What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
The importance of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is something that should not be overlooked when creating your website, no matter what you’re selling or promoting. In order to get as much traffic to your website as possible, you will need to convince search engines like Google and Bing that your content is well thought out and user-friendly. Learning the basics of SEO will go a long way towards giving your website the best chance of being ranked on the first page of Google or Bing’s search results.
Depending on how you structure the content on your website, search engines will give you a rating that will affect how high your website or content appears on the results page when users search for keywords relevant to your product or service. Since there can potentially be millions of results that appear once the ‘Search’ button is clicked, you’ll want your content to be as visible to users as quickly as possible.
Effective SEO involves every aspect of the website, including the overall performance of the website, how fast it loads content and responds to input, originality of content posted, authority of your website (which us judged by how many other sites use yours as a reference or find your content worthy of linking to), and the user rating, which is based on how easy your content and website is to navigate, how long users stay on the page for, how safe it is from malware, etc.
While many people believe that the best thing to do when optimizing your website for search engines is to fill it with keywords that will possibly be typed in by users then matched up to your page if there are enough instances of it, it is usually the case that moderation is key. Search engines will usually penalize your website for overstuffing it with keywords, so make sure you create content that contains only relevant keywords, written in such a way as to make it seem naturally written. Shoving a keyword into the middle of a sentence just for the sake of it may hurt the readability of the content overall, and therefore will seem less user-driven than it needs to be to make it to the front page of Google or Bing.
You will also need to learn who to optimize your content for different kinds of results, because relying on text alone may not be enough. By adding pictures and videos to your website, you are more likely to get a higher ranking, however you will still need to make sure your content is relevant, or risk having your rating lowered.
The easiest way to learn the basics of SEO and finding out how to adapt your content as you go along (since SEO trends change along with the algorithms that search engines use to rate content), is refer to the Google Webmaster, since they have a lot of influence on how you will be ranked, and as the biggest search engine in the world, will probably be the place where your website is listed when a search is done. Remember that SEO is not a once-off thing. You will need to keep adding and changing the content on your website to climb the rankings by showing search engines and their incredibly advanced algorithms that your website is expanding and giving users what they want.