What is SEO?
SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, is a complex series of algorithms and code used by search engines to organize and rank the millions of sites on the Internet. Simplified, SEO is what determines whether your web page comes up on the first page or thousandth page when a user searches for a keyword relating to your site. These search engines are constantly updating their databases with new sites and information as it appears on the web, so understanding how to utilize SEO allows website creators more control over who and how many people can see their content.
#1 Onsite vs Offsite
SEO is broken down into two main categories either onsite of offsite. Onsite SEO includes everything on your web page such as words, links, videos, pictures, and so on. Offsite SEO encompasses all the information related to your web page but hosted on another person’s site. For example, if a completely different and unique site links back to your web page, your offsite SEO is affected.
When managing SEO, you want to have a solid profile of keywords both onsite and offsite so that search engines will rank you higher than competitors. Controlling your onsite SEO is simply a matter of proper keyword clusters and a clean site infrastructure. Managing offsite SEO is slightly more complex as you need others to highlight your web page.
With hundreds of millions of people using search engines for different requests each day, the number of keywords you’ll need to cover can be tremendous. SEO focuses on keyword clusters or keywords that are somewhat related to one another so that your site will come up as long as the user’s search request is even slightly related to your keywords. For example, if you intend to target people searching for “”restaurants””, your keyword clusters would include terms like “”New York restaurants””, “”best restaurants””, and “”inexpensive restaurants”” so that way no matter what kind of restaurant a person is searching for you’re more likely to be displayed for them as a result.
#3 Algorithms and Code
The exact algorithms search engines use to rank their results is a highly kept secret. Luckily, we don’t need to understand the code the search engine bots use or their methods for ranking results. We just need to understand how to design our websites so search engines will rank us better. Search engines tend to rank sites that are more cleanly coded with easy to follow infrastructures higher. As long as your web page developer understands this, you will have a better chance of reaching those first page results.
A good test to see how well your site is ranked is to search for the name of your page in Google. If you’re within the first 10 pages of results, you’re doing well and may just need better keyword clusters. Those lost on the hundredth page may need to revamp their site design.
#4 Social Media
While we all focus on our sites keywords, a lot of people forget that social media has a huge impact on SEO rankings. Having strong followings on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms greatly impact your SEO. Not only the frequency of posts matters but the content in each post factors into the search engines functions.
There are full-time graduate level courses designed to teach people how to use SEO, but you don’t need a Ph.D. to be on the first page of Google. Simply using a clean site infrastructure and a solid base of keywords will help get you there.