Lots of people have been asking me what this SEO stuff is all about, and I’ve been too busy to finish my website (I know – excuses, excuses …), so I decided to add a post on “SEO in a nutshell” in the meantime.
SEO is an acronymn for “Search Engine Optimization“, which in laymans terms means: “Getting so internet users will find my website“.
Or in slightly more technical terms, SEO means promoting websites in Google, Yahoo etc. so that they are at the top of the “natural” or organic search results for some chosen keywords or expressions. It entails making changes in and around a website, so that when people search for the main topic(s) that the website is about, that website will be displayed at or near the top of the search engine results.
Google’s search algorithm includes more than 200 elements that affect the position of your website in the search engine results, and of course they don’t actually tell anyone what all of these elements are (although they have been opening up a bit more, recently) …
However, some of the most commonly agreed techniques are:
- Optimization of your site structure, so that the search engines “understand” more about what the site is about.
- Keyword research, in order to decide with keyword(s) are going to best drive focused traffic (internet users) to your site. This basically means working out “what expressions do I think users will type into Google to find my site?”. Sounds easy, but this is actually the most difficult part, since you can spend ages optimizing your site for the wrong keywords, after which changing direction is a huge pain …
- Optimizing your site content, to incorporate the keyword(s) into your pages. This includes:
- Title and Meta tags (elements used to provide structured metadata about a web page), in particular the “Description” tag.
- Keyword-optimized content
- Continually adding high quality content that people will be interested to read, even if they never use your services. Your content has to be first and foremost human-user-friendly, and only after that search-engine friendly. It is more likely that other sites will link to you if you have high quality, relevant content
- Add high quality links from other sites in your niche/topic to your site. The more quality links the better. This is also very much intertwined with adding high quality content, since quality sites will generally only link to you if you have interesting information for their visitors.
The “Social Web”:
- SMO (Social Media Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing). This involves techniques like blogging (which is REALLY good for both adding content and getting more links), joining social media networks, writing and commenting on forums, and generally building your sphere of influence.
Advertising: Google Adwords and other similar SEM (search engine marketing) systems
- PPC is an acronym for “Pay Per Click” which is a model of advertising on the internet, where advertisers only pay when a user actually clicks on an advertisement to visit the advertisers’ website. Such advertisements are called sponsored links or sponsored ads, and appear adjacent to or above the organic results on search engine results pages.
- This is basically taking the tools of direct marketing and bringing them to an online audience, but unlike the traditional print audience, you’ll see results of your ads within days and in some cases, a few hours. SEM involves developing marketing campaigns for relevant keywords, developing “landing pages” for each Adwords campaign, and writing relevant ads.
- It’s important to note that using Google Adwords does NOT affect the position of your site in the organic search results
That’s it for “SEO in a nutshell“, but do check out this nice video from Matt Cutts ( head of Google’s Webspam team) with his few simple tips on promoting your website, targetted at beginner SEO and small business SEO.
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