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SEO Back to the Basics: What is SEO?

SEO is a huge industry in itself and having an established site is now the primary marketing method of the 21st century. There are a wide variety of ways to improve a website and a myriad of monetization methods that can be used to improve the bottom line of any business.

What Does SEO Stand for?

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So what does SEO stand for, and why is it important? SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. People use search engines to look up everything from shopping products to hotels to takeaways. Given the prevalence of Google, SEO could alternatively be called Google Engine Optimization. Sites are optimized to please Google, and when Google releases updates, SEO specialists can have a hard time understanding what they did wrong.

Every site should be optimized for Google, as this increases visibility and traffic to your website.

In the same way that physical businesses advertise with signs, a web page is a means of getting the attention of customers in an online setting. The main difference is that webpages give access to a global audience anywhere in the world, provided the site includes the appropriate SEO practices.

SEO Basics

For people just starting out, there are a few basic terms to understand with regard to Search Engine Optimization –

Keyword – This is the chosen search term you want your page to rank for. There are free tools that can help you to see what search terms are popular and how difficult they are to rank for.

Keyword Density – Your chosen keyword must occur frequently in the content of your page. As per current Yoast specifications, this is optimally around 0.5 – 2.5%. If a keyword occurs once in a 100-word article, then the keyword density would be 1%. If a keyword is a little longer or difficult to fit in organically, such as “what does SEO stand for” or “why is it important”, then the keyword density can be reduced.

Links – Links are the lifeblood connecting different web pages. In this way, pages can (organically) link to relevant content to deliver value to the reader. The more links to your website from high-quality websites, the better you are looked upon by the Google bot. Links in your page are known as anchor text, and you should only link to relevant sites. Links to your site are known as inbound links/internal links, and links to other sites are known as external or outbound links.

Link building is the process of acquiring more links from relevant websites in order to increase your websites authority.

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Content Quality – The content on your website needs to be unique and relevant to what is being talked about. The common term for this is that your site has to be organic. Artificial link generation and black hat techniques only work short-term. Then Google finds out or updates its incredibly sophisticated algorithm, and the site gets penalized.

There are no ironclad rules associated with SEO, just guidelines and best practices, Regardless of how sophisticated your marketing tools are, the core pillars & principles remain the same. You need to focus on improving your keywords, links and content.

How Does SEO Work?

Essentially, websites that adhere to the standards set by Google (its algorithm) will rank higher. As a result of ranking higher, they will gain more traffic and more conversion rates – i.e money. In order to rank, Google releases a set of guidelines on what webmasters are to do. The exact details are a tightly guarded secret so that people don’t game the system. This was rampant in the early internet days, with content spinning and keyword stuffing.

Web pages are ranked based on keywords. So if you were selling water filters, you would want your site to be the first page that shows up on Google when people use the keyword “water filters”. You do this by optimizing your web page primarily with the keyword “water filters”. You might put the keyword in the title, in a subheading, in the anchor text and in the content itself.

Of course, in reality, there are a wide variety of factors that contribute to page ranking, such as site authority, age, the uniqueness of content, monthly visitors, paragraph length etc. Google takes everything into account, with more weight given to certain metrics. Given the age of the internet, many generic keywords are very difficult to rank highly for, and nobody really knows exactly how the algorithm rates pages. Moreover, Google updates its algorithm so that people who are starting to figure out what works are thrown off. While many people are enraged at this, it is actually a good way to prevent monopolization of the system and give new pages a chance to rise up the ranks.

Why is it Important?

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The world is becomingly increasingly digitalized, and having a website is of utmost importance. It is the main way people find goods and services, and if a business webpage does not have visibility on Google, then people will not know about you or your business. With the rise of new technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality products, more people than ever before will be shopping and spending online. It is too expensive not to optimize a website.

SEO is particularly relevant to small business owners and may constitute a prime opportunity for growth and expansion. While the core premise might seem simple, optimizing a site takes time, skill, and patience. It can often be a good idea to engage the services of experienced SEO experts, that can give you simple information so you don’t waste time and resources. There are a number of free tools and resources that you can use, but learning SEO from the ground up can take a considerable amount of time for people who are focused on running their own business.

The age of the yellow pages is over. People now pull out Google and making it to the first page of search engine results is the best way to get found by people who are looking for you!

Above all, it must be remembered that SEO takes time. Slowly and steadily with consistent content and organic links, the site will climb up the ranks so it gains exposure. Much like growing a business, steady work each day yields dividends in the long run.

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