What Is SEO? Part One

What Is SEO? Part One

Search Engine Optimization Helps Your Small Business Get Discovered

Lets face facts here, your a small business owner and your competing with some big names on the internet for the attention of your potential customers.  And without the use of proper search engine optimization methods your small business marketing website is going to be buried under all the other content that is available on the net.  But with the application of sound SEO methods, you can quickly become a recognizable brand online if your doing it right.

There are a couple of key things that you need to know about what is seo however in order to get started.

First, lets define exactly what SEO is.  According to Search Engine Land SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and its nothing more than the process of getting free traffic from search engines.  The process consists of your site showing up in the search engine results (SERPS) under the “organic,” “editorial,” and “natural” listings of Google and Bing (Yahoo is showing results from Bing).

These listings are computed by the respective providers “search algorithm” that attempts to rank web pages (not websites), video’s and other types of content based on the keywords the search types into the search box.  The goal of SEO is to take what we as marketing professionals understand about the search engines and optimize our web pages in order to let them know what are content is about.

Here is a short 3 minute video to help you visually understand the definition of SEO.

Second, when your trying to learn about SEO your going to find that there are some solid truths that you need to know and some information that is just plain going to get you into trouble.  But we will get into these more as we go through this entire eight part SEO series.

RobotHow Search Robots Work

Ok the first step to know about how to seo your site starts with knowing a bit about how the search engines actually read or find your website.  This is the first step to getting your site ranked properly.  So lets dig into is a bit.  Don’t worry about this being too complex though because I have added the infographic below to help you understand it a bit better.  Also, this is a simplistic breakdown and its done on purpose.  There are over 200 different things these robots look at, and it changes everyday, so don’t sweat this stuff.  It just important to know.

Ok, the first step is getting the robot (also known as “spiders,” “bots,” and “crawlers”) to find your site.  You can do this the fastest by signing up for a Google Webmaster Tools account and a Bing Webmaster Tools account.  This is the quickest way to let both sites know that your web property exists.

Once they do, eventually, their robots will come over and take a look at your site.  The first thing that they do is cache an image of your site.  You will usually see the last image that they have taken inside your webmaster tools account.  And, with Google, if you find your site in the SERPS that thumbnail will appear when you hover over the link.  This is a great feature when your searching around as well because it allows the user to determine if its a good fit for what they are looking for.

The next thing that happens is the search engine spider starts to read your source code (the programming that make your site look the way that it does).  In the source code the crawler is attempting to find out what your site is about and we have a few things that we can use to help it do that.

The first is your URL.  Its always a good idea to have the keyword about your topic within the url.  And if you don’t have a topic specific URL, but a brand name URL like ours this is really more important then ever.  If you are using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress then more than likely with a few simple tweaks it can be done automatically for you.

The next place that is real important is the title of your content.  Again, you want to have your keyword in there.  But its also important to create compelling titles that people actually want to click.  When it becomes a toss up between keyword optimization and a compelling title always lean towards the keyword though.  We have one more spot we can use to generate the click.

The meta description is just that place.  Of course as with the url and title we want are keyword inside there.  But we also want to make this our advertisement for the click.  You don’t have a lot of space to optimize the description however, so you have to choose your words carefully.  I’ll dive more into this and other “on-page SEO factors” at a later date.

The final place that the robots look is at your content itself.  Now this is the tricky part, and quite frankly you can ask 200 different SEO’s and get 200 different answers to this one.  But you want your keyword in your content obviously.  But its 1000 times more imporant that your content is very high quality.

Google in recent months has launched several different filters to its algorithm that have all but shut down thousand, even millions, of websites that have horrible content.  So there are a few do’s and do not’s that you have to know about right off the bat before you start writing for your site.

How Search Robots Work

The Do Not’s For Content Writing for SEO

  1. Do not copy other people’s content onto your site.  It might be tempting to be able to run to different article directories and other such sites and pull that content onto your web pages.  But the thing is that duplicate content and just plain crappy content doesn’t rank well.  As a matter of fact it hurts your chances of ranking at all.  So just don’t do it.
  2. Do not copy your content onto other websites.  This was an old back linking technique and I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t work.  Keep the content that you have on your web pages your exclusive copy.
  3. Do not keyword stuff your content.  There was a point in time that them more instances of a keyword the higher that you ranked in the search engines.  Today however, they have caught on to this method and have targeted sites that have done it.  As a general rule of thumb we keep our keyword density down to around 2%.  Anything more than that really tends to ruin the reader experience anyway.
  4. Do not over-optimize your web page.  This one will become more clear when we talk about on-page optimization so just remember this don’t when we get to that point.

