What SEO is. What it isn’t. And why we’re talking about it.
Why are we talking about SEO?
Most people getting going on the web for the first time have heard of SEO. They’ve Googled it, read about, agonized over it – and still aren’t comfortable with what it is and how to do it.
This is my no-BS take on SEO for the average person.
We’re talking about SEO because as I’ve worked with website owners I’ve seen firsthand how they’re losing out. This lost opportunity is actually not due to competition as much as it is just not knowing a handful of simple practices or tactics.
I’ll go through some very basic SEO items you’ll need to understand as you begin working to ensure your site is in Google’s index, and that it’s findable. All without having to dive so deep into SEO that you’re starting to question your sanity.
When you’re done reading here, head over to our new glossary of basic SEO terms. These are the terms you’ve seen over and over as you’ve researched the topic. You’ll find all the important terms and their definitions on a single page, along with a downloadable PDF version of our Basic SEO Terms Glossary.
What in the hell is SEO anyway?
SEO (or search engine optimization) is nerd-speak for the things you do to increase the quality and quantity of your organic website traffic. This is less about technical tactics than most people think.
Organic traffic is website traffic received through non-paid search engine results. AKA clicks from search engine result pages (or SERPs, if you want to start talking like a nerd). Not someone clicking on an ad you had to buy.
SEO is as much about the people doing the searching as it is about the technical aspects.
One half of SEO is understanding searcher intent. What are people trying to find? What kind of search results does Google think will make them happy? Many times this searcher intent aspect of SEO is neglected in favor of using tricks to improve ranking.
The other half of the SEO equation is the more technical side: Getting search engines to crawl your site and understand it.
Both are important.
Even if a page contains exactly what a searcher is looking for, if that page isn’t in Google’s index it might as well not exist.
Similarly useless: Content that is searchable, but that not enough people are searching for. Even if you do everything perfectly, it won’t bring the traffic you need.
SEO is a long game. It’s one you can win – if you create quality content that fulfills visitor’s needs.
What SEO Isn’t
SEO is not a bunch of tricks or hacks that can launch your site to the top of search engine rankings.
Why is SEO Important?
All the data shows that the vast majority of web traffic in the world is from organic search. Only 2.9% of all internet users click on ads. That means the other 97.1% only click on search results.
Optimizing your site will deliver better information to search engines. This enables search engines to index and displays your site’s information correctly.
Basic SEO Guidelines
- Create well done and unique content that fulfills your user’s needs.
- Use clear and relevant page titles.
- Ensure quick site loading.
- Make your site user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Ask yourself if your content is helping your user.
- Use deceptive practices such as hidden links or text, sneaky redirects, or cloaked content.
- Buy backlinks or take part in link building schemes or link exchanges.
- Keyword stuffing.
- Duplicate content or copying content from another site.
- Use machine-generated content.
Is your site hitting the mark? Missing on some counts, and/or you have no idea? A No-BS Organic SEO Audit & Analysis can help.