When it comes to making an online business grow and succeed, few techniques will provide better results than SEO. SEO can be extremely complex at times, but also very basic. In its simplest form, SEO is basically a way to drive traffic to your website.
If you are a complete beginner to SEO, or looking to refresh your memory on the ABCs’ of it, this article will serve as your guide, or glossary if you will, of SEO.
The information found here will cover the most important aspects of the topic. By the end, you should have a much better understanding on what SEO is, its importance and some of the most effective SEO methods even beginners can apply.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. While there are countless ideas, methods and thoughts on this subject, what it really means is how well is your site going to look in a search engines eyes, and thus effect you standing in the search results.
The largest search engine hands down is Google. Google has developed a complex algorithm over time that helps determine what sites to show when users search for a term. If you were to type “Cheeseburgers”, the results you get back would be around that topic.
If your site was optimized well and was focused on cheeseburgers, your site would pop up near the top of the search results. This is where SEO falls into play.
You may have a site that is all about cheeseburgers, but if someone else does as well and uses SEO methods effectively on their site they would be all but guaranteed to show up way before you. This may not seem fair, but it’s all about trying to provide users with the best possible result in the search engines mind.
Keywords and Relevance
In the old days of SEO, you could throw up a site that was about toys and wrote the word “Porn” in white coloring and rank for that word. Today’s search engines are much more sophisticated and you need to be smarter than ever. More importantly, you need to be relevant.
Keywords will be the main focus of most SEO campaigns. Without going too much into detail, the keywords will help search engines recognize that your site is about “XYZ”.
If your site is about how to bake cookies you would want to design an SEO campaign around keywords and phrases that are relevant to this topic. How To Bake Cookies could be your number one search phrase in which to rank for. But you could also use similar phrases like – Bake Cookies, Best Way To Bake Cookies, and so on.
The idea behind a keyword, or a phrase, is to get your site up in the search results before others when someone types this keyword in.
Using the example above, when someone types in “How to bake cookies” in Google you want your site to show first, or close to it.
Links are another key aspect of SEO and how well your site ranks. Links on other sites that point back to your site will be found by Google and other search engines. There are many factors that go into deciding what makes a quality link. But the main point is - the better the quality of that link the more it will do for you.
Link building is one of those techniques that everyone will have an opinion on. Some are stuck in the old days where throwing up hundreds or thousands of links on any site they could - would help. Regardless of what you may have heard, those links are almost worthless today.
You want high quality, and most important - relevant links!
A relevant link is one that’s on a different site, has keywords or branding power and points back to your site. But, it must be from a site that is relevant to your own. A link from a site about riding bikes that points back to your site about baking cookies won’t do all that well.
Because the two aren’t relevant for one another. When a search engine sees that this link is not related to your site it will hurt your showings.
On Page SEO
On Page SEO is something you can start doing right away:
- Make your site load faster
- Fix broken links
- Add meta-descriptions and tags
- Internal link building
There are many ways to make your site SEO friendly. The main goal should be to make your site as user-friendly as possible. If your site loads slower than a competing one this will count against you. If there are broken pages that get errors this will go against you as well.
Keywords in articles, as well as image descriptions and meta descriptions also need to be complete and focused on your target keywords. But, you still want to make sure it user friendly and not intentionally stuffed with these keywords.
If a new site owner who had no clue about SEO asked what would be the most important thing they could do for their site the answer would always be: create great content!
Quality content that is user friendly, and provides readers with information, will do more for your site than most SEO tricks.
Content is King! Repeat this mantra over and over. And then do it again until it’s burned into your SEO mind. You can find more info about content in this article .
This is just touching the surface of SEO. There are many aspects of SEO that are utilized by professional SEO experts. It’s best to start with the basics and see how it works for you. Once you get deeper into it, you can start to learn more advanced methodology and little tricks that will give you that extra boost.