The Basics Of Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the science that helps web pages rank naturally in search engines. You may have the most useful and interesting website, if nobody finds it, it’s equal to zero. On the other hand, an average quality site may get lots of visitors only because it is considered relevant by search engines, therefore it ranks on top for keywords with a high volume of search.
There are two components to SEO: on-site optimization and off-site optimization. The on-site SEO is not hard to do. You can do it yourself to a great degree. Basically, it boils down to having the desired keywords in certain positions on your pages.
First of all, you need to make sure your keyword appears in the page title. Please note that I said page, not a website. Search engines don’t treat and rank websites as a whole, they look at each separate page of a website and rank it for its most relevant keywords.
Let’s assume you have a website about vegetables. The page about carrots should be optimized for keywords related to the word carrot, which is the main topic of that particular page. The page about tomatoes will be optimized for tomato-related keywords and so on.
If you make sure your keyword appears in the title and in the first and last paragraph of text on the page, you have good on-page optimization. Of course, there are other things to it, such as the H1, H2, and H3 tags or code optimization, but before worrying about them, you can put those keywords in the right places and be a step ahead of your competitors who don’t.
Off-page optimization is a long-term job and it can be quite a time-consuming one. When ranking pages, search engines will count how many times a page was quoted by other pages on the web. Then they will look if those pages are about topics related to yours and they will assess their authority. The page with the most links from high authority websites in the same niche wins the first spot in the search engine results pages.
The problem is that there might be niches where it’s very hard to get other sites to link to you. This is where creativity plays an important role. If you can write compelling and intriguing copy and make others send your page to their friends, link it on Facebook, mention it on Twitter or write about it on their blogs, you win. A good technique employed by big websites is link baiting. However, writing a good link baiting piece of content is no easy task. Most of the time, there are creative agencies behind such websites, copywriters who study the target group and find the best topics and words to raise their interest and determine them to share this content.
As ranking algorithms become more and more complex, a web page needs signals of relevance from multiple sources in order to get on top of search results. This is why SEO is such a complex activity and why businesses hire professionals to do it in-house or outsource it to specialized agencies. Nonetheless, if you’re just starting and don’t have the budget to outsource SEO, you can do the basics yourself and watch those rankings. It may work, you know?