What Exactly is SEO?

 

Search engine optimization (or SEO for short) is of huge importance to anyone looking to monetize their website or market a product or service online. Because without proper strategies in place, a website could be lost forever in cyberspace, only to be found when it’s searched for by name.

This obviously isn’t a good business practice. Because although loyal customers are important, new customers are necessary for a company to grow and for revenue to grow with it. So exactly how do you optimize your website for the search engines to recognize your targeted keywords and get it on page one? A great question this is, and it’s got a lot of people scratching their heads over it.

Just when everyone thinks they’ve got it figured out, Google keeps changing the rules with its updates. Well, the good news is that Google does this create a better user experience for everyone on the Internet. Unfortunately, these updates also brought down many honest and respectable websites. Many of them are still trying to recover to this day.

Well, the problem here is that many webmasters over time have taken advantage of the system, whereby much of the content found online was getting watered down and a duplicated around the Internet. As in the case of automated websites, they were used to increase traffic and build links to be used on other money making manual websites. Since Google kept changing their policies to weed out all of the bad apples, most of these useless websites disappeared overnight.

Black hat tricks of many sorts were being implemented all over the web. But when Google introduced their Panda and Penguin updates, it sent huge ripples throughout the Internet leaving webmasters dumbfounded as to why their online earnings were quickly drying up.

Since many changes have taken place, how does one rebuild and exactly what does SEO mean today?

Nowadays, SEO means keeping everything clean at all levels. There’s no room anymore for black hat techniques to game the system. The playing field has dramatically changed so site owners need to be careful when choosing whom they want to lead their SEO campaigns.

One thing that hasn’t changed SEO is that it starts with website development itself. On-site search engine optimization is critical which is why many site owners prefer turning to professionals to correctly accomplish this task. The whole objective here is to help the website gain a greater page rank in the search engines for targeted keywords.

Maybe you’re asking yourself why one particular website is in position number one. Could it be a more trustworthy website than the one in the eighth spot? To answer this question, a website is ranked by relevance to the keywords being searched. However, nobody really knows what determines true relevancy because all of the search engines have their own algorithms which could change any time.

Links and Page Rank

Links are critically important to the page rank of any website. Past years ago, it just meant having a large number of links. For instance, a website about sports cars would receive no real benefit from links coming from a website about dog training. Nowadays, it’s all about having quality and relevant links. So citing the previous example, a website about sports cars would receive great benefit from links originating from a website about Porsches.

You can also benefit from a guest post, a comment or a link coming from a blog or website on a similar topic; such as one about auto clubs or car swaps. What it boils down to is a vote of confidence coming from someone who has knowledge about a particular subject.

Using Social Networking

Social networking has proven to be an effective tool when marketing a website or product. It’s a great way to build exposure that leads to link sharing which will ultimately bring more traffic to your website.

On-Page Content

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “content is king” where nothing could be more true. To stay true to your website, it should have high quality content and be informative and reader-friendly. Don’t try to write for the search engines. This meaning, the content should read naturally so that people will be able to understand and enjoy what they’re reading.

Another tip is to try using deep linking in your content instead of just pointing to your home page, or not linking at all. Using the sports cars example earlier, one web page on car interiors ought to have some links pointing to other web pages that cover the subject of car alarms, sound systems and so forth.

Using Meta Tags

Meta tags are used to describe a website. These tags make it easier to locate your website when users are performing a search for it. Meta tags should always be used in titles and descriptions, and placing them in your images will also help users find your website more easily.

Using Header Tags

Header tags are used to make it easier for the search engines to collect important details about a web page by breaking up the information. Search engine spiders use header tags to gain a better understanding of a particular web page’s topic.

It’s All About Keywords

The right keywords must always be used in meta tags and header tags. It’s essential that they’re relevant to your website and that they flow naturally within the content to ensure a pleasant reader experience. Keywords are critical to the success of any business website, so it’s imperative that they’re carefully chosen after having performed thorough keyword research.

Importantly, remember to avoid keyword stuffing. This means you shouldn’t overload your web pages with a keyword density of more than 10 percent. Doing so will get you penalized by the search engines instead of helping you rank higher.

Sitemap

Every website should always have a sitemap as this is what allows the indexation of all web pages by the search engine spiders.

URL and Domain Name

The domain name that you choose will play a large role in search engine optimization. Remember several years ago when “toys.com” sold for many millions of dollars just because of the name? Nowadays, most aren’t willing to pay such a huge amount and instead they’ll find variations such as “toys123.com” which retains the keyword in both the domain name and URL. With that being said, the URL structure also plays an integral part so try to keep it short and concise so it’s easy to remember.

SEO is a very essential tool providing website owners a great opportunity to achieve online success using different techniques and strategies. Do bear in mind that if consumers can’t locate your website, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

Quickly giving your visitors what they’re looking for will effectively reduce the bounce rate. This will ultimately increase your conversions. I’m sure all of this information may be overwhelming for most people to take on, and so that’s why they often decide to hire SEO experts. But if you’re patient and willing to put forth the effort yourself, you’re likely to have great success on your own.