This is the one question I find myself having to answer more than any other, but with practice, it’s easier to simplify. Many, if not all businesses are aware of the term SEO, an abbreviation of the phrase Search Engine Optimization, but aren’t exactly sure what it means or how it works:
Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis
Understanding your audience is vital when building a successful online marketing strategy around Search Engine Optimization. Once you realise how your target market searches for your products or services, you can reach and hold on to them with maximum effect.
On-site Optimization involves designing a website or web page that Google and other search engines can make sense of with little effort. A search engine’s end-goal is to provide the best quality results for the searching public. Google does this by trying to differentiate between websites that offer valuable content (through the eyes of the reader), and those that don’t.
Your site should be easy-to-navigate and contain unique, informative, and purposeful editorial. Many amateur SEO enthusiasts place too much emphasis on keywords, and not enough on content, when writing copy for your website you should focus on the requirements of potential customers and nothing else. If Google thinks you’re writing with the sole intention of getting top spot, you’ll be penalised for it, not always immediately, but it will happen. Google changes its algorithms daily (multiple times a day), in an attempt to give its users the best possible browsing experience, once you’re blacklisted – it’s back to the drawing board!
There are many tricks and techniques that can be used to create a search engine friendly site, without sacrificing the integrity of your content. If it’s poor in the eye’s of Google, I doubt any visitors to your site would find it much use anyway – but most importantly; if you’re not providing potential customers with great reasons to buy from you, they won’t!
Off site optimization focuses on techniques used to increase Google’s perception of your site through the eyes of the searching public. It’s much like a popularity contest, whereby your website is competing with others for votes, but in SEO the votes are backlinks (links from another website to yours). However, it’s not about getting the most votes per se, but the best ones (think anchor text), ones that make the most logical sense. Before you begin it helps to think like a search engine and provide each potential backlink with an imaginary score between 1-10. For example, if you’re a cafe owner and you get a backlink from an escort agency you’re looking at a score of 1, as there’s no relevance. But get a backlink from a coffee supplier and you’re a 10. Think of each backlink as an endorsement, the more quality ones you have the more respect you’re likely to get from Google!
There is no longer as much emphasis placed on backlinks as there once was, as it’s no longer a reliable method of guaranteeing valuable, reader centric content. So; if you have a great product in tandem with a professionally structured web site, and provide original, engaging editorial, and value to your visitor’s… Google is your friend!
I hope this has answered any questions surrounding the question; what is SEO?