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SEO – An Introduction


Introduction to SEO

If you want to get the maximum amount of profit from a website, then you need to get as much traffic as you can.  If you want to get the maximum amount of traffic to your website, then you need to get to the top of Google and if you want to get to the top of Google, then you need SEO or Search Engine Optimization.  This is the process of optimizing a website so that Google will be more likely to index it and ensure that it ranks highly for the most relevant key words and phrases.

For example, if you have a website the sells hats, then you might try to get it to rank for the phrase ‘buy hats online’. To do this, you would go through an optimization process that would involve both ‘on site’ and ‘off site’ strategies.  With any luck, you would eventually be able to get your website to the top of the SERP for that term (Search Engine Results Page) and attract a huge amount of traffic.

More importantly, traffic would not just be from random visitors but rather from specific people who are looking for slippers.  People that are looking for hats at the very moment they came to your website (why else would they search for slippers?) which means they are more likely to buy and should only take a small push to get them to make that decision.

SEO can be a slow going process but it is still possible to climb the ranks and to get your website to a point where it will start getting more and more organic traffic from searches.


How SEO Works

SEO essentially works by attempting to second guess the algorithms used by Google to decide which sites to index and where to rank them.  Google works by using bots, an index and an algorithm.  The bots, also known as ‘robots’ or ‘spiders’, are small pieces of code designed to head out onto the web and look for content.  They read web pages and add that content to a massive index that Google can use as a reference.

From there, Google will then use an algorithm to identify which content in that index is relevant to which search – and which is offering value to the end user.  Ultimately, the aim of Google is to help people find interesting content that will be relevant to what they’re looking for.

This involves a lot of factors and the algorithm will look at how many links the content has, how visitors behave on that website and the use of key phrases within the content.  If a word or phrase is repeated often enough, then it is possible that word or phrase is likely to be the subject matter and should come up in searches for matching terms.

SEO basically works by predicting and guessing how the algorithm works (because no one can be completely sure) and then using that information in order to engineer your website to get the maximum number of hits. It means gaming the system and this in turn can allow you to ‘trick’ Google into believing that your site should be number one. Of course it’s not quite that simple though and actually, as we dig deeper, and there are other ways of looking at SEO that are more efficient.

Follow basic guidelines

By following basic guidleines you can help search engines understand your pages.

  • Create a useful, information-rich website, and write pages that describe your content clearly and accurately.
  • Consider the words that users would use to find your pages and ensure that your site contains those words.
  • Make sure your <title> and alt elements are descriptive, specific, and accurate.
  • Create a clear conceptual page hierarchy for your website.
  • When using a content management system (such as Wix or WordPress), ensure that it generates  pages and links that can be crawled by search engines.
  • To help search engines fully understand your site’s content, allow them to crawl all site assets that would significantly affect page rendering, such as CSS and JavaScript files that affect the understanding of the pages.

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