You’ve landed on the ‘What is SEO and Is It Important?’ page. Prepare to be dazzled by simplicity. This post is designed to help you understand the basics and give you access to more advanced information and support where desired.
If you have an online business not yet ranking as high as you need for more traffic in your niche or you’re thinking about owning an online business, you will never doubt the importance of SEO again!
So What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Let’s use the search format to better understand the term. We’ll break up the phrase(Search Engine Optimization) into 3 ‘search’ strings:
- 1st string = search
- 2nd string = search + engine and the
- 3rd and last string is the full phrase/string of words = search + engine + optimization.
1st String – Search
Search – According to Oxford Learners Dictionaries the word search means: an attempt to find somebody/something, especially by looking carefully for them/it. Every day millions of searches are performed by the billions of users on the internet. And when they initiate the search (the word or string of words), they do so via the search engine.
Here’s the picture of what the search looks like:
As you can see, the above search performed via Google (the major search engine) provided 112 million results in .65 seconds. That’s super fast, right?! Fast results are very important because let’s face it, when you and I search the internet, the 2-second wait is too long:-)!
The only thing that we want more than fast results is information that helps us to make better decisions, i.e., well presented, factual, easy to understand, original and returned to us in the fraction of the second!
Where Do Search Results Come From?
Search results are generated from websites/online storefronts which can be hosted anywhere in the world and ultimately reside in the virtual nation of what we know as the World Wide Web. As you can well imagine, there are billions of articles, images and files that live on the world wide web.
How Are Those Billions of Information Organized?
Anyone who provide access to the collection of information on people, places and things must first own the website. A website is the virtual storefront whose main address must begin with ‘www’ to set up residence on the world wide web. Setting up the website has become much easier in recent times. Setting up the website with SEO in mind is another thing. If you’d like to see what that can look like, check out the FREE website just for YOU here.
Once you have the website, it’s typical to organize the information you’re curating on your site with the use of menus (top, side and or bottom). Visitors to your site, click on the links within your menu to navigate from one location to another to find the information/product they require. A website is the foundation key. How to access the information curated on billions of websites quickly to gain access to the links that provides quality answers you need, leads us to the 2nd string – Search + Engines.
2nd String = Search + Engines
And as seen in the example above, the search engine can provide countless results with varying answers (…like 112 million answers) in the fraction of the second!
Because search engines provide answers, it is quite natural to deduce that all internet users are their Customers. You’re the customer and so am I! It should be easy to understand therefore, that search engines which provide quality answers in record time to its customers, will have the largest customer base.
Who are the majors in terms of search engines? You guessed right if you answered:
Did you know that there are just over 4 billion internet users? 4+ billion customers, with Google having in excess of 70% of that share, you do the math re Google’s dominance:-)!
Okay, So Getting Back To… What Search Engines Do (KIS – keeping it simple)?
Work Magic – Lol!
Okay seriously, if Google and other search engines didn’t exist, you and I would have to search the billion sites to find our own answers – who has the technology and time?! This is where search engines come in. They employ technology to systematically crawl (see/view) and index (file in order of relevance) information stored on every website on the world wide web (once they can be seen) to save customers like you and I the huge amount of time and effort. Let’s take the quick look at what happens when the customer makes the search request:
- A customer enters the word or string of words (also known as the keyword) in the search field
- Search engine checks its huge databases for information that has already been crawled and indexed to find the location of information matching and/or similar to the keyword used in the search request.
- Ranks in order of relevance
- Return ranked results to the customer… hundreds of millions of links to an answer in under 1 second!
The order of relevance for the search result and the keyword are primary for discussion in our 3rd string (Search + Engine + Optimization). For now, let’s get back to how the search engine works their magic.
As briefly mentioned before, in order to provide answers with lightning speed to billions of customers, the search engine performs 2 main functions:
- Crawling (see what’s out there in the world wide web)
- Indexing (file base on keywords for easy retrieval)
These functions make the work of the good search engine valuable to its customers because at the minimum, let’s face it they improve:
- Quality of life – time saver
- Decision making – provide information ranked by relevance (where quality content matters)
- Our overall trust in technology – many internet users are more likely to try other technology driven tools because of their experience with search engines.
Would you agree? Leave me the comment below, I’d like to hear your thoughts.
What is Crawling?
Crawling is the use of smart bots to get the detailed view of the inter-connectivity connectivity of links to information on the website. The smart bots use the links as the pathway in and around the website. Taking note of cross-references that exist internally and those linked externally.
When the site is being crawled the bots look at the information on the site in its source format – back end coding taking note of link structure, tags used, keywords contained used for its indexing process etc. Let’s look at an example, inserted below are two screenshots, one showing what we humans see at the front end and another showing what the bots see at the back end.
