Introduction to SEO: Basics of Search Engine Optimization

If you have a website or a business, chances are you want to show up on the first page of Google. But how exactly do you encourage Google to pick your site over others? Enter SEO

In this blog post, we will talk about the basics of SEO, what it is, and why you might want to leverage it for your website. But first, what is SEO?

What is SEO?

The term “search engine optimization” refers to the process of improving a website’s ranking on search engines. SEO focuses on non-paid (also known as “organic”) search engine results

Why is SEO Important?

In a nutshell, SEO is important because it increases the visibility of your website, which results in more visits and opportunities to turn visitors into customers.

SEO is (for the most part) all about content marketing. Content marketing is simply the practice of creating content, typically long-form blog posts or articles, around your main topic to rank in Google for a given search phrase, also known as “keyword.” 

If you owned a greenhouse website, for example, and want to rank on page one for “best greenhouse materials,” you might write a series of blogs around that topic.

In this scenario, your blog would pop up on google for people searching for “best greenhouse material,” and you’d be able to establish a relationship with that prospect by offering helpful information.

For best results, content should be helpful, informative, well organized, relevant, shareable, and entertaining. 

SEO is also useful for increasing brand recognition, cultivating relationships with prospects, and establishing yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy authority in your profession. 

The higher you rank on a search engine result page (SERP), the more likely people would notice you and visit your website. 

Ideally, you will always want to be on page one. Why page one? There’s an ongoing SEO joke that goes as follows: 

“where is the best place to hide a dead body? – Page two of google.”

I think you get the gist. And it’s no joke. One-quarter of all web users never go beyond the first page of the SERP.

How do you “practice” SEO?

SEO is not just a button that you press on your website–It’s a long list of best practices. But knowing those best practices is not as easy as you may think, Particularly because, well, Google does not tell anyone what they’re looking for. Well, more specifically, they don’t tell anyone what the algorithm is looking for. 

Google does tell webmasters and Developers what it likes to see but doesn’t give you the metrics, like how keywords should be on a page or how long a blog post should be. 

Fortunately, there are many best practices that you can apply to your website to help it rank higher, but for the purposes of this introduction, we’re not going to get bogged down with technical stuff (yet). We will just briefly touch on two critical elements of SEO. On-page SEO, and off-page SEO, and local SEO. let’s discuss.

On-Page SEO

Many of the elements of SEO that you have power over are referred to as on-page SEO. These considerations include your site’s technical setup, code quality, textual and visual content, and user-friendliness. 

Keywords

One of the most important SEO considerations is what keywords you want to target. Keywords are words and phrases that customers use to navigate web content and that advertisers may use to communicate with customers who are searching for their goods and services.

When researching keywords, consider these three types of keywords

  • Short-tail keywords (such as “car”)
  • Long-tail keywords (such as “used red ford focus for sale”) 
  • Local keywords (such as “used for focus in Boston”)

Keep in mind that it is difficult to rank for short-term keywords, such as dog. It’s much easier to rank for something like “best organic Chihuahua food.” Generally, the more specific, the better.

Off-page SEO

Optimization activities that occur outside of the platform rather than on it are referred to as off-page SEO. 

Backlinks are essentially links that go from someone else’s website to your website. Backlink building is the most common off-page SEO strategy because it tells search engines that the site is valuable and high-quality, which creates authority.

Guest blogging, making a lot of infographics that can be widely circulated, and listing influencers in the content are just a few of the latest best practices for developing high-quality backlinks.

Local SEO 

As more people use their mobile devices to search for goods and services, local SEO is becoming increasingly relevant. Tablets and smartphones now account for 57% of all searches, with half of those searches being for local results. This is why understanding local SEO is so important for local businesses.

If you owned a restaurant, for example, a good local SEO strategy will ensure residents in your area found your website while searching for the best restaurants in town. 

Conclusion

If you want people to find your website on Google or any other search engine, you’ll need to take SEO seriously. We hope you found this short introduction to SEO useful. If you’d like to learn more about SEO, don’t hesitate to contact the Maker Hub. Click here to check on all of our blogs until next time.