What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.
All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn’t involved, as it is with paid search ads.
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the simple activity of ensuring a website can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to what the site is offering. In many respects it’s simply quality control for websites. Having said that, if there was ever an industry that was little understood by outsiders it’s SEO.
Ask some SEO companies about SEO and they’ll try and blind you with science and confuse you into thinking it’s a black art. Say to some companies what is SEO and two hours later you’ll be none the wiser. Not so here at Red Evolution. We love seeing the light bulb go on when our clients get it. We prefer our clients to not only know what we are doing for them, but why!
What goes into SEO?
To understand what SEO really means, let’s break that sentence down and look at the parts:
How Do I Get Links?
Links are important but don’t confuse quality with quantity and don’t think about links in isolation from your content. It’s vital to understand that having great content massively increases your chances of securing natural links from quality relevant pages. These links will help you the most.
In simple language if you have something worth linking to you might secure links worth having. Great sites don’t link to poor quality content, why would they?
Make Your Site Appear in Google™
Great Content encourages people to link to your pages and shows Google™ your pages are interesting and authoritative. This leads to search engine success because Google™ wants to show interesting and authoritative pages in its search results. It’s that simple!
Check our SEO Explained in Pictures page for a quick, simple overview. It’s guaranteed to help you understand SEO.
How Does Google™ Rank Pages?
Google™ promotes authority pages to the top of its rankings so it’s your job to create pages that become authority pages. This involves writing content people find useful because useful content is shared in blogs, twitter feeds etc., and over time Google™ picks up on these authority signals. This virtuous circle creates strong and sustainable Google™ rankings.
How SEO works
You might think of a search engine as a website you visit to type (or speak) a question into a box and Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or whatever search engine you’re using magically replies with a long list of links to webpages that could potentially answer your question.
That’s true. But have you ever stopped to consider what’s behind those magical lists of links?
Here’s how it works: Google (or any search engine you’re using) has a crawler that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the Internet. The crawlers bring all those 1s and 0s back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your query.
Building an SEO-friendly site
Once you’re ready to start walking that SEO walk, it’s time to apply those SEO techniques to a site, whether it’s brand new or an old one you’re improving.
These pages will help you get started with everything from selecting an SEO-friendly domain name to best practices for internal links.
Content and related markup
A site isn’t really a site until you have content. But SEO for content has enough specific variables that we’ve given it its own section. Start here if you’re curious about keyword research, how to write SEO-friendly copy, and the kind of markup that helps search engines understand just what your content is really about.
You’ve already learned a lot about on-site topics by delving into content and related markup. Now it’s time to get technical with information about robots.txt.
Dig deep into everything you ever needed to know about links from anchor text to redirection. Read this series of pages to understand how and when to use nofollow and whether guest blogging is actually dead. If you’re more into the link building side of things (working to improve the rankings on your site by earning links), go straight to the Beginner’s Guide to Link Building.
Congratulations! You’ve mastered the ins and outs of daily SEO and are now ready for some advanced topics. Make sure all that traffic has the easiest time possible converting with conversion rate optimization (CRO), then go micro level with local SEO or take that site global with international SEO.
The evolution of SEO
Search engine algorithms change frequently and SEO tactics evolve in response to those changes. So if someone is offering you SEO advice that doesn’t feel quite right, check in with the specific topic page.
For a more technical look at SEO, check out this short video from Rand Fishkin.
Go forth and SEO…