Search engine optimization – SEO – is the art and science of creating and curating a website that will rank highly in the results page of search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. It’s constantly evolving and experts in the field have years of experience and thorough knowledge of the ins and outs of SEO.
You can dive in as deep as you’d like when learning about SEO for your business, but it doesn’t take much to learn the basics. This tutorial will explain the basic foundations of SEO for your business.
Why SEO Exists
SEO, on the surface, seems very complex and technical, but in reality it’s quite simple and based on basic human behavior and customer service. We can all understand it! Look at it this way:
Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine, want to provide users with the best experience so they continue to use them as their preferred search engine. This means they aim to provide the most relevant and popular results for a user’s search query. You, in turn, need to be aiming to be relevant and popular so that the search engine delivers your website to the top of the search results page.
How Search Engines Work
Search engines trawl through the internet for websites relating to a search query. Webpages with those exact search terms in headings, URLs, tags and webpage text will be found. Then they’re ranked according to how popular and relevant they are. This is very complex – there are many things which determine these factors and how webpages are ranked.
The major determinants are links – links on the page to other pages, and other pages linking to your page. Imagine the internet as a busy city’s train network, with the stations as web pages and the train lines as links between them. The Central Station types of web pages will rank far higher in a search results page than an end-of-the-line desolate platform. More links = more relevant.
Popularity is the quality control officer, though. You could pack your website with links to lots of famous pages and write nonsensical articles that are a mash up of really commonly search keywords. But search engines are clever things and they will quickly sniff out if your page is nonsense and people aren’t staying on it.
Webpages where visitors spend more time on the page or engage with the page indicate to the search robots that the page is useful or enjoyable, which will boost its rankings.
Search engines are looking for that mix of popular and relevant when they rank results.
How NOT to SEO
Many a website has fallen into the trap of link buying or keyword stuffing and have paid a hefty price for it. Search engines don’t want to deliver results to their users which are annoying or spam-like. If they detect that your website is not playing fair, they will bury you deep, deep within the furthest pages of the search results.
Don’t be tempted by schemes which will promise to link back to your website or provide links for you to use, and don’t stuff your pages with commonly searched keywords. If there’s one thing we all know is that Google knows everything. You can’t outsmart a search engine and if they smell a rat you’re going to have to scrap your website and start all over again.
Also bear in mind that search robots can’t search pictures or videos. At this point they’re text only. So make sure that if your site is image heavy you’ve got explanatory text for the ‘bots to find as well.
So there it is: SEO can be simple. But it can also be as complicated as you make it, and if you’re really serious about it you may want to call in an expert. But with the basics of a clear, appropriate URL and some good, solid content, you’re setting yourself in good stead.
Research keywords that are applicable to your field, use them in your posts, throw in some decent links and tags, and you’ll see yourself climbing up that search ranking ladder in no time. It boils down to this: focus on the customer, not the search engine – the search engine wants what you want – a happy customer!