Today, we’re going to look at a high-level overview of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are a number of resources out there to learn more about the specifics of any component of search engine optimization, from algorithm updates to industry specific tips and tricks, but for now, we’re just going to review the basics.
As our friend Professor VonPuppet so kindly explained in the video above, a super simple definition of SEO is that it’s essentially the practice of helping the content within your website appear in search results. While many people are aware of the spam and black hat tactics that are often used to attempt to game search engines, there is a simpler road to travel, which aligns with your interest with that of the search engines, giving you the best chance that your content will be well-placed in search results.
First things first: You’ll need to have some perspective on how search engines operate. Don’t forget, they’re businesses too, and as such, they have customers – the people who execute the search. Customer satisfaction means giving those users the most relevant content to their query in as few clicks as possible. Think of your content from your visitors’ point of view – is it useful information? Does it answer their question? Does it provide useful or practical information? As Google states in their corporate philosophy, Focus on the user and all else will follow.
Focus on the User and All Else Will Follow
The simplest search engine optimization “trick” isn’t really a trick at all – Just provide useful, relevant, practical content. I wish there was some magic word, or secret sauce, but the fact of the matter is, it’s as simple and straightforward as that. Of course, you can further enhance the content to help give it the best possible opportunity to be seen, but as search engines grow more sophisticated, it looks like these enhancements will be required less and less, and you’ll be able to focus 100% on your content itself.
A very basic checklist is below, and if you’re interested there are more thorough checklists available elsewhere online, or you can contact us and we’ll send you a copy of the full checklist we use when launching new websites.
- Does your page/article use the key word or phrase that is the topic in the following places?
- Page title
- Page URL
- Meta Description
- Page Content (also feel free to use synonyms in the page content)
- Does your page/article at address the topic or question being discussed?
- Have you created an XML sitemap and submitted it to the most popular search engines?
- Are you using proper tags to format your content? (For example, heading tags – h1, h2, etc)
- Do you link appropriate key words and phrases to appropriate pages within your site?