This is the first post from a post series designed to help you better understand what is search engine optimization (SEO) and how you can take advantage of SEO to drive free, high targeted traffic to your site from search engines.
In these posts, I will give you some tips, techniques and tools (both free and paid) that you can use to increase your site’s visibility in search engine results.
Do not worry if you are a beginner and this is your first SEO guide. I’ll try to explain all the steps and terms in detail.
Table of Contents:
Understanding Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine Optimization Definition
- The importance of SEO for your website
- The way SEO affects search engine results
- Search engine optimization types
Search Engine Optimization Definition
Search Engine Optimization ( shortly SEO ) is the process of influencing the visibility of a website or of a web page in search engine’s organic (unpaid traffic) search results.
The main purpose of SEO is to bring a website or a page closer to the first page in the search results, allowing it to become more visible and to get more free traffic.
There are two main search engines for which is worth it to optimize your website: Google and Bing (Yahoo Search has joined Bing). There are also other tens of thousands of small search engines, but none can bring you so much traffic as Google and Bing. Each search engine has its own algorithms and can display different search results for same search search query.
Although Bing has greatly expanded in recent years, Google remains the most complex search engine, mostly because is changing its search algorithms very often to improve the quality of search results and to get rid of spam sites.
The Importance of SEO For Your Website
It is very important to optimize your website for search engines if you want your business, blog or your brand to become known and to have visibility among potential buyers, readers, etc.
Following the best SEO practices, will make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content. Some SEO actions will also improve user’s experience, articles readability, and the overall aspect of your website ( proper usage of HTML headings to structure the content, using title attributes, choosing a good combination of colors, etc. ).
A proper optimization of your website for search engines is a way to drive a lot of free, high quality traffic to your site.
However, there are still plenty of people who choose to ignore the benefits of SEO, getting to either fail in their niches or pay for traffic.
Among the most common reasons why these people choose to ignore SEO benefits is because they believe that SEO is too complicated for them and don’t have the necessary money to pay a company to optimize their website.
The Way SEO Affects Search Engine Results
Search engines use automated robots, called “crawlers” or “spiders” to reach the billions of interconnected websites. Imagine this process like a spider’s web, which starts from a few points of support and branch to a complex form.
Web crawlers can copy all the pages they visit for later processing by a search engine that indexes the downloaded pages so that users can search them more quickly. A crawler will only seek HTML pages and avoid all other media files like images, video, flash animations.
If you wish to avoid having indexed certain pages of your website, it is customary to add a text file called robots.txt to the root of your website. Crawlers will visit this file before accessing other pages and according to the rules found inside, they will ignore restricted pages.
Don’t worry too much about these crawlers. No need to remember too much information about them. Remember that they can be restricted from accessing some URL-s using a robots.txt file. We’ll talk in more detail about the robots.txt file in a following post.
Search Engine Optimization Types
If you’ve already read from time to time articles about SEO, probably you have met these terms “White Hat SEO” and “Black Hat SEO”.
White Hat SEO refers to the usage of “clean” optimization strategies, techniques and tactics that completely follows search engine rules and policies.
This technique is often used by those people who intend to make from their website a long-term investment.
Black Hat SEO is the opposite of White Hat SEO, and it refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that violates search engines guidelines.
The most common methods of Black Hat SEO are keyword stuffing, adding invisible text (example white text on a white background), adding unrelated keywords to the page content, page swapping (changing the webpage entirely after it has been ranked by search engines), redirecting domains with a high pagerank to another domain to increase its pagerank using a 301 redirect, building a high number of backlinks in a short time using automated software, etc.
Black Hat SEO techniques are often used by those people who are looking for quick financial gains from their website, rather than a long-term investment.
In the next post I will cover how to choose a SEO friendly domain name.
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