What is SEO?
First. What the heck does that stand for? Search Engine Optimization. That didn’t really clear up what it is did it?
SEO is a marketing tool that bases it’s results on organic (non-paid) search engine results. It identifies if people naturally find your site and your traffic is generated organically. Your traffic should not come from paying people to slap your link all over their website, cramming it into every sentence you write on a message board, or paying for links and clicks.
Don’t Cater to Google, Cater to Your Readers!
You should never build your site with just the idea of making sure it is search engine friendly. New requirements now also measure if your site is people friendly as well. If your user has to dig to find your information or your site doesn’t work on mobile devices these things will also reflect on your SEO standing.
It may seem daunting but these are all things that you can tweak and change to make your site rank higher. If it seems to overwhelming or you are wondering where you are going to squeeze a few more hours out of each day to tackle your growing “website to-do” list, there are services available to help with this.
Why is SEO Important?
Imagine the World Wide Web as a network of stops in a big city subway system.
Each stop is a unique document (usually a web page, but sometimes a PDF, JPG, or other file). The search engines need a way to “crawl” the entire web and find all the stops along the way, so they use the best path available—links. “moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo”
[bctt tweet=”Search engines need a way to “crawl” the entire web and find all the stops along the way.”]
Search engines use algorithms (mathematical equations) to decide what is important and what isn’t. Quality is determined to be the most popular and that is what move your site, listing, or product up the ranks.
Figuring out what these algorithms like most or how to implement strategies to create sites that they love seems impossible. Google offers the following information to get better rankings:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or
present different content to search engines than you display to users, a practice
commonly referred to as “cloaking.”
- Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
- Ensure a clean, keyword rich URL structure is in place.
- Create keyword-rich content and match keywords to what users are searching for.
- Produce fresh content regularly.
- Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content. Make sure that your elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.
- Use keywords to create descriptive, human-friendly URLs. Provide one version of a URL to reach a document, using 301 redirects or the rel=”canonical” attribute to address duplicate content.
Search technology relies on relevance and importance. They measure those things by tracking what people do: what they discover, react, comment, and link to. You can’t just build a perfect website and write great content. You also have to get that content shared (like on Pinterest) and talked about. You need to have interactions with other people, links to other sites, and some form of consistent traffic.
There’s More to Learn
I hope you found this information useful. If you would like to learn more about SEO basics, there will be a “part two” post coming soon. Check back!
If you have questions or comments about any of this, just leave a note below and I will respond shortly.