SEO and You – A Basic Introduction

seo helpThere are tons of books and manuals and websites and probably alien libraries dedicated to the topic of SEO, but what is it, and why should it matter to you?

The truth is that, unless you are looking to drive traffic to your website for any purpose at all, then SEO likely doesn’t matter very much to your end goals. Many companies have internal websites that they use for internal company functions, and, as such, these sites never need to be found by anybody who’s not already aware that the site is there and aware of how to use it.

But that’s not what this article is about. Today we’re going to go through the very basic concept of SEO and how to start bringing your websites up to speed before investing extensive time or money into an SEO overhaul of your site.

First, a definition: SEO means Search Engine Optimization.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? At least conceptually, it is rather simple. The point is to improve your page ranking. Or in even simpler terms, how close to number 1 your site will rank in the returned listings when the search tags are used which apply to your site.

For example, say the site is dedicated to ancient flutes made from sliver and engraved with Celtic swirls, searching for ‘ancient silver flutes with Celtic swirls’ should ideally return a listing with your website as one the first entries. When you get SEO techniques correctly applied to your site, this is exactly what will happen. If your website is not as well defined, however, then, naturally, the search engine will return something else in the number one slot. In short, the game is about getting noticed by building reputation and by being relevant and from there by building link popularity.

In essence, optimizing a website is about making it more visible, more appealing to other websites and to the search engines that categorize everything and anything they can find online. To do this from a business perspective, means to make conscious choices in the planning and building stage of creating your online presence. In order to do this effectively, there are a couple of key things to take into consideration during the initial stages of website planning and design.

First, knowing your product (or topic) and the highest powered key words to target that product is crucial. You will need these words on hand to be able to work them smoothly into the flow of text and titles.

Page Titles:

Page titles should be short, accurate and concise, including some or all of the keywords if it is possible, without distorting the true meaning and purpose of the title. This main title is critical because it is how the page is classed and categorized.

Heading Tags:

Also known as subtitles, these heading tags are weighted more heavily than regular text within the page itself. The main purpose of the heading tags and their attendant subtitle text fields is to support and clarify the main topics of the page, breaking the information into more manageable pieces and to make the page easier to navigate. Search engines will use this heading information to give the page more weight on relative topics.

Meta Tags:

Meta tags are usually invisible and coded to reside within the header of a page. Composed in HTML code and are essentially the indexing code that a website uses to identify itself to search engines and other web browsing functions. There are three basic fields that need filled in if you are including meta tags in a website. These three fields are <meta name = “title”>, <meta name = “keywords”>, and <meta name = “description”>. Each of these will require completion with the correct details, but in essence including the relevant meta tags will just increase the hit rate on the page by that much when it’s evaluated and cataloged by the search engines.

Page Text:

The final component is the actual page text, and like a good salad, the key is to spread the keywords out so that it all seems natural and flowing. All the text contained within a given website is going to be assessed and catalogued alongside the rest from the site, keywords and common phrases need to be relevant and flow naturally within context or the effect of the whole article will be ruined.

In closing, anybody can make a website, and the internet is full of examples of artists and poets who have their own personal space on the electronic frontier, and they do well enough with that model for their purposes. But in order to drive the kind of traffic to your site that is needed in order to be able to generate income of any value, the twin values of content and SEO help are key. Content for traffic, traffic to content; the partnership is irreplaceable, and backlinks, drawing customers and viewers to the site, are the linchpin of the whole equation.

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