I was once like you – a newbie webmaster trying to make things work by learning the basics but the amount of information as well as misinformation was overwhelming. I understood the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) immediately, but when does one start when they want to learn all it’s tricks? Many years have passed since and I have gained thorough and comprehensive understanding of all aspects related to Search Engine Optimization and started dominating search engines for keyword phrases of my choice with ease.
True enough – I’m a real SEO expert with verifiable track record of success – my own website that are ahead of the game, not some dubious third party owned sites with questionable search engine ranking. As such, I do not offer search engine optimization services to anyone. Think about it for a second: if someone is truly a SEO expert, why oh why would they promote somebody else’s website? SEO requires lots of work and is an ongoing process. If I’m gonna put so much work into dominating a particular keyword phrase, I better make sure it is my own site that reaps the benefits, not somebody else’s. That always leads me to question true intentions behind all of those SEO experts who offer their services for insane amounts of money. It just makes no sense someone would build a business against their own.
Enough theory though – the fact that you have landed on this page means that you are looking for a free tutorial and free tips on Search Engine Optimization for newbies. And I will gladly share the basics with you. Because sharing is the essence of life. I would like to however stress, that my tutorial and tips will only and solely include facts, no fiction. There will be only and solely proven and verified information shared herein. I am in this for the long run; I do not need to and want to trick anyone. You can count on the information provided 100%. Let’s quit blabbering and cut to cheese, shell we? I just need you to note one thing – there is so much to SEO, it would be impossible to cover everything I know within one tutorial. This SEO tutorial is meant to introduce Search Engine Optimization basics. Experienced webmasters will still find many valuable tips here, however the premise is built around the basics, so new webmasters who do not know where to start have a place from where to take off.
Search Engine Optimization Basics
The basics of and idea behind SEO are simple – to attract quality readers and potential clients to your website. Afterall, if you invest all that time, effort and money into launching a beautiful website, you want to see it grow and do well. And as webmaster I know that there is nothing frustrating than having a better website with better product than someone else, but that someone else gets all the traffic and reaps all the benefits of it, including financial profits. That’s where SEO, or Search Engine optimization comes in – SEO is a set of tricks and techniques you utilize in order to help your website rank higher in the search engines. The higher up your website ranks for relevant keyword phrases, the more qualified traffic you could get for free, without advertising.
There are currently estimated 1.3 billion internet users. 85% use search engines, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo to find websites of interest. Online spendings of these internet users have been growing year after year exponentially. That means that these internet users use search engines to find products they are looking to purchase and the websites that have the best search engine visibility (aka the websites that are listed on the first page) have the best chance of earning this business. Here’s the rub:
- Less than 25% of surfers go past top 10 results returned by the search engines
- Websites listed on first page of search engines get 80% more traffic that website listed on page 2
From above listed facts it is apparent that high search engine rankings for keyword phrases related to your niche can mean a lot of business for your website. Since you are likely competing against thousands or millions of similar websites each striving to get that customer, unless you have properly optimized your website, your competition is likely ahead of you and harvests all the business driven by the search engines while your sites stoops there with hardly any traffic.
Immediate business as result of high search engine ranking is however only one of several positives SEO delivers:
- If you rank high in the search engines, your website immediately gets recognized as “authority website” which helps branding immensely.
- If you rank for relevant keyword phrases, you know that traffic delivered to your site by the search engines is already prequalified and as such these are potential customers. Imagine you have an online store that sells equipment for mountaineers. If you properly optimize your website for search engines, then you could rank high for keyword phrases such as “mountaineering supplies”. So if you rank high for this phrase, you’re gonna get a lot of visitors sent to your website by the search engines who are on the internet searching for mountaineering supplies. That prequalifies them as potential customers. The would be worthless to you if your website was about BMW exterior accessories, but proper SEO delivers traffic you want.
- ROI can be easily tracked – there are free tools available that allow you to see how much business you’re getting from people sent by the search engines as result of proper search engine optimization
- and perhaps the most powerful aspect of SEO – cost savings. Once you have achieved high search engine ranking, your site will continue receiving pre-qualified traffic for as long as your search engine ranking is retained. If you were to get this traffic through means of advertising, the cost could add up to insane numbers
Search Engine Optimization Tutorial
Search Engine optimization is a complex and ever changing science. To succeed, you will need to combine several elements that must work together with each other. Some of the most important and most basic, but fundamentally essential will be covered below. They are: SEO Keywords, SEO Writing, SEO Link Building, SEO On Page Optimization, Measuring Results. It is beyond the scope of this article to describe each of the elements in full detail, however let’s take a bit closer look at each of them anyway:
Good Search Engine optimization starts with keyword research. Remember how I mentioned above that surfers who use search engines to find websites about Mountaineering Supplies would be worthless to you if your site was about Exterior Accessories for BMW Vehicles? This is of course an over the top example that’s not very good. Bottom line is – for your search engine optimization campaign to be successful; you must research your keyword phrases thoroughly. You want to make sure you are targeting right keywords – you must know what phrases exactly people search for and what phrases deliver most prequalified customers.
