"Everybody's talking at me. I don't hear a word they're saying. Only echoes in my mind." Nilsson for the soundtrack to Midnight Cowboy, 1969
When it comes to understanding the wonderful world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), we can all feel like Joe Buck in "Midnight Cowboy." However, when you break it down again and consider what it means, SEO is not all that difficult.
Here is a brief primer on what you need to know about SEO.
1. Content is King.
The major search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and Google interpret importance or relevance as popularity. The more traffic a site is getting, the more eyeballs are examining it, then the more valuable the information on that site must be. That is why having good content that attracts more visitors really is what matters most. Popularity online can be proven, too. There are a number of successful metrics and tools available that interpret popularity (Google Analytics is a good free start). In fact, Facebook has even come up with their own metrics and analytics to measure online traffic and popularity.
How can you be popular? With the right SEO it's much easier than high school and without all the hassle of your hair. All of the search engine web guides agree that there are several ways, but that one area is key to increasing popularity for a web site: relevant content. Make sure your content is useful, meaningful, and maybe even a little funny.
2. Drink lots of link-juice.
Next in the hierarchy of being popular online are the number of sites linking to a site and how regularly updates are made. Although you will hear lots of news about keeping up with the changes to the search algorithm and the latest scams, err "methods" to boost online presence and popularity... the cold hard fact is that the World Wide Web is simply a network or web of sites. Much like the stops on the London Underground or New York City's alphabet soup of a subway system. SEO is all about guiding the right passengers to your particular stop (website) and giving them proper directions about what is there. When you populate your site with well-chosen keywords and valuable content, you will soon find it being visited, linked and then "crawled" regularly and by increasing numbers of people. Obviously, I think you can guess that SEO Tutor is our favorite tool for not only measuring the number of links to your site, but also finding sites to build links on as well as getting regular updates on new links... not that we're biased or anything.
"It's elementary my dear Watson, you need better keywords." -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and anyone since 1887 trying to make an obvious point
3. The key is Keywords.
The most basic foundation of SEO is how well the keywords for your product, good, or service have been chosen. It does not matter how long or short the tail on the keyword is (more on that later), what matters is that it is the most concise and specifically chosen word or words that best attracts your niche. You need to know who wants your product, good, or service. Really reflect on whom you want to attract to your site, how they talk, and what they are interested in. From there, it is easy to use an online tool like SEO Tutor to generate the most specific, relevant, and valuable keyword phrase for your site.
Thus, we close the first in our series on SEO with the simple question...what words do your customers use to find you?