By Mirsa Sanxhaku
If you haven’t heard of SEO by now, especially if you are a website/blog owner, it might be safe to say that you, like me, have been living under a giant rock for the past couple of years. This post will detail my journey of learning about SEOs in an effort to provide others with the same basic knowledge in one place. (P.S. I am partial to Google, but please note that when I use the term “Google”, I probably mean “search engine”).
First things first: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and, in laymen terms, is the process that, when “mastered”, allows for your website to be at the top of some search engine’s result list, like Google’s, without having to pay a stack of buckaroos. Let’s stop here for a minute, because this is an important distinction. There are two ways for your website to come up as a top result for a search, “organically” without paying the search engine or some third-party company to guarantee this, and “artificially”, which is the complete opposite. SEO deals with organic searches, because paying for your website to be discovered has only one meager secret- dump a bunch of money into Google’s lap. Why is it so important for your website to come up as a top result? Easy answer… how many of you actually click on the second page of Google’s search results? Not many? Not surprising. Bottom-line: if you want your website to be in the spotlight of search engines, you simply have to know how to SEO.
How does one become one with SEO?: I personally am not at all equipped to answer this question, and from my understanding, the process of mastering SEO is quite convoluted. For one, search engines, like Google’s, change their algorithms quite often in order to weed out websites that have poor content or individuals that manipulate the system by creating false reviews, etcetera. In fact, Google’s latest update for their “Panda” algorithm was introduced just a few weeks ago, on July 17th. In April, Google also released “Mobiledeggon”, this update allows for mobile friendly searching and paves the way for the future of mobile searching. According to several sources, it appears that as of late, Google has been introducing updates and/or refreshers to their algorithms more frequently. What this means is that the algorithm is becoming more precise in weeding out poor content, false reviews, or pages that have weak structures. In other words, if you want your page to outlast the test of algorithmic time, make sure that you do it right from the get go. But alas, for us “newbies” this is a good place to start: algorithms.
Search engines have little “spiders” that crawl all over the world wide web by using links as “highways” or “bridges”, which enable them to move from site to site. Their purpose is to gather information and store it. Once you go online to conduct a search, the search engine utilizes an algorithm in order to find the pages that are relevant to your search, and also rank them. The whole goal of SEO is to elevate your site’s rank!
The algorithm is like a recipe that calls for certain ingredients. If your website has the ingredients that Google is looking for, Great! You can make your cake and eat it too! The question is, what are these ingredients? Sugar? Milk? Flour? Well, the fact is that search engines, like Jay of Bush’s Baked Beans, keep their valued recipes a secret. The most we can do is guess. Here are some common ingredients that came up in my search: 1 dash of Keywords– 2 tablespoons of Page Titles– 3 Links Between Websites– and a handful of Reputation.
The SEO Recipe: Because search engines have a database of the content on every website, the words that you use in your website simply matter, but so does how it is laid out. Therefore, you can’t simply have a page on a website that just repeats the word “pancakes”, if you sell pancakes. The structure of your website matters, how its laid out, how easy it is to navigate, etcetera. This concept also bleeds into another ingredient, “Page Titles.” Again, the more “logical” or intuitive your website, the better. Remember, we are dealing with algorithms here, not a quixotic human being. Having blogs like this one that mention keywords relevant to your business, like “marketing”, is also important in terms of content- but again, the blog post can’t just be a repetition of “marketing”, the content has to be qualitative in nature. Another important ingredient deals with links. How many “highways” do you have associated with your site that make it easier for the “spider” to reach it? The more “organic” links, the better. All these quality ingredients promote a good reputation for your website. In other words, a website that has quality content, that is not insipid, that attracts viewers, and that has a good amount of connected links.
Now that I feel I have the basics down, it seems pretty easy. I mean, it just seems that one has to be organized, honest, and creative in order to succeed in the realm of SEO. However, because there is so much content out there aiming to crack the SEO code, I know that this judgment cannot be correct.
What do you guys think? Do you know how to SEO?