Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What is SEO?

What is SEO?
“SEO is a practice of improving and promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines via Organic (Non-paid) search terms. “

At the beginning of time SEO stood for ‘Search Engine Optimization’. 

Now it really stands for ‘Search Experience Optimization

User Friendly Websites

With the evolution of intelligent search engine algorithms, emergence of social media and the continued influence of personalised search (see Google Plus and now Facebook Graph Search), we now (and always have) have to make the site ‘User friendly’ too.

What do the Search Engines want?

What does Google want?To provide the best user experience possible. That means they want to show the best and most relevant answers to the questions people are searching for.

As Search Marketers or Website Designers; we want to do the same. That’s the goal.

First I want to explain how Search Engines work.

Google have stated that it looks at over 200 factors when deciding where to place websites in their SERP’s. (Search Engine Results Page)

To break it down to really simple terms (well, simple-ish), we will look at just 4 factors.

Search Engines basically rely on 4 things:

  1. Crawling
  2. Indexing
  3. Relevance
  4. Authority

Search Engine Spider - Googlebot1. Crawling

Search Engines, (using computer programs called ‘spiders’) crawl millions of websites.
They find more websites by following (or crawling) the ‘Links’ they find on those website pages. And so on.

2. Indexing

Search Engines store the information they find (websites and what is contained in them) in their index. The Search Engine Index is like a huge filing system for all the websites it finds on the internet. 

Kinda like a your local library.

If you have a new website or you have an existing website but no other website on the web is linking to you, Google or Bing may have trouble finding you.

If the Search Engines cannot find your website, they will not store you in their index. If you are not in the index, then you are no-where and you may as well not exist L

You have to ensure that the Search Engines can actually find you and include you in their index.
Search Engines are like huge libraries
If your book isn't here then no-one will ever read it

It’s like writing a book and not putting it in the library for people to take out and read. If you are not in the library you will never be read. Period. We need to get your website in the Google Library or the Bing Library.(and then promote it like hell!)

There are 2 things you can do to get Indexed by the Search Engines.

  1. Create amazing content which will attract other sites to link to you.
  2. Submit your site to Google/Bing.

If you are a new website then the 2nd option is the way to go because you probably don’t have that much great content yet and it may take a while before another site links to you.

So you should proceed with submitting your site to the Search Engine directories. It’s easy and free. Follow the links below to submit your site.

Once Google has indexed you (you can check this by using the ‘’ parameter in Google) you will now have to focus on getting onto the First Page of the SERPs.

This is the difficult bit. 

Because Google shows between 7-11 websites per page.

So to get on the first page on Google, you will have to be in the top 7 best websites for that particular search term.

Tough no?

There are 2 main aspects of how Search Engines show results.
  • Relevance
  • Authority (Popularity)

3. Relevance

Website content. Is it relevant to the search term?Is your company, product or service relevant to the search term?

If your site does not at least contain the words that people type in ‘search’, then it is not even in the race to be found for that search.

(e.g.) Search Term: ‘lavender soap’                         Company: (fictitious company. I checkedJ)

If someone searches Google for the term ‘lavender soap’, Google will search the web (it actually searches through its own index) for pages that are relevant for the term ‘lavender soap’. 

If the company sells ‘lavender soap’, it will hope that Google will find it when it searches its index. then wants Google to show in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs)

To make our website relevant, we have to do many things. I will explain just two of them:

  1. Choose a ‘Keyword Strategy’ for your website.
  2. Place those Keywords in specific places on your site

Keyword Strategy

With your potential customer in mind, think of what they would type into Google if they needed your company to solve their problem or answer their question. 
keyword strategy
  • Choose the keywords that best describes what you do as a company.
  • What products to you sell?
  • What service do you provide?
Choose these Keywords for your website.

Where do we place these ‘Keywords’?


