Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a pretty simple, self-explanatory term. Successfully doing it, however, is extremely challenging. An entire industry has been born to help businesses and people optimize their websites for higher search engine rankings. Distilling all of that information into one blog post would be impossible. We will instead touch on some of the basic terms and concepts that are frequently associated with SEO.
We all know what search engines are and we all have our favorite one. Google, Yahoo, Bing are a few of the most common names in search and all primarily do the same thing; turn your search terms into a list of the most relevant websites. But how do they do that? First, each of them has a massive database that includes all of the words on all of the world’s websites (wow!). Second, they have “spiders” (computer programs) that crawl over all of these web pages to keep the database up-to-date. Finally, they have proprietary algorithms that quickly match the search terms you type in to the database of webpage words they have. In approximately .19 seconds, you’ll be given a list of what your chosen search engine thinks are the most relevant websites for whatever you were looking for.
As a lonely website wanting to be found, it is imperative that you show up on the first page of this Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Knowing what we know about how search engines work, the KEY is having the right WORDS on your webpage to match what is being searched for. Yup, keywords are, um, key. From the URL, to the page titles, to photo tags, to filenames and, of course, your actual content, you want the purpose of your website to be conveyed through relevant keywords.
From the basics of keywords, the ins-and-outs of SEO get complicated quickly. Having other webpages link to yours is important – say, a newspaper review. Have fresh content to keep the “spiders” interested in your site is important. Fine tuning your long-tail keywords is important – i.e., moving past simple keywords to chains of words like “the best social media class at SU” that people might search. Being able to analyze and adjust your SEO plan as algorithms change, your competition changes and peoples search habits evolve is yet another factor to consider when launching your website.
How comfortable would you feel handling your websites SEO? If not, how much would you be willing to pay for this type of service?