Several Different SEO Concepts Explained
Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you enjoyed information on part one What is SEO.
Ok this is part two of my eight part SEO series and quite frankly its probably going to be most inclusive off all of them. Thats only because I will be covering a great deal of different topic and trying to expand on them a bit using graphics and videos. To tell you the truth, if this part alone doesn’t convince you that you need to hire a good SEO rather than learn how to do it yourself I don’t know what will.
The fact of the matter is that I have been learning SEO for four years now and everyday I have to learn something else. That is what makes SEO so special and interesting. Its a fluid industry and if your caught sleeping your web pages will pay the price in the SERPS. All your hard will will go down the drain and you may have to start over completely. So if your serious about learning all this stuff yourself lets get rolling on part two ok?
The Search Engine Results Page
First I think that its really important that I cover what the search engine results page consists of. In order to do that remember that we are concentrating on search engine optimization in order to get free traffic. If we were discussing Pay Per Click advertizing options as well, we would be talking search engine marketing in general. Not to say that PPC doesn’t have its uses. Its just not within the scope of the discussion right now.
With the image above you really have three different sections of the search results that we need to cover. The first two parts are the PPC sections that you see at the top and on the right hand side of the search results. Google also adds one more section and that is typically at the very bottom of the page of listings as well. The PPC sections are used by advertisers in order to market their products based on the keywords that are being searched. Very much the same way we will be optimizing our web pages in order to get free traffic from the search engines. Depending on the keywords, marketers could be paying anywhere from a couple cents to up to hundred bucks. It really all depends on the level of competition that a certain keyword has in the PPC ad center.
The area that we are concerned with is the one wrapped in green. These are the free listings that the search engines have indexed by topic or keyword. Then they are ranked in the order of relevance. Remember that there are over 200 different aspects of measurement that Google and Bing are using these days. So gaming the system is not anywhere near as easy as it was. But it really isn’t all that hard to get your site in the first spot if your following the Google Webmaster Guidelines and Bing Webmaster Guidelines.
What your looking at there is whats called a heat map. And basically what its used for is to track the interaction on a website. You can get one for you website and it will tell you tons of information on where and what people are doing. It comes in handy because it can give you some great information and tell you what you need to fix or expand on for your visitors. This one is dated in 2008 and to tell you the truth the information that its telling us has not changed all that significantly. The only thing I have seen on the latest ones is that the increased ad space on the search results has not resulted in more clicks for paying advertisers.
Since we are focused on getting free traffic though we are concerned with the numbers or people that are clicking on the first page of the results. As you can see from the heat map most clicks go to the top five positions in the results. And a significant majority go to the top three. Here are the numbers and they should really hit home on why its so important to get onto the 1st Page.
- Position #1: 45.46% of all clicks
- Position #2: 15.69% of all clicks
- Position #3: 10.09% of all clicks
- Position #4: 5.49% of all clicks
- Position #5: 5.00% of all clicks
- Position #6: 3.94% of all clicks
- Position #7: 2.51% of all clicks
- Position #8: 2.94% of all clicks
- Position #9: 1.97% of all clicks
- Position #10: 2.71% of all clicks
- Total: 95.91% of all clicks occur on Page #1 of SERPs
Keep in mind, that this is NOT an exact science because unless Google or Bing releases the actually data we can only use the tools we have at our disposal. This is only a way of attempting to estimate the percentage of click volume you may receive based upon SERP position. Regardless, its clear that if you site isn’t on the first page your going to have a hard time getting the attention of your potential readers. That is why SEO is so important and as long as there are search engines, always will be.
A Little About Keyword Research
I am going to go really deep into this later on but needs to addressed here. If you don’t do proper keyword research for your content then your just writing to write. I am not saying that is bad thing at all by any means. And I know a lot of people who have taken to doing just that. It just takes a lot longer to build up an audience base and its makes it harder on the engines to list your topics in the proper place. My recommendation is that whenever starting a new site, do your research and get the traffic going as fast as possible. When you have a solid steady stream of traffic, write to your hearts content.
The point of the image above it to show you that you need to break down your keyword. For example, if you were to try go after a keyword like ‘real estate’ you will notice in the search results (you can see for yourself here) that there are 260,000,000 results listed. And that is just on Bing. Google is much the same way. And your brand new web pages doesn’t have a chance to rank for that particular term without investing tons of time and money.
What you are going to want to do is to break down that term into what is know as long tail keywords.
As you can see these long tail words are much easier to rank for because the listings in the index are a lot less. And the more specific that you get the more targeted your traffic is. The more targeted the traffic, the more likely you are to earn a customer if that is your goal. Of course there is a lot that goes into proper keyword research, but don’t worry I will cover it to a great extent in due time.
The Three Pillars Of SEO
The last thing that I want to cover is what I consider to be the three pillars of SEO. You get these right and your job is so much easier. Get any of these steps wrong and your going to run into trouble with the search engines or just not see all that much traffic in the long run.
First I want to address the URL factors. When the image refers to search engine friendly URL’s it simply means that your keyword needs to be in your web address. If your talking about ‘los angeles real estate’ on your page those words need to be a part of the URL. If your using WordPress, the program actually builds your URL based off the title of the page for you. You can set this up in the permalinks settings and I’ll do a series on using WordPress for marketing at a later time. The domain life span relates to two different factors. One is, how old is the domain. If your trying to build a brand new brand name your most likely have a brand new domain. Its not a bad thing, its just going to take you some time to get the search engines to trust that your going to create some high quality content. The second is how long you have registered your domain for. I typically register mine for two years at a time. But if you can go for longer, it tells the engines that your going to be in it for the long haul.
The second thing that I want to address is the on-page factors. There a quite a few different factors other than the ones listed. But once I get to the on page section of the series it will become much easier for you. What I want you to take away from here it the keyword density and the meta tags. Typically in the old days of SEO we were trying to get a keyword density (nothing more than the number of times your keyword is mentioned versus the total length of the content) of 3-5% on every piece of content that we wrote. The problem was to do that in an average sized post we had to repeat the words a lot. This caused what is known now as over-optimization and its penalized by the search engines.
Today we stick to a keyword density of around 1-2% which makes the content a lot better and the sites are ranking rather quickly with the new rules of Google and Bing. So in dropping it, we are keeping both the robots and the people coming to our sites very happy.
Meta tags are the data that we discussed in part one. The title of your page, the description of your page, and if you use them, the meta keywords of your page. I say if you use them because in the old days of SEO people abused them so they are discounted more by the search engines these days. Google still uses them for their News listings however, so if your creating a news site make sure your adding them. Bing uses them as well, but the importance of them in their rankings really isn’t know. So follow Google’s rules primarily and your rank well in Bing naturally well.
The final thing I want to address, and I’ll end part two here, is the off page factors. Off page really only means the links on other web pages that are going to your site. These links amount to votes for your content. Typically the more links you have to your site, the more votes that you have, the higher you will rank. Now just as recently as last year you could go out and create a few thousand links to your pages and dominate the results for your keywords. Everyone was doing it in some for or fashion using blog comments, RSS Feeds and tons of other methods.
Then the search engines got mad and did something about it. There were thousands of webmasters who were getting a large amount of free traffic using these methods and they lost everything. If they were lucky, their sites were not deindexed all together, but that did happen to a lot of them. So now we need to be smart when doing our off page seo and building links. Of course the optimal solution is that we do our keyword research right and get free traffic right off the bat. Then the people who come to our site loves it so much they build links for us.
Ok so I think that is enough for today. I know that I have given you tons of information to digest. If you have any questions at all please ask them in the comments and I will answer them for you to make sure your clear before you move on to part three.