What is SEO and do I need it?

If you’ve just started out a new website, one of the first things you should have asked yourself is “How do I get people to visit my site?”, and after some searching you discover something called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a topic you will want to educate yourself on if you want to drive more people to your website.

The answer to the above question is – get people to find your website on Google. Not as easy as it sounds! Google is a search engine that uses a complex algorithm made up of hundreds of different factors to determine what website or what pages appear in their search results for a given query or search term.  Knowing what these factors that make up the algorithm are, you can optimize your website to be as “search engine friendly” as possible, enabling you to be ranked highly for the search terms you want.

Now, who do you want to visit your website?  The simple answer is – the people that are searching for you.  It sounds obvious but if you have a website focusing on helping people start a website, you will of course want to be found when people search for “how to make a website” because your content is relevant.  Just because you have a website on that topic though, doesn’t mean you will be found when people search for it.  There may be someone with a more established, aged website, with ten times the amount of content you have (age and content are both factors in Google’s algorithm).

Usually what it boils down to in any semi-competitive area is the quality of content you have.  If you want to get ahead of a competitor the best thing you can do is optimize your website as best you can and then try and produce better quality content.

Below are a few examples of the main/basic factors that contribute to search engine ranking below with a more comprehensive list in the works in another article.

Page Title
Commonly thought of as the single most important factor, the page title should include your chosen keywords/key phrases.

Inbound Links
Links pointing to your website can hugely influence how well a page does.  It depends on how related to your topic the page is, how authoritative the given website is and the anchor text of the link.

Use of Keywords
General use of related keywords throughout your site.  You want to be including them in your page title, in your URL/domain, and in the content that you write.