SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization.
In its simplest form SEO is the task of designing or redesigning the content and contextual elements of a single webpage.
The goal of SEO is such that when a person enters a word or phase in a search engine like Google that webpage will be presented to the person in the highest position possible when compared to all the other possible websites known by the search engine.
There are multiple factors considered by the various search engines to make such a placement in the results displayed. Some factors are common among most search engines but each has its own variations. Since Google is currently the most widely used search engine the focus of most SEO is on planning the webpage to rank highest on Google and thus it should also place high on other search engines like Yahoo or Bing.
Basic SEO Requirements
Good SEO should be focused upon both the webpage itself (on-page) and on external elements that refer to that webpage (off-page).
On-Page SEO related to both the content and context of a webpage. Content is the obvious element being the textual information presented on page. Context is the wrapper in which the content resides such as the structure of the content.
Off-page SEO typically refers to creating a buzz about your message such that other webpages and social media messages make an actual referral link to your webpage. We will cover off-page SEO in other post and in our training programs.
“Content is King” is a mantra heard around the SEO community. My opinion is that the search engines, and more importantly your readers, demand great content. Content is the message you want to relay to the reader. Within this webpage there is usually a key idea you want to express such that the reader is educated in some fashion.
Best practice seems to be to keep a single webpage or blog post focused on one key idea using about 300 to 500 words. The key idea of the content is summarized to a keyword or keyphrase which is used multiple times in the content.
If the reader is pleased with what they learned they will be more likely share your content with others through a link to your information on a webpage or through social media. When the search engines see these natural mentions in the form of links they reward the original webpage with a higher status or ranking and thus better placement in search results.
Once the content is identified the textual message should be laid out within the capabilities of the website theme such that the search engine, along with the reader, is able to easily identify the main message of the content.
Good SEO of the layout of the content allows readers to easily identify that the information is what they are looking for and keeps them interested and reading the webpage. If the search engine identifies your webpage as what the reader actually wanted then the search engine will again reward the webpage in the overall search rankings.
Contextual elements include headlines, links, keyword or keyphrase placement, page names, descriptions and other factors explored further in our training programs.
Three Steps to Get Your SEO Started
SEO can be a daunting task but there are three steps that everyone should do to get started.
- Check Your Current Indexing Status: Using any number of available tools find out how the search engines see your website pages, each and every important page on your website. If the search engines don’t know your pages do not exist, then your potential readers will never find your pages. Make certain that the search engine knows that your important webpages exist. If not then fix it.
- The next step relates to the keywords or keyphrases we discussed earlier. Do you have keywords that are appropriate for the content and more importantly are the keywords what your potential readers are typing into the search engines? Do your research, again with appropriate tools, and use the keywords in the proper context of your content.
- Drive the Buzz about your content through social media, groups and other avenues such that your webpages are referenced in links from other webpages and social media.