What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Every second of every day, someone is on a search engine, typing in whatever it is they are looking to find.  Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing all use different algorithms and factors to decide what to show you when you type something in.  What is it that determines if a website about “Shoes” comes up when you’re searching for “Shoes” and not, let’s say, “Camping Tents”?

Why do the search engines decide to rank one “Shoes” site over another “Shoes” site?  Well, there are hundreds of thousands of factors, maybe even millions. The trick is finding the right amount of factors that will allow the search engines to rank your site over another.

What happens if you don’t put an emphasis on your search engine marketing?  Odds are that you won’t show up on them at all!  If you do, you’re more than likely buried deep, and most people never go past the first or second page.  You need to put an effort into your marketing, because your competitors certainly are.

So what are these mysterious algorithms that you need to be ranking for?  Well, there are lots of things you need to take into account.  There are things you can do On Page and there are things you can do Off Page.  These are the two categories of optimizations you can do, and I’ll go briefly into each.

On-page is exactly what it sounds like: it’s everything you are doing on your website.  This means all those pictures, all of that text, all of the links you’re putting on your site.  This is all being evaluated by the search engines.  How many times you have specific words on your site, how many links go to each page internally, what text is in bold and is in heading text, what your image tags say… these are all things that are being used in the search algorithms.

There are many things with your on page SEO efforts that you can do.  The first thing you need to do is your keyword research.  You’ll want to find keywords that you can actually rank for.  What I mean is this: when you search for something, like a specific item – what’s the first thing that comes up?  Amazon.  If you search a person from history, Wikipedia is almost always in the top results.  Why is this?  Why do they always win?  Because millions of other websites trust these sites as “Authority” and link to them.  So when you’re doing your research, you don’t want to try and work towards something that Amazon or Wikipedia are already dominating do you?  I wouldn’t.  I would rather rank for something that nobody is trying to rank for, or at least very few are fighting for.

After keyword research, you should look at getting the proper keyword density (look at that, I just linked to Wikipedia).  This means making sure that you’re using the words you’re trying to rank for the perfect amount.  Not too often, not too few.  The proper amount is somewhere between 3-5%, but this is largely up for debate.

Off-page SEO is where the game really gets tough.  You’ll need lots of links coming into your site, from websites around the globe, as well as social media mentions.  Just how I’ve linked out to some authority sites around keyword research and keyword density, if your site is a “Trusted” site on the web, other sites will link to you.  So you need to work on link building campaigns, social media campaigns, and more.  The best way to start getting your first links is to look for directories in your niche.  For example, if you’re a dentist there are more than likely dental directories you can submit to.

So, there you have it.  SEO is mainly a combination of on and off page optimizations.  It’s you telling the search engines what your site is about, and it’s others telling them what your site is about.  It’s the search engines using their algorithms to determine what to rank your site for, how to rank it, and where to put it.  There are tons of factors, and without proper training, there isn’t a lot you can do.  This is why we recommend you hire an SEO company that is knowledgeable in guiding you on your path to the top of the search engines.