In speaking with agents I find that there are few topics as widely misunderstood as search engine optimization. Where there’s so much murky water, there exists a lot of snake oil salesmen. If you are thinking about undertaking an SEO campaign, and especially if you are looking to hire an SEO specialist, make sure you spend a bit of time understanding the topic so that you can manage your campaign effectively. This post provides just a quick overview of the topic.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of positioning your website or blog high in the organic search results. This is as opposed to SEM/PPC, in which you pay for your website to appear there. SEO is all about showing up for targeted search terms that relate to your target market or niche. SEO is a great way to position yourself as the thought leader. The perception is that if you are high up in Google you must the best. Good goal, eh?
Briefly, there are two main elements involved in SEO: ‘on page’ and ‘off page’.
‘On page’ elements -These are the elements that Google looks for in your actual blog. These range from the way the site is coded (Google loves WordPress!) to how much content is on there, to how frequently your blog is updated, the keywords that you are using and where they are placed.
‘Off page’ elements – The single most important ‘off page’ elements are the links from other sites pointing to yours. In Google’s eyes, every time another site links to yours it’s like a vote of confidence. If Site A links to Site B, then Site A is perceived by Google to be ‘voting’ for Site B. In other words, Site A thinks the content on Site B is so compelling that it is worth mentioning and telling their visitors to go check it out. Do be aware that recipricol linking, where A agrees to link to B if B agrees to link to A, is no longer an effective tactic as Google will cancel the links out. If you have the ability, then you want the hyperlink text to have your target keyword in it. For aggressive link building campaigns, it’s worth hiring a SEO specialist.
SEO is a very detailed topic. I will delve into some more advanced elements in future posts.