With your Keyword Research complete, use one main keyword per webpage. (You can then target long-tail keyword terms in you blog posts)


If you can, try and include the search term in the website URL (eg) (although keyword specific URLs are less relevant than they used to be in the past, they are still a good SEO practice)

Title Tag

Ensure the Page Title has the search term in it. Page Title = Page Name

H Tags

Ensure all your H Tags (H1, H2 etc) have the search term in them. (or better still, have a variation of it in them) H Tags are basically headings and paragraphs titles in your content that break up the text to enable an easier read.

Alt Tags

Ensure you have at least 1 picture per page with the keyword in the alt tag. Naming your pictures to the relevant search term is another factor that will increase on-page relevance.

Site Architecture

Make it easy for the Search Engines and Users to navigate your site. Clearly defining your site architecture will allow the spiders to easily crawl your site and thus reach all your pages. This will allow the user to find exactly what he/she is looking for without getting lost in the mire.
        • Best Architecture - Top down, 3 levels deep (max).

don't make users angry. Make site navigation easy
Don't make users angry. Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.

4. Authority

Is your website or webpage an authority on the subject?

How do the Search Engines find this out?

The Net is a popularity contest. Just like Prom Night
We totally crushed it. Holler!
They find this out by counting how many other websites have linked to your website. (among other things)

Basically, the Internet is a popularity contest. The most popular websites are the ones we see in the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Page).

THE most popular website for a specific ‘Search Term’ is the website that is Number #1 on the SERP’s

How do we become popular? 

Create Amazing Content

A website without amazing, unique and ‘remarkable’ content that provides value, answers questions, solves problems, or is at least entertaining, will have a hard time moving up the SERP’s because no-one will want to link to it.

Creating amazing content on your (i) Homepage, (ii) About Us page, (iii) Products or Services Page may be difficult to do. These pages are your bread and butter. Optimise them with your keywords and make it as interesting as possible.

A proud Bill Gates. Bings Supreme Commander
Good Stuff. I'm proud of you. I will reward you.
Where can you create this amazing content that will get you those valuable links?

Your Blog

Your Blog is an invaluable piece of weaponry where you can be as creative and entertaining as you want. 

Your Blog will enable your company have a personality and engage with potential customers via commenting.

If you talk about yourself, your company or try the hard sell in your Blog, then people won’t read it and they will switch off.

Once you have created this amazing content, we need to optimise it and share it through Social Media, RSS Feeds, Article Submissions etc.

By sharing it via Social Media, we can reach the most people possible and in turn drive those people to our site.

Please read more about the benefits of Blogging for Business in my post 'The Importance of Being.....A Blogger'


So what have we learned about SEO?

We know that SEO helps us…..
SEO Helps your site 'Get Found'
Where is it? Oh....
  1. Get our site crawled and indexed by the Search Engines.
  2. ‘Get Found’ by potential customers.
  3. Find the terms people are searching for and to use those terms throughout our site to engage the user and create a relationship.
  4. Use these terms in our blogs so people (i) read our amazing content (ii) share it (iii) like it (iv) link to it.
  5. These Links are a vote of confidence from other websites. Once the Search Engines see these votes of confidence and see that our website is relevant to those Search Terms , it will reward us by moving our website up the SERP’s.
  6. Keep creating great content that people want to read. The more content we produce, the more chances of getting found, the more chances of getting these valuable links, the higher up the SERP’s we will go. Search Engines reward fresh up-to-date content.

If you always have both the User and Search Engine in mind when creating a new website and/or content, then you will be rewarded by more visitors and ultimately more paying customers.


SEO is the practice of improving and promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines via Organic (Non-paid) search terms. 

Great user experience baby!
That was awesome. I'm going to tell all my buddys

Once you have the visitor on your site you have to engage them enough to keep them there, keep them coming back and ultimately start moving them down the sales funnel. From TOFU to BOFU.

You are trying to provide the best user experience possible. Do that and I have no doubt you will succeed.


1 comment:

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