The Do’s for Content Writing

  1. Do write for readers.  Remember that the goal of the search engines is to end the search.  The more likely they are to end the search right away, the more likely users will prefer to use it right?  The same goes with your web pages.  The better your content, the more they will hang around and even come back.
  2. Do write high quality content.  Remember a piece of content doesn’t need to have a specific amount of words to it.  Just because you can write a novel doesn’t mean its going to be good write.  Answer a question in your post.  Be concise as possible to make sure you are addressing everything.
  3. Do use images.  We will go over how to optimize these as well.  But images break up the look of a web page and keep your readers focused so use them in your content as well.

I’ll address content creation in an whole other series to help you get the most out of your work.  But those two lists should keep you going pretty well when it comes to the SEO aspect of content.

So The Robots Found Your Site, Now What?

Now that the spiders have found your site and know what its about, what is the next step.  Most people would say that it ranks your site in search results.  But that might not always be the case.  There are pleanty of sites out there that are not in the search engine indexes.

But don’t get stressed out about it if they don’t list your site right away.  First, it might take some time to get them listed.  Second, both the major search engines have a few thousand different computer banks all around the world and that information needs to be passed to all them.

If your lucky though, your site will be listed in around 24 hours.  If your really lucky it will be listed on the first page of the SERPS for your chosen keyword.  If its not, don’t worry we will get you there soon.  Don’t forget to read part two.




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Comments

  1. Great tips! These rules seem to be always changing. It’s good to know that you just need to be natural and share what’s in your heart, and the good robots will know!
    Alecia Stringer recently posted..Email Marketing Effectiveness Over 107% Open RatesMy Profile

  2. Excellent post. Simple to follow and you made it very easy to read and follow. Looking forward to part 2.

  3. great post Clint! has a lot of value for the readers..

  4. It still cracks me up people that want to write for bots. How stupid can they be. Real people browse website not bots. Congrads on the new site Clint.
    Garen recently posted..101 Guide to Using Facebook Pages – The BasicsMy Profile

  5. Hey Clint, Wow this sure is a beefy article. Lots of good information. Thanks for breaking this down. Found it very useful!

    posted by Galen Morgigno
    Galen Morgigno recently posted..What is a Targeted Visitor and Who Needs ThemMy Profile

  6. Clint, this is an excellent, well written post. You put a lot of hard work into it, and it shows! I appreciated the video, as well as the do’s and dont’s. Bottom line, if our website and content is something that people want to return to, we’ll have done our job with SEO. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to the main guidelines of SEO; but we can spend more time on making great content and less time trying to figure out how to “fool” the search engines.
    Steve Borgman recently posted..Ways of Becoming A Leader: For Those Who Don’t Think They CanMy Profile

    • That is exactly right Steve. Think about this, Google hires men and women with PH D’s to figure out ways people like you and me try to game their systems. Then they create an update to correct that loophole. Your not going to win the gaming battle. Both Google and Bing have given us the rules to follow. We do that and your going to do well in your SEO campaigns.
      Clint Butler recently posted..What Is SEO? Part TwoMy Profile

  7. Hi Clint,
    wow, you are providing so much detailed, helpful information that could be used in a lecture at the university!
    It so good to have SEO explained the way you do and I will have to read it all again to really take it in so I can use it all.
    Even though I have learned about SEO in the past, this makes it a lot clearer!

    Thank you so much.
    To great SERPS results.
    Yorinda
    Yorinda recently posted..Sole Water and Salt A higher form of EnergyMy Profile

  8. Hi Clint. I especially like your do’s and don’t's for writing. I wish I could just forget about SEO, because I love to write. However, it’s pretty pointless to do that unless I’m just writing for myself. I really loved the video, too, as it explained it in every day language and was very engaging. Will look forward to going on to SEO Part 2.
    All the best,
    Leslie
    Leslie Denning recently posted..Millionaire Marketing Machine: Silver LevelMy Profile

  9. Great post. I really liked the 2% rule for overstuffing as well as the many tips you provide. Good work on this checklist.
    STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION) recently posted..2012 Year End Tax Planning StrategiesMy Profile

  10. Clint: Thanks for this tips. I started with the second Part and stop it until I came here to read the first Part. Thanks this knowledge. I always been so afraid to go into the SEO because it was explained too complicated but you make it easy to follow and easy to understand. Thanks I really appreciate it.
    Piedad recently posted..GOOD TO GREAT…!My Profile

  11. Great article Clint! I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the infographic and the “Do Nots”. My best advice is always write for people who will be reading your content and not for the Search Engines!
    Jason Mathes recently posted..Google Graveyard | What Programs are Ending | What are the Alternatives?My Profile

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