Search Engine Optimization 101: SEO Basics
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (A.K.A. SEO) is basically the process of trying to get your web content to rank to rank as high within the search engine results as possible. For example, if you are the owner of a bike shop in Toronto and someone searches for the keywords “bike shop in Toronto” you will want your website to be number one in the search results, or as close to number one as possible. This is because the sites at the top of the results are the ones that will get the most amount of traffic.
There are many factors that affect the search engine results and how they are ranked. Many of factors you have no control over, such as algorithms, but in this post you will learn about some of the factors that you do have control over. These factors include keywords, content, and back links.
The first step to any good SEO plan is detailed keyword research. This is because without keyword research it is impossible to know which keywords are the best to try and rank for. In order to conduct keyword research you will need to use a keyword research tool.
A keyword research tool will tell you is how many searches a particular keyword gets, and how how high the competition is for that keyword. If the competition is high it will be harder to rank for those keywords, if the competition is low it will be easier to rank for the keywords. This is information you will need to in order to determine which keywords are the best for you to rank for in your industry.
If you would like to know more about keyword research make sure you stay tuned for my next post. I will be going into more detail about how to do keyword research and what factors you need to look for when deciding which keywords you should rank for.
The next factor that affects your search engine rankings is your content. Once you have completed your keyword research and have decided which keywords to rank for you will need to ensure that your content is rich with those keywords. This applies to both on-site and off-site content.
On-site being anything on your website, so your website copy and your blog posts. Off-site being things like your social media posts or posts that you make in an online forum. Any content that you post on the web can be picked up by the search engine and therefore needs to contain the keywords that you are trying to rank for.
It is also good idea to make sure that your content is always of high quality. When creating a blog post try and make sure that the post is at least 500 words long, that way the search engines will be able to scan enough of the content to determine whether or not the content is relevant for the person who is searching for it.
Having regular updates to your content is also a good idea. If you currently have a website but don’t have a blog attached to it you should probably consider starting a blog. This is because when you keep adding new blog posts to your website regularly it will give your site higher authority in the eyes of the search engines which will positively effect your search engine result rankings.
Another factor that plays a role on the ranking results of a site are back links. A back link is basically a link to your website that is on another website. There are many ways to get back links such as posting your links on social media, doing a guest blog post and having a link to your website within the post, posting on forums, blog commenting, etc.
One thing to remember with back links is that quality is much more important than quantity. If you have a lot of back links that are on lower authority sites it will not serve you as well as if you were to have just a few back links on some higher authority sites. That is definitely something you should keep in mind when you are developing your back link strategy.
Why is SEO Important?
SEO is important because if you do it correctly you can get a lot of free traffic to your site from the people who search for the keywords that you are trying to rank for. This is a good way to get some increased traffic and increased exposure which can of course lead to more customers, more sales, and more money!
Those are some of the basics of SEO. If you are interested, here is a free SEO checklist. This checklist will help you determine step by step exactly what you need to do to get your web content optimized. Be sure to stay tuned for my next post where I will be going more into more detail about keyword research and what factors to look for when deciding what keywords you should be ranking for.