Blogging doesn’t have to be hard. It does have to be planned. If you want to be a successful blogger, you need to do certain things that keep the search engines happy. When you take action in your business according to particular methods and systems, you effectively tell the Internet what your business is about.
The search engines will then send you traffic (web surfers) that they think will benefit from what you offer. This is what makes optimizing for the search engines so important. If you don’t do your job correctly, you get traffic that doesn’t really care about what you have to say. Done properly, you get plenty of free and targeted traffic, the exact people that you are looking for.
This means that when you do SEO correctly, the people that end up on your blog are happy. You are happy. The search engines are happy because they sent web surfers to a blog that is related to exactly what those surfers were searching for. So in this way, you could look at search engine optimization as an online dating service – when everything goes right, you and your blog visitors are a match made in heaven.
In this guide on SEO for beginners, you’ll get started by understanding exactly what search engine optimization is. You will find out that there are different types of SEO, why you should use SEO to build your blog, and some simple web design tricks and tools to make your job easier.
Then we will take a simple look at specific ways to create SEO-friendly content, some myths you need to know about search engine optimization, and ways you can track whether your efforts are paying off or not. You will learn the importance of social media in an SEO campaign, and you will discover a couple of “old school” SEO tactics that don’t work anymore, and could get your site sandboxed or otherwise penalized by Google. Let’s get started by defining search engine optimization.
What is SEO?
In defining search engine optimization, we are going to talk about how Google wants you to conduct business on your blog. There are obviously other search engines, like Yahoo and Bing, but the Big G is far and away the most influential search engine. Practice the SEO tactics you will learn in this report, and you will find you are keeping the other search engines happy as well.
Search engines are just large pieces of code. They have 2 basic functions – 1) crawling the World Wide Web to build an index of webpages, and 2) to give web surfers a list of webpages the search engines think are relevant to whatever people are searching for.
That’s really all search engines do. They are a tool for searching the Internet. They have pieces of code called “spiders” that “crawl” all over the web constantly. They are always looking for updated information and new webpages. When they find a page that they have not indexed yet, they add that page to their search engine index.
Then the next time someone is searching the web, if they are looking for information that is on your blog, the search engine will decide if that page is more or less relevant than all the other pages related to that topic. This is how Google comes up with a ranking order, listing the most relevant search terms in their opinion on the first page of results, numbered 1 through 10.
What Search Engines Say About SEO
SEO, as you know, stands for search engine optimization. You want to optimize your content for search engines, which means you want to make sure you tell Google and the other search engines precisely and exactly what your webpage is about. In the olden days, there were several tactics you could use to “trick” Google and manipulate the system.
This let really poor content get massive traffic. The web surfers were not happy, they let Google know what they thought, and now Google has changed for the better. While there are still SEO practices you need to follow, and we will cover those in a bit, as long as you produce lots of great content and you keep your readers happy and coming back for more, you will have to do minimal SEO work.
Since Google provides the most search results and traffic on the web, let’s see what they have to say about smart SEO practices.
“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, a practice commonly referred to as cloaking.'”
In other words, don’t write for search engine spiders, write for human beings. Solve problems. Care about your audience. Give away great information for free. Do those things, and SEO will largely take care of itself.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of search engine optimization practices. They all boil down to the following 2 different types of SEO.
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
These are pretty self-explanatory. When you attempt to get the attention of search engines by working on a webpage or on your blog, this is on-page SEO. Off-page SEO refers to how authoritative your site is, and how popular it is. Put another way, on-page factors determine what phrases and words and topics you are going to rank for in the search engines. How high you rank for those particular search results is generally determined by your off-page SEO efforts.
On-page SEO work will include title tags, blog posts and other content, internal, in-site linking and page load speed. When you are building a presence on Facebook to drive traffic back to your blog, that is off-page SEO.
Guess what? You are actually using search engine optimization tactics whether you know it or not. If you don’t intentionally try to make your headings, URL structure and alt text for images pleasing to the search engines, you are practicing bad SEO without knowing it. However you have built your blog, you have been influencing the search engines, either positively or negatively.
Once someone discovers your blog, they will usually go back to see your new content by typing in the name of your website. They may even add you as a favorite in their browser, and simply access your content that way. However, until someone discovers you and what you have to offer, the search engines are the primary way people are going to find you.
This is the premier reason for using search engine optimization… to get found.
Without it, you are just hoping that Google somehow stumbles across your website, figures out what topic or topics you are writing about, and then hopefully send you lots of traffic that is relevant and targeted. You have put a lot of work into your blog, so it makes no sense to just pray for luck where traffic and success is concerned.
SEO is important so that web surfers find your blog through the search engines. Without smart SEO practices, and there are fewer than you may imagine you need to make to have a significant impact, Google may never index your content, and all of your hard work could be for naught. If you plan on turning your blog into a successful business, SEO is a must.