does not display in the page itself.
That means search engines grab content that's put into the page and display it in their index. But it goes a step further than that, because now everyone is using these social networks like Facebook, Google+, and so on. And these social networks have become very advanced in how they share information. So let's take a look at Facebook, so you see what I'm talking about. Let's say I want to share the link to lynda.com in Facebook. I go to my Update status function and punch in the URL, www.lynda.com, and hit space.
Now Facebook goes to lynda.com and picks up information like a thumbnail, a title, and description and displays it in a preview for me. This is what's I'm going to be shared with all my friends. And as you can see, this information matches what Google was displaying, so when you're thinking about SEO, you're no longer just thinking about search engines, you're also thinking about social networks. And the reality is more people find your content on social networks now than they do on search engines. And more importantly, when people share your pages on social networks, you control what they see in the preview of your page.
So Search Engine Optimization is no longer just Search Engine Optimization. It's become Search Engine and Social Network Optimization. And as you can see, with the right code you can control your message.
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