What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is defined as the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. However, I prefer the definition Barry Adams, Chief SEO Polemicist of Polemic Digital, offers in this article. He defines SEO as getting more relevant traffic to websites via search engines’ organic results.

I think SEO means something different to everyone but it is still here to serve one basic purpose…to get people to see your website in their search engines.

So how does that even happen?

First you need to take a look at your website’s analytics. I like Google Analytics but you could also use WordPress Analytics or whatever came with your website, just know that not all analytics are created equally and Google Analytics is considered the gold standard among all analytics collectors.

Within your analytics you will find the terms people use to search and find your website. From there you can see which terms are most popular and which ones are getting people to your website the most. After you figure out what key words are driving the most traffic you can go to a keyword database, such as WordStream.com, and search for your most popular terms and see what other, similar, terms are being searched the most.

Next, you need to search for other websites that use those same search terms to see who your biggest competition is. It’s always better to what you are up against, right?

So now that you have figured out what the best keywords to use are and who your biggest competition is you need to make an action plan. You need to take those keywords and create amazing content that includes them organically. It would be weird to just have random words and phrases thrown about so you need to make your content relevant and meaningful and at the same time use your keywords and phrases throughout the content.

After you make sure your content makes good use of your keywords you need links. But not just any links. You need to make your content so good and so reliable that people trust you and will link back to your site. Google loves links and the more links you have the more they see your website as “important” and then your page will make it further up the search page. So instead of your cat photography website being on page 21 of a Google search, it will be on the first page and be more likely to get clicked.

Now some people will disagree with me and say that just because someone links back to your site, that does not make it SEO. Some people out there think that SEO is strictly using effective keywords and hopefully being found in Google searches. However, with all the websites out there today I think that it takes a little bit more than you using a few keywords and a prayer to get your website higher up in the Google search pages.

I believe that building a brand that people trust enough to link back to and say good things about in addition to using your keywords and phrases is better for building good SEO and getting your website found in search engines.

So is that all there is to SEO? Unfortunately no. Google likes to play a little game where they switch up the algorithm so that what worked a few weeks ago might not work now.

Did you just say algorithms? What does that have to do with anything?

Search Engine Optimization is based on algorithms and each year Google can change its algorithm 500-600 times, mostly minor changes that won’t affect you but occasionally with huge changes. The most recent huge changes were The Quality Update (May 3 2015) and Panda 4.2 #28 (July 17, 2015).

So what can you do to keep up with all of the changing algorithms and keep your SEO game tight? As the saying goes, content is king. Keep your content fresh and relevant and know how to interpret your analytics so you can see if anything has changed.



4 thoughts on “What is SEO?

  1. One of the most important takeaways is this: content matters! I love that you emphasize precise and meaningful content as a first step in achieving the kind of search engine results you’re looking for. A very rhetorical perspective on the matter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was definitely an insightful look into the processes involved with search engines, including the details you explained about search analytics and algorithms (both things I’ve never actually considered, but not entirely surprised by their usage). While I fully admit that I’m pretty bad at advanced mathematics and statistics, I think I understand the basic idea about producing new and interesting content that will ensure a greater level of attention/exposure to online viewers.

    I was also fascinated by the notion that linking to one’s content is predominantly tied to the use of keywords: again, this isn’t so much a revelation to me as much as it’s yet another way of looking at how searches work that I just didn’t really think about. As we’ve already discussed in class, the use of tags, keywords, and “bread trails” not only makes it easier to find interrelated information, but also increases the likelihood that certain websites will be seen and archived.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad I got to see another article describing the benefits of using the google search engine. This is why everyone around the world with access to google has been able to benefit so much–because the program not only finds relevant information, but the MOST relevant, and beneficial, unbiased and factual information.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is why I like using Google-they optimize it to suit the audience, or the user, which is so important these days. The advantages of optimization is more web traffic and more profit. Google is a Big Data company and has specific methods and complex technology which allows them to analyze various audiences, as this article states- http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/opinion/2172922/google-means-seo. On a smaller scale, I think anyone can benefit from knowing how to brand their website to make it user-centered for more web traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

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