SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of making it easier for your site to rank high on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
There are several ways that this can be done, and SEO has changed a lot over the years.
Why SEO Is Important
Search Engine Ranking is where your web page shows up in the search results whenever related words or phrases are typed into a search engine. The main search engine is Google since they are the most popular for internet searches.
Ranking on the first page of Google is important because of a thing called “organic traffic”. This is when someone types in a Keyword into Google, and when they are presented with the search results they click on one of the web pages shown.
This can mean you get free traffic that is high quality, which means they are already interested in what you are talking about. Since traffic is a very important piece of the puzzle when it comes to having a successful online business (remember the formula: traffic + offers = money), this can be very valuable.
Your aim would be to rank on the first page of the search results of Google, preferably within the top 3 spots for a specific keyword. This is because of the amount of traffic that each spot receives:
1st Position = about 33% of the clicks for any particular keyword
2nd Position = about 18% of the clicks for any particular keyword
3rd Position = about 11% of the clicks for any particular keyword
And it only goes downhill from there.
So if a particular keyword receives about 10,000 Google searches per month:
The 1st position can expect about 3,300 visitors from Google each month
The 2nd position can expect about 1,800 visitors from Google each month, and
The 3rd position can expect about 1,100 visitors from Google each month.
Remember: The goal of SEO is to find “keywords”, or search terms, that people use to find information related to what your site is all about and rank on the first page of Google in spot 1, 2, or 3.
A Brief History in SEO
Search Engine Optimization first got started around 1995, 1996. This is when site owners and marketers began to realize how valuable it was to have their sites appear at the top of the search engines. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the use of the internet and Google took off and many SEO methods became very popular.
Some of these SEO factors and methods included:
– Exact match domains (using the exact keyword as the domain name)
– Backlinking (the number of sites that link to your site)
– Link text / anchor text (what words the link shows)
– Keyword stuffing (using search terms in the titles, tags, and content of web pages)
– Site structure (ease of navigation)
As people began to abuse the system just so their site would show up at the top, it started to affect the quality of the search results.
Spammy low-quality pages began to fill the top spots, and Google started to make attempts to change that. Since the main objective of Google is to serve high-quality results, they regularly change their internal algorithm so quality, relevance, and freshness becomes more and more important.
2 recent updates of the Google search algorithm were the Panda in 2011 and the Penguin in 2012 (named after 2 staff members). These updates were huge in the internet marketing world and caused a lot of sites to lose their coveted top positions, and were even punished for low-quality tactics by becoming “de-indexed” or near impossible to find in Google.
Lesson to learn: Google doesn’t like deliberate SEO methods.
How to Use SEO The Right Way
Google recommends not intentionally using any SEO methods to affect your search engine rankings. Even though that would be ideal, internet marketers cannot afford to ignore the SEO aspect of building a site because it does affect your search engine rankings.
It just has to be done in a sensible manner, using the most current factors to enhance your site.
Relevance – having a site that is focused on a specific topic or niche will make it easier for Google to know what your site is about and offer it as a result for related keywords. It is still important to do some keyword research to make sure you are using the terms that people are searching for, but you don’t want to stuff your content with unnecessary keywords because that will affect the quality. Keep in mind that you should still use keywords in titles and headings.
Freshness – having a site that is updated regularly with new posts lets Google know that you have updated content, and they like that.
Quality – quality is a huge factor, and not only will it improve your standing with the search engines, it will attract more visitors simply because people like to share quality content. By doing this you will be able to build a name for yourself and you won’t have to rely on Google for traffic.
Trust Factor – Google trusts sites that have a good reputation. And your site builds a good reputation when a lot of other sites with good reputation link back to yours. This is where PR, or page rank, comes into play. The PR scale goes from 0 to 10, with most pages having a PR of 0 and a few government, educational, reference, and social sites having a PR of 10. Usually the PR is related to the age of a site, the amount of backlinks, number of visitors, and the overall quality.
Social Presence – Integrating your site with Social Sites give it a nice boost when it comes to search engines. Consider linking your site with other sites like YouTube, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Not only will this improve your relationship with Google, it will give you many different traffic streams.
Backlinks – Even though Google now takes into account the quality of sites that link to yours, the sheer number of sites that link to yours is still a signal of how popular and important your site is to others.
There are other factors that impact search engine ranking, some of which Google keeps secret when it comes to ranking, which means nobody knows exactly what to do to get that #1 spot as fast as possible.
Even still, with this information you will have all the SEO you need just by using these main methods.
Be sure to incorporate them into your plan and you will be able to reap the rewards and fruits of your labor.
Remember- keep moving forward no matter what.