SEO Writing, also referred to as Copywriting is a skill on its own. Even if you get pre-qualified customers to your website, the sale is not guaranteed. Your page where the surfer has landed must contain text that will make the surfer feel confident that this is the product they want and this is the provider from which to purchase. However ability to write sales letter is not the same as SEO writing. SEO writing is called SEO writing for the reason and the reason is that the text is especially tailored to make your website look to search engines like it is relevant to the keyword phrase a surfer is searching for.
Search engines strive on the fact that they provide surfers with “relevant results”. The moment a search engine starts displaying results that are NOT relevant, the surfer will lose confident in search engine’s ability to offer service they are after. There are several criteria search engine’s algorithm checks to determine whether this particular page is relevant or not. Proper text which contains phrases surfers search for may make this page look relevant. Hence if you write your text for the page in a way so as to make it look like it’s relevant to a particular keyword, it may help you get ranked higher by the search engines. Besides, search engines love text. It’s one of the fundamental aspects that determine relevancy of pages. Always make sure your writing reflects that.
SEO Link Building
SEO Link Building is also referred to as Off Page SEO Optimization. It’s called Off Page because it has nothing to do with the content of the page itself, yet it can affect your search engine ranking. The premise is simple – the more pages link to your page, the higher your page climbs on the authority scale in the eyes of the search engine. Number of links is just one part of it – it also makes difference what authority the page that links to you has. One link from an authority page could boost authority status of your page more than 10 links of low authority level.
Link Popularity (a mixture of how many links your page has and how authoritative these links are) can make or break your SEO efforts. Search engines generally consider pages with many incoming links “trustworthy”. It’s a popularity contest, if you will and just as in real life, also search engines like popular kids. Links can both drive traffic to your site and can help you rank higher. Getting links can be a tedious and long lasting process but a good way to start is by submitting your website to directories, social bookmarking sites, or asking other webmasters for link exchange. The number of ways you can get incoming links are countless – some work better than other. You will often be against established websites that already have many links and it will be a tough task to outdo them, but nothing is impossible in the online game.
Aside from how many links point to your page and how authoritative they are, search engines also look at relevancy of the links. A link from related website can boost your search engine ranking more than a link from completely unrelated website, even if that unrelated website has higher authority status.
On Page SEO Optimization
While Off Page SEO Optimization is essential in order to boost the authority status of your page, On Page SEO Optimization is also important to make sure search engine spiders (small programs that scan your website for the search engine to know what it is about) can penetrate all content properly. If your coding is too messy for a spider to index your page, it’s gonna leave it before it’s properly cached. This means search engines will not know fully what your page is all about and if they don’t know what it’s about, they will not return it when someone search for something, even if they search for stuff your website is related to.
If your page has a relevant title tag, a relevant high level heading, if pictures have relevant alt tags and your HTML structure is clean and descriptive, search engines will know what your page is all about and will not feel afraid to display your website in their search results.
Measuring performance of your SEO campaign is as important as the campaign itself. You must know what performs and what doesn’t, otherwise you could be focusing your time and effort in directions that bring no results. Some strategies work better with one demographics and don’t work with another. Free scripts developed by experienced companies can help you keep track of your SEO campaigns. Google Analytics is a good way to go – I use it on each of my websites. However there are other scripts as well which may work better for you – ClickTracks, Woopra, or any other could work for you.
Search Engine Optimization requires complex approach. Each of the elements described above is essential for success. The article would be way too long if I were to describe each element in detail so keep that in mind. The tutorial was meant to introduce the basics of Search Engine optimization to new webmasters or webmasters who are just starting to learn the secrets of SEO. There are other SEO strategies, some more advanced than other and each can deliver results. I hope this tutorial was helpful and will get you started on your way to becoming a SEO expert. Even the most experienced SEO guru started from nothing. It would have been an article like this one I had read when I was first introduced to SEO. Just keep in mind, search engine algorithms which determine results always change and as such, SEO changes with them. It’s a never ending process. Once you start with it, you can never stop. That’s the beauty as well as the curse of it all. Ahh well….