What’s the Big Deal About SEO?
Search Engine Optimization … king of the world wide web. How did it get so high and mighty? To get right to the point, great content has always been important and essentially that is what SEO comes down to. Now that begs the question, “What is great content?” Before we make that journey together I will explain the nitty gritty on SEO. To that end: when a website is properly optimized for search engines, it will attain a high ranking for the keywords that have been targeted. More often that not people are searching for products and services are using Google. As of March 2013, Google enjoys 86.3% of the search engine traffic in the United States as well as 88.8% of the global traffic according to a karmasnack report that cites Compete, Nielsen-Net, Alexa, seoMoz, StatsCounter – GlobalStats as well as their own data. So, when I mention ranking in search engines I mean Google. Google makes the rules. So, it’s in our good interest to adhere to them. In reality, Google’s goal is to serve the best possible result to the searcher. As website owners, our goal should be the same.
What are the Rules of SEO?
Google has a 43 page document called Search Quality Rating Guidelines that they’ve finally released to the public. In the past it was being leaked. Now it is freely available for you to read any time. You certainly will have a good grasp of what Google is looking for after reading it. If for some reason you are not in the mood for a 43 pager, I’ll fill you in.
- Provide useful information.
- Get real backlinks from relevant websites.
- Don’t try to trick anybody.
Let’s continue our journey of knowledge about these three areas of SEO. Learning is FUN! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
The Magic of Content
Provide useful information. Content is where the magic happens. Start with developing thorough information that will help the person who visits your website. There is no one way to create great articles, posts, blogs, etc. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Educational – break out all the data and references and turn the post into exhaustive research
- Humorous – have a lighthearted approach to information to keep readers engaged
- Videos – use someone else’s or better yet create your own
- Lists – “Top 25 articles about SEO” or something … everyone loves these
- Reviews – give a useful review on a product or service
Let your personality come out in your writing. If you can’t write, hire someone who can. There are plenty of candidates. I can think of one right now. Starts with a “R” and ends with an “owde.”
Behind the Scenes with Backlinks
Get real backlinks from relevant websites. Backlinks are incoming or inbound links from other websites to your website. Another way to think about it, is a vote. If you have a sports blog and you get a “vote” or link from ESPN to your site, the search engine will like that. Google updates the search algorithm occasionally to better serve it’s users. The art of building backlinks has evolved along with the changes in the search algorithm. In the past some webmasters fell into the trap of quantity over quality. This lead to unscrupulous spam linking practices that Google is not interested in. An authoritative website, such as ESPN, will carry much more backlink weight than Sammy’s Slammin’ Sports Blog. Don’t get me wrong. Lots of links are good … if they are quality ones. The more relevant they are the better for your website ranking.
Trick No Treat
Don’t try to trick anybody. There’s been a whole lotta trickin’ goin’ on when it comes to the seedy underworld of SEO. These practices are what we would call Black Hat. Being involved in black hat SEO will run this risk of getting Google-slapped. No, Sergey Brin will not come to your house and slap you across the face. Your website will be removed from the search engine results. We already talked a little bit about no-nos for backlinks. Don’t buy 100,000 .ru links from someone for 5 bucks. Here are a few more black hat ways to avoid. What not to do:
- Hidden text or links – they’re not really hidden
- Keyword stuffing – the process of unnaturally using a keyword over and over again in content
- Sneaky redirects – making a link look like it’s going one place when it is really going somewhere else
- Cloaking – showing a different page to the user than the one the search engine sees
There is no way you should be trying some of these. Google likes to ask it’s team that manually checks websites for content, “Would you send your grandmother to this website?” We should all unashamedly be able to send our Grannys to our sites. And we should avoid any garish colors or flashing, blinking elements to avoid giving Grams a seizure. White hat is the way to go. White hats are for good guys doing it the right way.
That About Wraps It Up
What did we learn here today? Hopefully I imparted some helpful wisdom. SEO is a big deal. It should be done correctly and always with the end user in mind. And that, my friends, means creating some killer content. If you’re going to do it, might as well do it right.
About the Author
Mark is a marketer and sometimes writer. He's trying to get better at that sometimes thing.