SEO For Dummies

Written by: Jason Bayless | November 04, 2015

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past decade may have heard the acronym “SEO” being thrown around the web. Especially for entrepreneurs and business owners, SEO is an important tool that allows their website and brand to be viewed by human users and search engines alike. But what exactly is SEO? How do you use it? And what are the advantages of learning it? These questions may not spark interest to an average individual, but is something online entrepreneurs and business owners should have solid understanding in.

What is SEO?

Because this is a “For Dummies” guide, let’s start off with an easy-to-understand definition of SEO. Abbreviated for search engine optimization, SEO pertains to the process of attracting traffic via organic and free search engine results. All search engine giants like Google and Yahoo have core search results wherein pages, video content, and/or local listings are displayed and ranked via what that particular search engine considers most relevant to what the user typed into it. The service is free of charge, which is different from paid search marketing campaigns.

The Foundation

During the setup phase, you must establish a concrete foundation using dynamic and well-established tools like Google Analytics, AdWords, and Webmaster. Google Analytics play a key part in tracking and parsing data, mainly how users interact with your platform. Because the tool costs absolutely nothing and is relatively smart, it is a must-have tool in your campaign arsenal. Google AdWords, on the other hand, derives its usefulness from its intuitive keyword search function, which enables businesses to find out what users are searching for and consequently allows them to readjust their SEO strategies to suit the identified needs and demands.

Auditing Your Website

If you own an active website, experts advise to perform a site audit first prior launching your SEO strategies. Seemingly every couple of weeks, Google’s SEO protocols becomes more stringent and much harsher penalties are enforced. Remaining compliant by performing thorough website auditing not only helps you avoid penalties but may also give your website a boost in rankings.

Researching the Right Keywords

Many SEO experts consider keyword research as the most essential part of search engine optimization. And in fact, there are multiple statistical data supporting this claim. If you are really serious about using SEO for your business, then prepare to invest your resources into keyword researching. The competition to remain in the top search engine results pages is fierce and requires a website owner to optimize accordingly. Useful tools that can help streamline keyword research include Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Google Suggest, Ubersuggest, and Google Trends.

Navigability Of Your Site

An intuitive but navigable platform is critical on two fronts. First, it is important for your human visitors to be able to navigate the website and its pages with ease and comfort. If your topics are categorized confusingly and your overall website is structured poorly, visitors will likely turn to a competing source for their needs and demands. Second, search engines require clear connections between particular URLs and webpages.

Is There Coding Involved?

Some level of coding is indeed necessary to carry out your SEO strategies. Although most entrepreneurs and website owners will turn to third-party contractors for professional coding work, there are still areas you should be aware of, particularly robots.txt. In layman’s term, robot.txt is a text-format file that you incorporate into your website, which will instruct search engines on which webpages they are allowed to go to. Although the code is not required by any search engine, it is very useful in times when you have webpages you want search engine bots to ignore.