Basic SEO Concepts
I talk a lot about SEO on this blog.
The fact is that SEO is one of the most important and relied upon traffic sources on the entire Internet. Hundreds of thousands of businesses across the globe rely solely on SEO to fuel their businesses with the rankings, traffic and leads they need to survive.
Learning SEO can be a huge pain in the ass. I know that when I first started, I struggled to understand a lot of the concepts. The only reason being was that I tried to learn everything before I attempted to rank for a single keyword. The most important thing to do when learning SEO is to set goals…
…and your first goal should be to understand the basic SEO concepts. Once you understand basic SEO concepts, your next goal should be to rank for A KEYWORD and understand why you ranked for it. It’s essential to realize that basic SEO concepts are the most important. The complex stuff the SEO “gurus” scare you off with is mostly irrelevant to most webmasters.
The fact is you only need to learn around 20% of SEO to achieve 80% of the results. If you want to learn the extra 80% for a measly 20% extra SEO rankings and traffic, go for it. But the basic 20% of SEO concepts will allow you to rank for almost anything you want.
SEO consists of several hundred factors. But you only need to understand and use a few dozen of them to achieve serious results.
Here are the basic SEO concepts and a short introduction to SEO following them:
- Search engine results are based on RELEVANCY and POPULARITY.
- One way search engines show listings is based on how relevant they are to the keyword being searched. This can be because the keyword being searched is in the title, description, header tags or content body of the listed result/s.
- The other way search engines display listings is based on how popular the RELEVANT results are. The search engines will always display relevant results. The way search engines order the relevant results is based on popularity.
- Popularity is based on 2 fundamental components; backlinks and social presence or social media.
- Social Media in the form of shares i.e. Facebook likes, Tweets, Re-Tweets, Bookmarks and Google +1′s.
- Backlinks in the form of targeted anchor text linking back to your site from others.
- Anchor text is the text used to link from one site to another – VERY IMPORTANT – search engines boost you for the keywords you use as anchor text.
- Google is the only search engine SEO’s really pay attention to, they have the biggest market share in search engines by a long shot.
- There is on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
- On-page is optimizing your site to rank for keywords by changing on-site factors like content and structure.
- Off-page is optimizing your site to for keywords by building popularity in the form of backlinks and social presence.
Understanding the concepts above will allow you to rank for anything. This is how you rank…
You start by choosing a target keyword. Once chosen, you write a RELEVANT piece of content that targets the keyword. You can optimize the content on-page by including the keyword in the title, description, throughout the body and in what are called header tags.
Very basic SEO. There are several ways in which you can further optimize your site on-page, but most unnecessary and not worth learning. For example, it’s been proven that raising keyword density, bolding and italicizing keywords will boost rankings. While that may be true; it barely boosts rankings and is not worth the risk of over optimization.
If you over optimize your site on-page Google can give you a penalty or lower your rankings. When optimizing your site, it’s best to keep keyword density to 5% or less to avoid keyword stuffing penalties. It’s very important to have the keyword you’re targeting in your title, description and header tag.
Anything besides the above I consider overkill and not worth the time or risk of over optimization. Finally doing the above will create ultra relevant content. Although…
Creating a relevant piece of content isn’t enough to rank for most keywords. With that being said; if you’ve got a powerful website or are in a low competition niche; sometimes relevant content is all you need to rank. To boost your rankings you must optimize off-site by showing Google your content is popular.
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