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The benefits of SEO
Just do a simple Google Search for “social media”. After wikipedia, the first result will be Social Media Examiner.
Even though there are a lot more sites about that subject, Google has decided that Social Media Examiner is the most relevant for its users.
Google decides this through a complex algorithm. Suffice it to say if you constantly create great content, people share your content and link to it, you’re worthy of the #1 position on the Google Search results.
A human definition
What helped me understand Search Engine Optimisation was this metaphor:
Let’s say your website where you sell hunting gear is you as a person. How would you make sure you’re the best person to talk to about hunting gear?
You’d first describe yourselves to others as an expert on hunting gear, as using only the best products available, while also teaching others about your gear and hunting methods.
By doing this, people will start noticing your and start recommending you to other people. And pretty soon you’ll have a following.
SEO for a website is simple. If you nail down the basics, you’ll have a strong foundation for years to come.
There are 2 types of optimization you want on your website – On-Site and Off-Site.
- On-Site optimization deals with how you describe your pages for your users. If you sell hunting gear and you have a section on Crossbows, you’ll want to talk about that in your keywords and your content: types of crossbows, brands, prices, availability, uses, etc. In the metaphor in the previous paragraph this is the part where you talk about yourself, so people know what you’re about.
- Off-Site optimization is all about getting links to your website from other people in your field. It could be a partner brand, a helpful blogger who’s used your gear and loved it or a simple list of websites that sell hunting gear. For people this would translate into recommendations – people talking about you and referring to you as an expert in that field.
Having all of this data, Google uses it and says: “You’ve described this page of your website as selling crossbows by this brand at this price. Other people have agreed you sell this, have shared your content and linked back to your page. So it must mean, objectively, you’re providing a great experience for users looking for crossbows – you deserve to be on the front page”.
Tools of the trade
Because SEO is all about providing a great experience for website visitors, you should focus on factors like Site Speed (Test and fix your issues with GTMetrix), Recommendations from others in the form of Backlinks (OpenSiteExplorer), Keeping up to date on your competition (BackLinkWatch).
Content is crucial for SEO, so create content for users first, Google second. A great tool for researching what users are looking for is Google Keyword Planner. You find the keywords – create the optimized content – get the visitors and turn them into happy customers.
A process, not a destination
SEO is rarely done. Just like happiness, it’s a process, not a destination. You should keep working on, optimizing it and looking for more ways to deliver an exceptional experience for your users.