SEO: Understanding Search Engine Optimization
The web has practically changed the way we live our lives since the first page became available on the Internet a little over two decades ago. Next to using the email, what we do the most with the web is search. And that is primarily because searching is the gateway to pretty much what we do on the internet.
What I will discuss in this particular series is the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Not saying that you need to be an SEO expert to succeed online, but I highly recommend you grasp the fundamentals of SEO as you will need it when we setup our Amazon and niche website businesses.
Even though SEO can appear to be very technical and complicated at times, in this series, I will focus on the basics….get you to understand the grassroots of SEO. I will cover:
- How to find your keywords that you will use for ranking purposes
- How to optimize content for your keywords
- And the importance of backlinks and social media
- SEO concepts and metrics
We all know the web is basically a part of our daily lives. We rely on search engines to deliver results that are applicable to what we are searching for. As a business, in particular, simply being on the web is far from good enough. To thrive online, you have to be noticed on the internet and with the proper SEO for your site, you can do just that.
In a nutshell, Search Engine Optimization is the process of making improvements on and off your website in order to improve your rankings in search engine results. And more exposure to search engine results can lead to more visitors to your website for the right reasons. In order to understand what impact SEO can have on your website, you have to understand the goals of search engines. Search Engines are just trying to find and understand all the content on the web and then speedily provide relevant and authoritative results to the searcher.
Well, what is considered relevant? When a user searches for “Dallas restaurants”, the goal of the Search Engines is to display results related to “Dallas restaurants”. Thus, the Search Engines will scour all the websites they know about and display all the websites they consider relevant to “Dallas restaurants”.
They figure this out by evaluating a ton of different factors including:
- How the content on your site is written
- The coding on your website
- How other websites are linking to you
All of these factors are packed into a rather large algorithm which Google tends to tweak and implement periodically. But, at the end, a Search Engine is able to identify relevant information in mere seconds and provide those websites to the end user(s) with accuracy. You have to understand this….Search Engines have the ability to make a clear distinction between what is most relevant to “Dallas restaurants” and other very similar phrases or content. Search Engines are amazingly able to understand a lot about thematic and semantic links between concepts and words.
Let’s go with another example….”cat scratchers”. Most Searches Engines understand that web pages selling cat scratchers are extremely relevant to this search query. But the engines also understand that web pages about “cat posts” are also relevant, but maybe just a little less. The Search Engines also knows that web pages covering “cat trees” are relevant, but even just a little lesser than “cat posts”.
Another factor that influences Search Engine results is “Authority”. To say this another way, with millions and millions of websites out there, what can tell the Search Engines that your website is a “Trusted Site” and one deserving to be placed in the upper echelon of their search results. One way to do so is by determining how other websites view you. And this is calculated by the number and quality of links pointing to your website. Now, Google has transitioned from placing importance on the total number of links to the quality of links. Link(s) or backlinks can be viewed as votes on the web. It used to be that a webpage linking to your website could be perceived as someone saying “I trust your site enough to connect with you”. And certain links with high traffic volume could send some of that traffic your way. And Search Engines view these links as a vote of trust.
But please understand that accumulating links alone isn’t enough to push your website higher in the search results. You see, Search Engines have safeguards in place to prevent abuse by spammers in which the will use certain technologies to accumulate thousands of link in an effort to push their site higher in the search results. That’s why link quality is more important. A Search Engine is more likely to trust a link from an authority site within your industry such as an industry leading blog, government agency, etc. On the other hand, a paid link from a newly created site that is not within your industry would hold little to no value. So, as you can see, Search Engines value some links over others based on the quality and authority of the sites involved.
Well, now you understand that Search Engines value relevancy and authority when it comes to determining the placement of your website in the search results of a search query. This will help you understand what content should be placed on your site and which websites you should link to as you build and grow your website. Again, this is the first in a series of posts on “Understanding SEO”…..be on the lookout for more coming soon.