What does SEO stand for
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation, so what does this actually mean?
SEO, Search engine optimisation is a way to improve your webpages to gain more traffic from a search an online visitor enters into a search engine like Google or Bing.
We will explain this in more depth later in this article.
The primary way people navigate the web and find answers to what they are looking for is with a search engine. The most popular search engine is Google. With Google you just enter your question, hit enter and voila! You are presented with tons of answers to the query you entered.
Search engines are not perfect, so you can normally get results for queries that do not fully answer your question. Search engines like Google try their best to understand what you are asking for and try its best to provide the content you are looking for.
This can be a challenge for a machine to figure out what a webpage is actually about and try to show that page to people who are looking for it.
So lets look into how this began to gain a deeper understanding of how the modern web works.
How the modern web began
The modern web as we know it contains Search engines, social networks and simple applications you can easily access from your personal mobile phone.
Content today is far more curated and targeted at specific groups of people and even rich products are developed around these groups.
But many years ago if you wanted to find some information, you would either need to be told about it or see an advertisement and navigate directly to that website.
This was the case until directory websites started to emerge, these websites would list links to different websites based around different categories. Such as if you wanted to learn about gardening, you would check the websites in the gardening category.
This worked quite well until the web started too grow too big and too complex to find exactly what you needed, it included navigating to multiple directory websites and looking through tons of websites until you found what you actually needed.
Google then emerged with a quick and easy way to solve this problem, they could very quickly find what you were looking for in milli-seconds, this was a breakthrough, although another problem emerged. Google had to find a way to better determine the quality of a website and what website should rank higher based on the relavancy and quality of the content.
Google found that if some webpage had a lot of links directing to it and had content aligned more accurately with the query the person entered, then they would rank the webpage higher. Of course people found a way to abuse this algorithm, but it just made the search algorithms more complex.
And this is how Search engine optimisation was born, this is why a lot of people focus on optimising their content around specific search terms and try to gain as much traffic from those keywords as much as they can.
So I'll now explain some things you should consider when thinking about SEO.
5 easy ways you can get started
1. Content is king
Content is super important on the web and writing high-quality content is important to ensure you gain a respectable following for your website.
2. Avoid cheap SEO hacks
A lot of people used to embed hidden keywords on their website in the hopes of stealing more visitors, this does not work and will de-value the content of your website.
Perhaps this may work for a high traffic website since they have the scale to match the keywords they are targeting, but for a small blog, its better to focus on a niche or a collecting of niche keywords and topics.
As mentioned above, focus on a few topics that you know quite well and grow from there. It's better to provide content that benefits people around a specific topic than to be spread too thin by provided tons of unrelated content.
4. Meta tags
In a webpage you have HTML tags called meta tags, these exist in the head of a webpage. They provide you the flexibility of determining how your webpage should look in the search engine results page (SERP). You can control the title and description quite easily and even attach extra information like when your article was publish and include a preview image of your content.
5. Open graph and social networks are also important
Not only focusing on search engines help with SEO but also improving your social media presence and how well your content is shared on those networks. This helps to provide authority and value to your website as a whole and improve the respect search engines, social networks and other websites have for your content.
So hopefully this article was helpful in explaining what SEO is and how you can improve your online presence.