SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is accomplished by tweaking a website and its content so that it appears higher in Google Search results. There’s certainly a lot to know about SEO, far more than I can write into one brief blog post, that’s for sure. However, I’m going to break down what I believe are the three main components to solid SEO work and briefly detail what’s involved with each.
1. Website Optimization
Building a nice looking website that’s easy to navigate is an obvious SEO must and, well, quite simply common sense. What a lot of people neglect and skimp on are some of the “behind the scenes” elements. Things like proper usage of header tags (specifically H1 and H2 tags), ensuring your website contains no broken links, having a working, effective 404 page and utilizing 301 redirects when you permanently change link URLS are integral parts of SEO. While many of these elements may not be noticeable to the average internet user, they can and will impact your SEO ranking in a positive or negative manner, depending on whether or not they are well implemented.
2. Content Optimization
Writing clean, coherent and well thought out content is a must for SEO, but there’s more that can be done to help ensure people find your website. Depending on what the content on your website is about, there are specific search phrases that can be integrated into it that can help people find your website. For example, if you’re running a website selling dogs it would be good to know that the phrase “puppies for sale” receives more searches per month than “dogs for sale”. While it may be SEO friendly to include both phrases into your content, you know which has a higher potential to bring you visitors. Content optimization with regard to SEO is all about finding the right phrases to use and sometimes the phrases you think everyone should be using aren’t searched much at all. You need to cater to what your customers are looking for. A great way to discover search patterns and determine which phrases are most searched with regard to your product is via the Google Adwords Keyword Finder. This tool is only available to those with Adwords accounts, but it does a great job of helping determine what phrases you should include in your content.
A backlink is simply a link to your website from another website on the internet. Google uses backlinks in regard to SEO to help determine how good the content on your page is. The thought is that well written, interesting content will earn backlinks from a wide assortment of websites. You want people to link to your website and talk about what you do. With that being said, Google can crush your SEO ranking if they discover that you’re attempting to game the system. Some companies and websites offer to simply list a link to your site somewhere on one of their pages; this resulted in websites simply being comprised of links to other places. Google will blacklist sites that attempt to game the system, so earn your SEO ranking and backlinks by writing good content that’s worth looking at!
– Gareth Graham