What is SEO? A beginner’s guide

What is SEO? A beginner’s guide

When it comes to online marketing, SEO is one of the biggest
trends in the business, but mention it to anybody outside of the industry,
they’ll look at you like you just grew a third eye. For small businesses,
that’s good news, because you can take advantage of your competitor’s ignorance
by mastering SEO and finding new ways to attract a new audience to your
business.

If you’re new to SEO but don’t know where to start, read on
to learn about the basic fundamentals of the trend.

  1. What the heck is SEO? In simplest terms, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When you use search engines like Google and Yahoo, those sites will look for specific keywords and phrases to bring back the best results for you. SEO is keeping those keywords in mind and building your website strategy around it, so when people go looking for, say, “Best tailgating recipes,” they will find your business because nobody can cook a fried egg burger in the back of an SUV like you can. And the best part about SEO is that it’s all free, and bound only by your creativity and persistence.
  2. What is the SEO in marketing? The business of marketing combines creating a brand and message, and positioning it to build awareness and sales. For SEO, when people are searching for something online related to your business, you want to position yourself so your website or landing page ranks as high as possible in the results. The goal is to find a way to land on the first page of results (users will rarely go to the second page). If you’re really on your game, your site can even rank in the top two or three results, meaning you’ll be the first thing people see when they search about something you’re selling.
  3. How do I write SEO? The first step is to pick a topic, one that you’re so familiar with that you’d consider yourself an expert on the subject.  What happens when people find out you’re an expert on something? They’ll probably ask you a bunch of questions. That’s where you start: Write down a list of the most basic questions people ask you about, and then briefly answer them to the best of your ability. If there’s one question you hear over and over again, make that question the title of your blog to try and make it a top result. For help, type in the main question into a search engine itself. What comes up for results? What other questions appear as a result of the main question? Also, if you already have a keyword metric for your website analytics, find out what phrases are already sending people to your site. These will give you good ideas on how to write your SEO.
  4. How do I format SEO? Once you have your list of questions and answers, put each one in numerical order, either based on what you feel is the order of importance, or perhaps from start to finish, whichever you feel is best. Still confused? Take a look at how this article is formatted: It’s an SEO article, written specifically to attract a new audience. Because everybody and their uncles are writing about SEO in marketing, I don’t expect this to rank very high, but if you think you’ve got a market nobody else is paying attention to, you have a great opportunity to be seen as an expert in the field.
  5. How does SEO work? This one is complicated, as search engines rank their content results based on relevance and authority.
    a. What is relevance? It’s everything you want your business or brand to be known for, so spending time focusing on every angle you can about your field will improve your relevance. Maybe you do have some thoughts on the finale of “Game of Thrones,” but blogging about it on your food review website is not going to improve your relevance.
    b. What is authority? This is measured by the type of content you’re producing and how many people and/or sites link back to you as an expert in your field, like you were asking a film buff what’s the best movie to see. The more your content is linked on other pages, the more of an authority you’ll be.
  6. I published my SEO-friendly post. Now what? Once you post, distribute the article as you normally would, such as social media channels, e-newsletters or sharing with friends. You should have some analytics tracking installed on your website (and if not, get on that), so track how many people are viewing your article, and how it compares to your other content. Let it exist in the digital world for some time, and then revisit the article. Is it still performing well with views? Did you get many sites linking back to the story? When I’m searching for the main topic, does it show up in the results? Ask yourself these questions as you review the article. You shouldn’t have to start from scratch, but your feedback and data can give you clues on how to fine-tune your article to perform even better.