Search Engine Optimization. It’s everywhere in content marketing. Every site and book tells you how important SEO is for your business. So what is it? Well, according to the dictionary:
Search-engine optimization: the methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site.
Why is there so much buzz about search engine optimization? Good SEO saves your business money and drives customers to your site.
Search engines use automated robots, also called spiders or crawlers to seek out all the links to every page on the web. This is a monumental process, as there are more than a billion websites online, 50-billion web pages indexed on Google, and an estimated 600-websites created every minute by users around the world. Good SEO will get your page to the top of a search, without having to promote yourself with Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
This seems really complicated. What do I really need to know?
Basic terms associated with Search Engine Optimization:
Audience – Who are you trying to reach? Narrow this down through the use of buyer personas.
Keywords – Words in the content of your page that allow search engines to direct queries relevant to the information on your page.
Meta descriptions – An HTML and XHTML element that describes your page to search engines. This is on the “back end” or developer side of the page.
Index – The database used by a search engine that contains information about each page that has been analyzed.
Anchor Text – Text that also serves as a link to an article or definition.
Organic Search Results – Search results that come from the page SEO, not a paid agreement.
Backlinking – Known as an Inbound Link, backlinks are links directed toward your site. Websites with a larger number of quality backlinks will have a higher “authority” and better search engine rankings.
Blackhat SEO –Using an SEO strategy that focuses only on getting a search engine to rank the page. Search engines will ban users of black hat SEO tactics.
Whitehat SEO – Using strategies that focus on the human “user” audience to improve search engine page results.
Grayhat SEO – Using tactics relating to poorly defined articles of the search engine guidelines.
Search Engine Optimization plays a major role in driving customers to your site. There are ethical ways to improve your SEO rankings, and there are ways that will get you black-listed from all the major search engines. Honest and principled use of SEO techniques will result in getting the people to read your site, but the content will keep them there. Know your audience, use good keywords in your content, create relevant meta descriptions, always stay on top of the latest information, and your page has a good chance of ranking well in search engine results.