SEO Basics

SEO Basics

Alongside SEO, the other strategy you can use to promote your website and thus your landing  page/store  is  SEO.  SEO  of  course  is  Search  Engine  Optimization  and   this essentially means that you design and manage your website and marketing in such a  way as to ensure you climb to the top of Google.

This can help to bring in some very targeted traffic to your site. Whereas using Facebook Ads as described earlier allows you to target people who have stated an interest in your niche, industry or product. SEO means you can target people who are actually actively seeking the item you’re putting out. In that regard, you have the benefit of timing as well as targeting.

To put this in perspective, showing an ad for a book on a cheap wedding to a young, engaged woman makes a lot of sense but there’s guarantee that that person will be currently interested in buying anything. They might have already planned their wedding! Or they might just not be in the market to buy anything at that time.

But if you can show an organic search result to someone who is looking for ‘tips for a cheap wedding’ then you know that in the moment they find your website, they are currently looking for those tips.

Seeing as most people turn to Google when looking for any kind of information or product online, this is a fantastic strategy for increasing your revenue and thus your profits.

And the other advantage that SEO grants you? It doesn’t cost anything! If you handle the SEO process yourself, then it’s completely free. And even if you pay a third party to do it for you, you can save money by only paying for the initial work – not paying for each subsequent click. In theory, a good SEO process can yield results for years to come.

How SEO Works

So how does SEO work?

At a very fundamental level, SEO works via ‘robots’ and ‘spiders’. These are the scripts and programs that Google uses to ‘read’ the internet. These work individually and thereby allow Google to index the web, adding the URLs of websites and their subjects to a database it can use to bring up relevant results when someone does a search.

When reading the content on a website, Google will comb through it for phrases and terms and these will then be matched with search terms. So if someone searches for ‘I need a new hat to go with my blue trousers’ and you happen to have that exact phrase on your site (or something similar to it), that page will then be brought up as one of the top results. This is called a ‘long tail keyword’; it’s a keyword because it’s a phrase that someone searched to find your site and it’s long tail because it’s long-form – the type of keyword that emerges naturally within the content that few people are likely to compete with you on.

The best way to get lots of hits from these kinds of long-tail keywords is simply to write a lot of content around your subject. This is why most websites have a blog – the more content you add to a blog the more content there will be for Google to index and the more likely your site will be to come up for various searches.

Regular keywords – the types that you will target specifically – will tend to be much shorter. An example of this would be ‘buy hats online’. This is the sort of thing lots of people would search for regularly but which there would also be a lot of competition for.

So the question is: how do you rank for these popular keywords in such a way that you’ll rank higher than the competition who are also going for these same terms?

One answer to this is volume and repetition: simply having a ton of content will help you to fend off the competition with less, as will repeating your keywords more often. You don’t want to repeat those keywords too much though: doing this looks to Google as though you are trying to manipulate the rankings and artificially elevate your position at the expense of great quality content (content doesn’t tend to read well when it has hundreds of repetitions of the same phrase – this is called ‘keyword stuffing’!).  Generally it is recommended that a keyword have around 1-2% keyword ‘density’. This means that you can repeat your keyword once every 100-200 words. However, if you want to ‘play it safe’ to avoid penalization, then you may want to be even more cautious than that.

To repeat the same keywords lots of times without fear of ‘stuffing’, a simple solution is to write more content. With 100 articles on your subject, you can use a very low density and still repeat your keywords hundreds of times across your site.

Likewise, keywords can also be used in the HTML of your site and in file names. Use keywords for your image names and for your page names and this reinforces that association with Google. It’s also worth noting that Google sees some content as more crucial to the topic of a website than others dependent on its position. And specifically, this means that content in the opening or closing paragraph of your article will be seen as more influential than content in the main body. Using keywords in your H1 and H2 tags also has a similar effect as these are titles.

Content Quality, Algorithms and LSI Keywords

As mentioned earlier, keyword ‘stuffing’ is a very fast way to get your site penalized by Google. There was a time this wasn’t the case though and if you look back at the early days of SEO, then the advice was previously to just repeat the same keyphrases as frequently as you possibly could. This way, you would reinforce the relevance of your keyword in no uncertain terms and you would get to the top of Google for those searches through sheer brute force.

But once webmasters and businesses caught on to this fact, the results were bad for Google and for the web as a whole. This meant that a whole lot of the content you read would now read like the following:

“Looking to buy hats online? This is the best place to buy hats online and we have a ton of pages where you can buy hats online!

We have baseball caps, woolly hats and more to satisfy your buy hats online needs!”

As you can see, this content doesn’t really make sense and it’s highly distracting. At the same time, this system meant that the business that got to the top would simply be the one that was able to write the most content and repeat the keyphrase the most often – quality be damned!

So Google needed to evolve and they needed to adapt their algorithm. The new focus for Google after these changes would be to provide the visitor with the content they were looking for and to make sure that the content was helpful, useful and relevant – after all, that’s Google’s USP!

Thus we entered into an age where every few months, Google would update their algorithm and give it a name like ‘Panda’, ‘Penguin’ or ‘Pigeon’ and thereby mix up the search rankings. Today, keyword stuffing will get your content penalized which is why you should never go over 2% density. Likewise, you need to be varied with anchor text when linking to your site and you need to show Google other indicators that you are delivering quality content through your site. These indicators include things like content length (Google now likes ‘in-depth’ articles which are around 1,800 words long) and links out to other useful resources. What’s more, your content should also be completely unique and original and should involve lots of related terms and synonyms around your keyword.

This latter point is what is known as ‘LSI keywords’. LSI stands for ‘Latent Semantic Indexing’ and the idea is that Google now looks for words that relate to your search terms. This doesn’t only suggest that you are genuinely writing in-depth on the subject you claim to be discussing, it also shows that you have a good vocabulary, writing style and knowledge and it helps Google to better recognize what type of content you’re delivering.

For instance, if you use the word ‘fork’ then you might be talking about cutlery or a fork in the road. Google will thus look for relevant expressions relating to either one of  those