SEO Stands for Search Engine Optimisation
So, what is SEO?
According to Search Engine Land (one of the best websites to learn everything you need to know about search)
SEO stands for “search engine optimisation”.
It is the process of getting traffic from the “free”, “organic”, “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.
All major search engines rank websites based on what they deem most “relevant to users”.
Most of us think of major search engines as Google, bing and Yahoo. But in reality YouTube is the second largest search engine and Amazon is not far behind.
Facebook and Twitter can now also be looked at as search engines and when you take into account the size of their user bases, you’re going to want to include them in this.
So what does this mean?
It means that whatever content or information you are creating and posting to the internet, it needs to be structured in a way that is going to get found.
Search engines like certain things.
Look at every page on the internet as you would a book in a store or library. How would anyone ever find your book if we didn’t use systems to file these books. In search engines these systems are called algorithms.
Each book presents details to the book store or library on its cover and inside pages and this is what you need to do with web pages.
So what information do they want?
The main things you need to know about and be able to present to the search engines to optimise your pages are:
- Words (often referred to as keywords)
- Titles (Title tags)
- Links (many use the term backlinks, but I prefer to use linkflow)
- Anchor text
- Reputation/ Authority/ Trust
The words on your page are a great way for search engines to see what your content is and where in its library it should be filed. Just make sure not to stuff keywords into the content for the sake of including it, make the content readable to humans first before worrying about it being seen.
Like books, our pages have titles and often these are unseen by the user, but available to the search engines. Good titles attract the attention and help your content be placed in the relevant locations. An expert will be able to pick and choose where the content shows up in the search results by good use and careful planning of Keywords and title tags.
Both links into and out of your pages will help you rank well in search results.
Incoming links (backlinks) tell search engines that other sites find your content useful. This can be seen almost as an endorsement of your page when someone has linked to it. Be careful though, there are good links and bad links, with the engines giving more weight to the good and less (sometimes even penalising) the bad links. Google certainly doesn’t like it when you receive links back from link farms (sites set up to game the system) or from sites to which your content isn’t relevant.
Outgoing links to authority sites (such as Wikipedia) which have relevant information on the topic is seen in a good light and credited with being user orientated and helpful. You can see an example of this above where I have linked out to Search Engine Land which can add more detailed and relevant information for the user if required.
The text in which your incoming links are wrapped is taken seriously by Google and often overlooked by some “old skool” or inexperienced Seo’s. I have included an example in this passage where the anchor text is “incoming links” and the actual link and url of the page where you will be taken is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backlink
This is obviously a relevant link for the user and also has a relevant and natural anchor text to help the user understand where he/she is being taken.
The main point here is that the hyperlink should be wrapped in text which is:
- the actual link
- or words related to the topic and what they can expect to find by clicking the link
Make sure any link reads well to the end human user.
Reputation, Authority and Trust
Your reputation is something which is always going to be important to build and preserved both on and offline. Being trusted and having a level of authority in what you are saying with your content will bring you great rewards when it comes to search results.
Having unique, fresh content added to your site regularly will grow both your site and your reputation/ trust/ authority along with hopefully bringing in fresh new links back to your site from users who found your information valuable.
In the end, Search Engine Optimisation can be seen as complex, time consuming and difficult, but if you follow the information above you will at least be setting off on the right foot and it will be recognised in the search results.
I’ll finish with one of my favourite SEO quotes (I’ve no idea where I heard it from):
The best place to hide a dead body…
is on the second page of Google!
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