Our front end/customer view:
We see the search engine – Google. ‘Love’ is the one word string/keyword entered in the search field. Also, noted is the URL, whose main address starts with ‘www’ and last but not least, we see the snippet of the description returned based on our search. It’s the 2nd website on the first page, meaning it has the 2nd highest relevance in that keyword category according to Google.
The bots doing the crawling sees:
The bots see their favorite language for crawling and indexing – HTML and as we glance the little lower down we see the description encased in the meta tag name description and the captured content of that description. Bots like the tags, they indicate the start and end of text or command. Why is this important? Inefficient coding can adversely affect your site’s performance, and slow as you can imagine is ‘not the thing’ when the search engine has to return results in the millions or billions in under the second.
Other items for caution are duplication of pages and poor link structure, to name the few. If you are already familiar with the basics and want to know more, I’ve found the great community that offers SEO training and the full service approach to internet realty marketing services at the fraction of the cost. Ready to go to the next level of SEO? Unlock genuine quality training now.
If knowing the bit of coding doesn’t float your boat, its fine. Its good to know what you will be paying for!
What is Indexing?
Indexing is performed mainly in two ways:
- Upon completion of crawling, the bots file the information found on websites via the links in their massive databases based on the billions of keywords used to request searches by customers.
- When the site has high visibility – many people visit the site regularly (whether through social media/other marketing campaigns), the search engines take note and assume that if many customers visit the site/post/page regularly, the site is popular and it’s information is of good quality. The search engine’s way of agreeing with the popularity of any given site is found in its indexing and the site is likely to rank higher.
Indexing is the structured filing system employed by search engines to quickly store and retrieve information that pertains to what customers are looking for via keywords (the word or strings of words entered in the search field).
Keywords are Critical For Building Content
No matter what category of online business you’re in, content is king!
Relevant on page/post optimization requires the content of your website to be curated around matching keywords. There are billions of keywords that customers have used and are using daily to find answers. If we are to take the ‘page’ from Google and other search engines, we should be using state-of-the-art technology to keep us abreast of matching keywords that will allow us to attract more traffic organically to our online business and improve our rankings with Google and other search engines.
Ranking favorably will increase more traffic to your site, build trust as an authority in your category with Google and other search engines which will provide far more monetization opportunities.
There’s the smart way to start ranking favorably with Google, it’s finding keywords that have the fair amount of traffic and low competition – there are billions in every category you can think of and more being created daily. To test an outstanding keyword tool that provides insights on keywords that will support your content ranking strategy, click here for 30 free keyword searches. Providing quality answers to customers is optimizing your on page/post content for the search engine.
As the term implies, indexing is the search engine’s way of filing information by its keyword in massive database servers for easy and speedy retrieval. First the bots crawl to find the many links and their addresses, then those smart bots review the content for keywords.
Do you remember we said that each word or string of words used by the customer to define what they are looking for is the keyword? The bots scan the post/page, image or files for the keywords, etc., and the outcome of the find is the server location that determines type of content and its rank in relevance based on the keyword.
Another way for rank relevance is based on website popularity. The more customers visit the site, the more the search engines will assume that customers like the information on that site and will therefore rank that website higher because of its high visibility. It’s good to build the following via social media, the more you get your message out there, the potential for traffic to your site will be increase exponentially over time.
In the virtual world where there are millions or even billions of search results, the websites that feature on the first page of the returned results have the high probability to be seen by far more customers searching for that answer. Unless of course when you do the search you skip the first page and go to page number 9 instead. Kidding, I’ve hit maybe page 2 or 3 but never beyond that and 90% of the time, I would go back to page 1:-)
There is no doubt that we like speed and quality. How do those websites make the first page of the millions/billions of search results? This takes us to our 3rd string – Search Engine Optimization!
3rd String = Search + Engine + Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is about delighting two stakeholders (1 major, 1 minor):
- Internet user/Customer (Major)
- Search Engine (Minor)
Why delight those stakeholders you ask? A user-friendly website = more visitors/traffic = higher rankings = more opportunity to monetize your site!
Even Google advises web designers and online business owners to design content with the user (customer) in mind, for more on those Google guidelines, check here.
In an effort not to overwhelm (SEO is the lot more involved, not had to grasp but it’s the lot of information for the first dip), let’s look at both stakeholders and the broad effect of Search Engine Optimization from the perspective of 2 aspects mentioned earlier:
- Keywords – from the view of the Customer
- Relevance – from the view of the Search Engine
How do you become user-friendly to Customers (internet users)?
- Domain name – e.g., petlovers.com should be pet related, not focused on blue shoes:-)
- Website – intuitive for users to find information e.g. about you, services, etc., the menu at the top, side and or bottom can greatly assist.
