Search engine optimization for dummies
By Fernando BiZ
Why you need SEO
SEO is the process of ranking on Google organic results. It’s one of the main ways to drive traffic to a website and many businesses also use it to drive sales.
In fact, some businesses run purely on the sales that ranking on Google brings them. This is as there’s an enormous search volumes for various terms, including for local businesses.
How are websites ranked?
Websites are optimized by various methods. First is the on-page: making a website look good in Googles eye’s. This is based on a mix of checked assumptions on what Google likes and actual statements by Google.
For instance, it’s well known that Google wants websites to be responsive or adaptable to mobile phones. This is as a lot of the traffic comes from mobile phones, so Google uses it’s influence to make websites adapt to newer and more sustainable technologies.
Apart from on-page, there’s also off-page rankings. Off-page is the process of optimizing the website from outside the website. This is a mix of things and can have different layers of complexity. To put it very simply – Google uses voting systems to determinate how good a website is. The votes are links to your site – the more people vote for you (link to you) the higher are your chances.
Is SEO legal?
There of course are no laws that restrict SEO. The industry is pretty much governed by Google – from what Google wants a good website to be, to Google updates.
Google updates are major changes in the algorithm that decides winning websites for keywords. These updates are implemented as from time to time people and marketers figure out how Google works and rank sites. Google doesn’t like this as the search users don’t receive accurate information to their search queries and more importantly – the sites on top pay their money to SEO consultants, not Google PPC.
Google doesn’t mind people optimizing their sites, this however is within the guidelines and mostly on-page – responsive sites for instance. For backlinks to the site, Google wants you yo guest post on other sites. This is what is called whitehat SEO.
The other forms – greyhat SEO and blackhat SEO become titles the more you dig deeper into off-page SEO. Greyhat is a mix of white and black hat’s, this is where most of the SEO professionals fall into.
Blackhats are marketers that use highly unethical methods (in Google’s eyes) and often times pure spam. These sites are usually for the short term, since as soon as they get caught they will be removed from Google.
How do you start with ranking for a keyword?
The first thing is to find the best keywords to rank for – something that is relevant to you, searched by people and with chances of ranking for.
For this process, we use Google Keywords Tool and then there are processes in place to determinate how competitive the keyword is.
Without going into too much details on the keyword research, the main thing to remember is that the keywords should be relevant for what you want out of ranking the site.
If you want more customers, make sure that the keywords are “buyer terms” – people looking to call and book right away. For general traffic, this is not that important but always keep in mind what you want the users to be in your platform.
After you have the keyword, you need to have the contents relevant to the keyword – can be just an article in your site or the whole site can be about the given keyword.
Once you have the contents, the on-page checklist comes into play. This again is a mix of things and after that it’s just a matter of getting a few sites link to you for ranking.