The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Category: Articles On 05-08-2014

You know it’s important to rank your website higher in Google search results. But SEO just seems so … shady and complicated.

After all, what comes into your mind when you hear the word SEO?

It’s about gaming Google’s search algorithm, which changes so rapidly and so often.
It’s a mystical science that involves link buying and keyword stuffing, which doesn’t work anymore.
It’s a long term commitment without any tangible results, which isn’t worth it.

That could probably be one of the reasons why you hesitate to implement SEO on your website.

If the entire concept of SEO feels kind of mysterious to you, it’s because for far too long “experts” have made it seem much more complex than it actually is. With the right approach, SEO is really not rocket science.

SEO is based upon the premise of building a useful and relevant website for your audience, and then optimizing it for discovery in the world wide web.

Let’s see what exactly does that mean …

1. Building a useful and relevant website

Build Useful and Relevant Website

A useful website is an information-rich website that provides a good user experience to your visitors. Specifically, it:

  • loads fast.
  • has a clear and consistent information architecture or hierarchy.
  • is accessible from all devices.
  • has no broken links or incorrect HTML.
  • has good and constantly updated content.

On the other hand, a relevant website is a website that has the content that your audience is looking for. To increase your relevancy, you should present your content using the actual language that your audience is using when they think about your topic.

In other words, you need to speak their language.

In the SEO world, it’s called keywords. So perform keyword research and use it in your content, because that’s the kind of words your audience will be using.

You see, Google’s mission is to deliver the most useful and relevant website to whatever your audience is searching for. If you build your website to be useful and relevant to your audience, you’re on the right path regardless of any updates to Google’s search algorithm.

If anything, Google’s algorithm will only get better — and genuinely useful and relevant websites are the ones that will stand the test of time.

2. Optimizing it for discovery in the world wide web

Optimize SEO

Once you’ve built a solid foundation with a useful and relevant website, you’ll need to optimize it for discovery on the internet. The optimization techniques can be grouped into two areas of focus:

  • On-site optimization
  • Off-site optimization

i. On-site optimization

Have you ever wondered how Google discovers your website?

Google uses “spiders” that crawls all over the world wide web every single day. Google only knows your website exists when its spiders crawl it, so you want to make sure the crawling is smooth and that the spiders got as much information as possible about your website.

You can achieve it by implementing Google Webmaster Tools. And know that these spiders don’t just read your content, they also read your website’s code. So you’ll have to optimize your code too, especially the URLs, titles, alt tags and meta tags.

That’s what on-site optimization is all about — making your website easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.

On-site optimization is fairly straightforward and can typically be done in a couple of days. The one that needs a long term commitment is off-site optimization …

ii. Off-site optimization

We all know a useful website when we see one.

But search engines are not as smart as us humans (yet). It relies on “signals” to determine whether a website is useful or not.

Having a lot of links from other credible websites is a signal.
Content that makes readers spend a lot of time on your website is a signal.
The number social media followers and shares is another signal.

Short-sighted SEO “experts” often try to game these signals with unprofessional practices like link buying and using content farms, at the risk of being caught and penalized by Google’s ever-evolving search algorithm.

The right approach to off-site optimization is to create high-quality, valuable content that will naturally generate those signals. You can:

  • Build a deep, authoritative website with high-value content.
  • Build your social media presence to promote your content.
  • Publish content on other relevant, credible websites (also known as guest posting).
  • Participate in online communities and forums.

Simply put, off-site optimization is a long term commitment towards building an authoritative and engaging online presence.

Getting started with SEO

Get Started with SEO

Now that you understand the fundamentals of SEO, it doesn’t seem so mysterious anymore, I suppose?

If SEO matters to your business, you’ll want to find out more about our SEO service. We help you transform your existing website into a useful and relevant website for your audience, and then optimizing it for discovery in the world wide web.

Our SEO service is built upon a content-first, holistic approach that works now, and will continue to work in the future.

Contact us to learn more.


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