What is SEO about? Now, that is a big question. In essence, it is the metrics by which search engines such as Google and Bing use to rate and rank sites. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When you are creating your website, you should consider SEO during the creation phase so that the search engines can start ranking it. If you want to know how to create a website, Click Here.
What does SEO actually do?
Is is not so much "what is it" but "what it is". Search engine providers like Google and Bing have a set of metrics and guidelines they require websites to follow in order to rank them better. These are to do with associated keywords, some site aesthetics and search parameters. These alone, can determine weather your site gets ranked in the top 20 or last 1000 which puts your site on the first page of the SERP, gaining good traffic, or way way down to the last page and getting no traffic. If you don't make the first 2 pages, (some say the first page) you can forget about seeing any traffic. Humans are lazy by nature. 🙂 That's what makes understanding SEO all the more important if you want to rank well.
What is a SERP?
This is an acronym you will have to become familiar with if you are going to be working with SEO. SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. Effectively it is the page that is returned when you submit a query to a search engine. SEO is a major contributor to building this page. It contains all the sites that the search engine has found that match the criteria of your query. First the query is processed and the raw sites identified based off keywords that match. SEO is then used as a ranker to sort through the sites and put them into order based on SEO requirements before being passed back to the SERP for output. Well that's a simplistic view of it anyway. It is a bit more complicated than that.
What is SEO Optimization?
SEO optimization is when you take your site, and based on the SEO guidelines, make it SEO compliant. You can use online analyzers to help with this task. Some areas that the SEO analyzers look at are the type of fonts, the layout of the content, headings etc. If you want see the complete Google SEO guidelines document, see the reference at the bottom of this document.
There are also many good optimizer's available. Here is a couple I like to use.
Bing SEO Analyzer.
When you login into Bing webmaster, click on Diagnostics & Tools menu option. You then have a option called "SEO Analyzer". Click on this and enter the URL of the page you want to analyze. It will report on the status of that URL as it see's it. It gives you a good run down quickly pointing out any potential problems and being that it is from a large search provider it can be trusted.
This is a great site. It does some very deep analysis of the page you specify and gives a very detailed report. Some of of areas it reports on are more informational than requirements and would help rank higher but not be a cause for lower rankings.
Google SEO Webmaster guidelines:
Youtube Webmaster Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp/
- Some of the SEO guru's handout here and share a lot of information including any new upcoming changes and the reasoning behind the changes. Really insightful and good to pickup tips.
Hope this brief primer has explained what SEO is about. The Google Webmaster guidelines goes into more detail and is a good place to get a deeper understanding.
Here is a great video from Google Webmasters that is a primer about SEO including tips & tricks.
This is another great video by Maile that highlights the 5 most common problems with SEO.
This article will be update regularly as well as other articles around Google Webmaster, BING Webmaster and Google Analytic's so keep an eye out.