What Is SEO?

SEO Basics … Source: BackLink Banzai

SEO is an acronym for 'Search Engine Optimization'. It's a constantly evolving study of what factors the search engines take into account when they "rank" you in their natural, also called organic search listings.

"Natural or Organic" search listings are the main lists of results that come up when someone searches for something.

Natural or organic do not include the paid listings (often referred to as PPC - Pay Per Click.) Paid listings are usually found on the right column and in the yellow box at the top.

The "natural or organic" listings are straight from Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines main index and show sites listed in the order of relevance and importance according to their algorithm.

Now the goal is to be as high up the pages as possible, preferably on page 1. If we're the 4th listing on page 11 - we're hardly going to get prospects, leads, sales or any traffic to our websites and listings.

Does anyone know all the factors that go into your rankings?

Unfortunately, NO … No-one knows all the factors that Search Engines use to determine your rank. The Search engines don't want anyone to know, so you can't manipulate the system.

Fast forward a few years and a million dollar industry has grown up around this. By using constant empirical testing and measurement of various factors to determine which ones are the most important.

The Two Sides of SEO

Did you know there are two sides to SEO? … "On-Page" factors & "Off-Page" factors.

What is "On-Page" SEO

On-Page (SEO) search engine optimization is about changes you make directly to a website to make it more search engine friendly. This is a fairly easy part once you learn how to go about it.

It entails correctly setting up title & heading/header tags, putting keywords in correct places, using alt tags, meta-tags and search engine friendly internal-linking.

If all that is complete your own your way to high rankings. Give yourself a pat on the back.

If not, then don't worry, you're not alone. There are plenty of books, e-books and forums which explain the principles of on-page SEO in some depth.

The bottom-line is while it is the easiest to control you have to do it correctly. If it is not done or done poorly, your website will suffer in the rankings.

What is "Off-Page" SEO

Off-Page SEO is a VERY important for websites. Without it you won't rank high. Think of it as a voting system or a popularity contest. If another website places a link to your site then that site has given you a vote of confidence. They're saying, "Look at them, they've got good information or something important to say".

The links to your website have two main parts, the actual URL or web address of the webpage they are pointing someone to and the "anchor text" which are the "keyword or keyword phrase" that is highlighted for you to click.

If the search engines see the line:

"Visit our site for the best red balloons."

The search engines see one "vote" cast.

Now you can't see what the link points to by hovering over it with your mouse pointer. Then it should show at the bottom of your browser window.

You can see that the text 'red balloons' is clearly important, because that is the anchor text.

So, now you have a vote for that linked web page based on the "red balloons " phrase.

The more votes towards this website will make it show higher in the natural listings when someone types "red balloons " into the search box.

It also works like this … the anchor text and page pointed to are tied together.

You can't create a vote for a page without some highlighted anchor text and that anchor text is what the search engines use to tell them what that page is about and what it should show up under when someone searches.

Let's repeat that for a second … because it's VERY VERY important!

The Anchor Text Controls Which Searches You Appear For.

To continue with the previous example if the text is, "visit our website for red balloons " then you'd just have created a vote for "visit our website" and "red balloons ".

There can be problems with this …

In the example, you've created a vote for the phrase "visit our website". Who ever does an internet search for "visit our website"?

No-one of course.

That is why the anchor text is VERY important. It signifies the keyword phrases that you want to rank for.

The search engines use the anchor text phrase to cast a vote for a webpage. The search engines want to emulate what a person is looking for and wants to find.

The Two Sides of SEO Working Together

Now, it's not as simple as having lots of links made up of good anchor text ( aka. keywords) pointing to your website …

Search engines also use the page title, on-page SEO factors and text on the page being pointed at to correlate and refine the search results. Plus, a lot of other factors including how spread-out the sites are that are linking to you.

This shows that a SIGNIFICANT VERY IMPORTANT factor in SEO is lots of back-links from as many different sites as possible with the correct phrases used as anchor text.

And you must have massive variety in these keyword phrases/anchor text to avoid the search engines thinking you're trying to manipulate the system. If they believe you are they will penalize your website. But for most this is of little concern.

SEO Basic Strategy

Now, if you want to appear in the natural or organic search engine listings for "red balloons " then you want a webpage that has "red balloons " in its title and in the on page SEO factors with a headline and sub head line that have "red balloons" and it should also be included in the text on that webpage.

Then you will want lots of good external website links that point to that specific webpage with the anchor text containing "red balloons".

I hope you get the idea ...

Picking the keyword phrases that you want to rank and show in the listings for can be an art and science in itself.

Think of it like this: What does a typical customer or client of yours type in the search box in order to find your service, product or information?

The answers to these questions supply the basis of your anchor text keywords!

Great! We covered the basics of SEO.

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