Search Engine Optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO, is one of the most crucial aspects of marketing. As such, if you’re working to market your blog or your business, you need to know what SEO means and what the rules and ways of SEO success are. While a successful SEO strategy isn’t an exact science, and its practice has been challenged on many fronts throughout the years, knowing the basics is still important to an effective marketing campaign. For more information about SEO and how to incorporate it into your marketing efforts, refer to the following SEO introduction for beginners:
What is SEO?
SEO refers to the process of making a website more visible on a search engine’s results page. To clarify, a great SEO strategy will put a company’s website at the top of the list on a Google search page, therefore increasing the likelihood that people will visit the site. Search engines strive to provide the most relevant results for a person conducting a search, so that when a person runs an internet search for “cupcakes,” the first thing to appear isn’t a cookie shop, but a bakery that specializes in cupcakes as well as a definition of the dessert. In other words, SEO helps to make a search relevant to the user and can be critical in driving traffic to your site.
Search engines work by searching the Internet to find text that meets certain criteria. This text is known as keywords and refers to the most important theme(s) of the website, company, or product. Scouring the online world to find keywords are why, as in the example above, a search for “cupcakes” yields a result of multiple pages about cupcakes, not cookies. Other important things that a search engine uses to rank a website include titles, headings, and links that make up the content of a website’s pages. Search engines also employ search engine indexing to find, digest, and store the content of a website. A search engine index refers to the set of data that’s used to base a final search result on.
The Importance of Keyword Research
Another important part of an SEO introduction is understanding the significance of keywords. We explained above that keywords are the specific words or set of words that best describe the theme or overall concept of an idea, website, business, or product. Keywords are the words that people use when conducting a search, and should be words that are included in the content of your webpage. Choosing the right keywords can help to drive traffic to your site, attract potential customers, and greatly improve your SEO ranking.
When deciding what keywords you should include in your text, you should consider things such as the relevancy of the keyword(s) to your website and company, as well as the competitors that are using the same keyword(s) (you can check this by running a quick Google search of chosen keywords yourself, and seeing what sites appear at the top of the list). To discover the value of your keywords, you can buy a sample campaign from Google AdWords, which will allow you to test the traffic generated by your chosen keywords. If all three things are in check—the keywords are relevant to your website, competitors are experiencing success with similar keywords, and a sample campaign yields high traffic—you should feel confident in moving forward with the keywords.
An SEO Introduction – More Important Factors
Keywords aren’t the only part of a successful SEO campaign, although they are certainly important. Other things to consider when developing an SEO strategy include links, titles, meta descriptions, headings, subheadings, originality of content, images and videos, and your audience. The most important thing to remember when reflecting on this SEO introduction is that one single factor will not determine SEO success; rather, SEO success is dependent upon your content as a whole.
When writing your content, spend an equal amount of time on trying to make your content sound as natural as possible, putting SEO at the back of your mind. Overusing keywords, creating weird or unnatural sentences with the hopes of improving SEO, or using unoriginal content can be more detrimental than beneficial to your SEO efforts. Content should always be interesting and engaging, be short and succinct, use keywords wisely, include optimized images with great titles, have headings that are appealing, be formatted in an easy-to-read way, and include relevant links. In fact, you may want to even consider participating in a link exchange, which refers to the process of exchanging links with other relevant websites in order to increase SEO.
Content greatly affects SEO. The more relevant your content, the more up-to-date the content is, and the more interesting your content is, the higher it will rank. Always plan your content in advance, have someone edit it before posting, utilize headings and subheadings, think about layout, and include pictures and or videos. Also, you should design your content and website so it’s easy to share via social media.
SEO Tools and Services
While an SEO introduction is a great starting point, as your marketing efforts progress, you may want to consider securing additional SEO tools and services. Often times, search engines themselves will provide these tools and services, such as Google’s Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Google AdWords Keywords Tool, Google Alerts, Google Trends, DoubleClick Ad Planner, Google Page Speed, Google Site Map, and more.
In addition to tools provided by Google, you can also explore other online tools, or even hire a company that specializes in SEO marketing to design your website and makes it SEO-friendly.
SEO is an important part of marketing in the online world and has many factors that can affect its success. In order to improve your website’s SEO, focus on creating great content, using relevant keywords, linking when appropriate, and always writing content that is creative and original. Additionally, remember that SEO is an on-going process, and doesn’t end as soon as you’ve posted content. Instead, keeping a website relevant and up-to-date by posting new, high-quality content frequently and consistently is equally important.