API stands for “application programming interface” and basically designates an interface for application programs. An API provides a set of commands, functions and protocols that make programming software easier. These predefined functions make it easier for the programmer to interact with the operating system because the hardware (monitor, data on the hard disk, etc.) does not have to be addressed directly. When it comes to the internet, web APIs come to the fore. They also serve as an interface to enable the use of existing functions by third parties.
Since the days of Web 2.0, the term API has also increasingly appeared in connection with the Internet. A web API is an interface to websites and web applications. It is used to exchange and process content between websites and enables third parties to access data pools and user groups. Authorization API and Authentication API are two special forms of Web APIs.
- Authorization API: Interface for granting access to users. The OAuth standard has established itself here: a user can independently consent to his data being accessible to third parties via APIs. An example is external applications that post tweets on their own behalf.
- Authentication API: Interface for authenticating users. A user can identify himself on a platform where he does not have his own account. Instead, authentication is done in cooperation with an authorization API via a web page where the user is actually logged in. The best example is Facebook Connect .
Explanation based on Google APIs
The search engine Google provides many APIs to its services. This allows other websites to pass on Google’s services directly to their visitors without the Google website being accessed. An example is Google Maps: A restaurant can include a section from Google Maps on its website, on which the location of the restaurant is marked. This is possible because Google provides “Google Maps Image APIs”. These APIs are the interface between the Google Maps service and any other website that uses the APIs.
Another understandable example is the YouTube service and the corresponding YouTube API. It allows you to embed YouTube videos on any website. A webmaster can use the external service on his own site and make it available to his visitors via the interface offered .
In the SEO area, Google also offers a Google Search Console API. It allows webmasters who want to write their own tools to access data such as search query keywords. The programmer can write applications himself because he can access the relevant data via the interface.
Many of these APIs are free to use, only a few require pay