If you have a website and you want that site to rank highly in Google, Yahoo, Bing and the many search engines out there - you need to understand Search Engine Optimization and you need to understand Online Marketing.
Understanding it does not mean you need to know how to do it but by having a basic grasp of the concepts you will be able to:
SEO falls into two parts:
Unlike the early days of SEO you cannot please the search engines without pleasing real humans because today's search engines are able to follow a variety of user behaviour patterns to verify what their algorithms suggest. Here's how it works graphically:
Let's break this down.
This first step is for the search engine to decide what it thinks your page or site is about. This is on-page SEO and you can learn how it's done in the How to SEO guide. In a nutshell though:
On-page Search Engine Optimization is about making your website understandable to the robots that search engines send
So if your website is about "seafood recipes", On-page SEO is about making sure the search engines understand this so they can rank your site when internet users carry out searches for or related to "seafood recipes".
From there on in it's all about user behaviour...
There are a large number of signals search engines can watch to see if a page on your site should rank. They include:
This variety of signals helps search engines separate the scammers from the genuine. For example:
Well that just doesn't add up, does it? You are inlikely to get penalised unless a search engine like Google can track down the dodgy activity to your doorstep. This is to avoid your competitors doing the dirty on you - negative SEO.
Instead its more likely the links will be discounted as worthless, especially if they come from low quality sites.
Traditionally this was all about "off-page SEO". You would build links to your site (or hire someone to do it) because that would look like positive user behaviour. But search engines caught on fast that links could be ganed. Now it is much more complex.
We'll cover the how to of all these points but for now the key point to remember is:
Search Engine Optimization is about making your website understandable to the robots that search engines send and designing your website and its contents in a way that encourages positive user behaviour.
Well ... there isn't any. Just logical steps to follow. People sometimes try to shroud SEO in a mystery in the hope that their potential customers will ask no questions and just hand over the readies - avoid!
There are a couple of blind spots:
So you're now familiar with how search engines rank pages and what SEO is. But it is equally important to free your mind (or protect it before it is infected) by knowing what SEO isn't. So let's take a look at some popular SEO myths.
I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.
If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.