- Content is based on matching keyword, is well presented (titles, sub-titles, images etc.,) original and new material regularly posted (not great to be the one-hit wonder, keep it fresh).
- Trusted authority – customers trusts your ability and credibility.
Here’s a small bonus to help you create more on page optimization using keywords. Consider using the keyword for your content as follows:
- At the beginning of your title tag is perfect, the next best is that it is used within the title. Watch the length, shouldn’t go past 58 characters.
- Use at the top of the page. In the first sentence or early in the first paragraph. Then at least two to three times in the body of the information. It should occur naturally and grammatically correct.
- Use at the beginning of or within the alt attribute of the images used – can come in handy for an image search. The more visits = more traffic = more opportunity to monetize.
- At least once in the meta description tag. While it isn’t used for rankings, it becomes the snippet of text by the search engines. You can also set your SEO settings (at the back end) to automatically generate the snippet (using all that you now know about optimizing keywords of course).
Are you ready to ratchet things up the notch in optimizing your content though the use of great keywords that will help you to rank higher (once the content is to the standards we’ve outlined above)? Click here.
How do you become user-friendly to Search Engines?
- Domain name – use of the keyword in your domain name, might take the bit of brainstorming, check out Name Cheap to determine if the name you want is available.
- Good to great user experience of website and content – front end of website is intuitive, engaging, with content that is original, value adding and matches keywords.
- Visibility – social media/local marketing to encourage more traffic to your website
- Your website coding is largely HTML, your SEO features are managed so that site performance is not hindered. Slow loading sites tend to rank lower. You can get an SEO plug in. I use ALL IN ONE SEO PACK PLUGIN, the free version offers plenty and makes on page optimization the breeze. For the free test of what All in One SEO pack plugin can do, click here.
- Manage all plug-ins, widgets in the way to support the high performing site that load in the fraction of the fraction of the second. Slow websites will get left behind in the ranking.
Why Design Your Site And Its Content To Rank High In Relevance On Google?
It will favorably impact your ranking on Google and other search engines! High Ranking = high traffic = high potential sales!
Here are the few considerations for managing your site’s relevance and subsequent ranking by Google (measures tend to be the same for other search engines):
- Domain name/URL for post/page – matches the keyword that easily relates to the information on your site. (avoid issues re matching your content to the customer query, keyword should match)
- Regular good content – content based on matching keywords (easier for ranking), presented professionally in structure and easy in language, when posted and posted regularly is seen as active. Search engines tend to prefer current information that is original (the good word count is upwards of 900 words). Copying content is the no-no, you run the risk of being blacklisted by Google.
- Marketing campaigns – the more visibility of your site, the more traffic… when Google sees customers visiting and reviewing your material it increases your relevancy. Build site visibility For FREE – create social media accounts and build the following (takes the little time, to grow organically) OR BUY It…have you ever seen the result where the word ‘Ad’ appears before all the other searches on the first page. That’s what you buy – an opportunity to build your customer base IF you have all other SEO features that make the search engine’s task the breeze.
- In this fast paced virtual world, do not discount the quality of the site’s host, coding, plug-ins, widgets, the amount of realty allotted for ads etc., could make or break your site’s performance speed. Slow sites, get lower rankings, who has the patience with so many options:-)
If some information is slightly repetitive, it’s because the darling is in the details:-)!
Ready to improve your site’s SEO? Start Here.
Whether you build organically or buy SEO Services, you do so for one reason only – to increase potential sales! Your online business will thrive 24/7, while you sleep, work and play if you give search engine optimization its due importance for the growth of your online business.
How can optimizing your website and all it contains support that effort? Let’s take the quick review:
All internet users are customers to search engines – over 4 billion internet users
The biggest guns in Search Engines arsenal are:
The Search: Customers use the word or string of words (importantly known as KEYWORDS to any content builder) to enlist their query.
The Search Engine: Provides millions or billions of answers to the customer’s keyword in under the second. Search engines are able to do so through 2 functions (1. Crawling and 2. Indexing) of websites on the world wide web that make seeing the website, its links and contents easy to file and retrieve.
The Search Result: Is provided in order of relevance, website links that appear on the 1st page of the search result will automatically attract more traffic. More traffic = more opportunity for potential $$$SALES!
Why Optimize: Increase of potential Sales$$$$
What can be optimized:
- Domain name – matches keyword and is easy to relate to the content curated on the site
- Site design – efficient coding, use of plug-ins, widgets etc.
- Site link structure – good and easily seen by the search engine (ideally an XML Map)
- Site content – is king. Ensure quality, originality, well presented, fresh and regular posts
- Site visibility – employ marketing or use social media to increase traffic to site (build the following)
To jump in and start learning about SEO to increase your earnings for your online business, click here for 10 Free Lessons.
To enlist me as your support Coach, click here.