What is SEO? When I first started out online, the term “SEO” really confused me. I didn’t know how to understand SEO. I knew that it stands for Search Engine Optimization but what the heck do they mean by optimizing the search engines? Today I would like to write a post on how to understand SEO and hopefully help you start a good relationship with search engines.
Wait, first of all, do you know what search engines are? They are the companies with big names you all should have heard of: Google, Bing and Yahoo. I am sure you know them. The search engines are the service that these companies offer online so that we, Internet users can search things on the Internet. You must have used the Google at least once to find out information you need, right? Then Google gives you all the resources available that are relevant to your inquiry. That online feature is called the search engine.
So, when they say “search engine optimization,” it means to make the best out of those search engines for the sake of your business (website). In other words, build a good relationship with Google so that they would recommend your website to their customers (online users).
If Google likes your website and recommends it to users, what happens? More people will make notice of your website and come visit, right? (We call these visitors “traffic.”) When you started having more and more visitors to your website, what happens? More chances of converting them into customers, hence more income. This is why all of us online marketers go crazy about how to turn Google (or other search engines) in favor of our website, which is SEO.
It is a constant effort of proving the value of your website. You cannot simply write to Google and ask “Please like my website. I have so much valuable information for visitors. Please recommend it to people by placing my website on the first page of Google search.” No, it does not work that way. (I wish it does though)
You have to convince Google that your website is worth recommending, so it does take time. You can view it as building a trust between Google and your website. Imagine it as human relationships. You cannot just grab a stranger on the street and say “I started a new business. Please recommend it to people!” right? The stranger (Google) first has to know who you are, what your business is all about, what services you provide, if you are trustworthy, and if your business is good enough to recommend to people around him.
Same with the online world. Building trusts with search engines like Google do not happen overnight and it does take some time. It also covers many aspects of building a website. They can be the creative parts of a site or technical parts of it, and this entire process of building a trust is called SEO.
“I Still Don’t Get It…”
Ok, I am going to explain with an example from here. By the way, out of the three companies Google owns over 2/3 of all search traffic on the Internet. So, here I am going to primarily discuss the optimization for Google and here is the example situation.
- A woman is looking for a way to lose weight and still enjoy sweets.
- You have a page on your website about losing weight and still enjoy sweets.
This woman will go online and Google search by entering a phrase like “how to lose weight and eat sweets.” Then Google would go through its gigantic storage of data seeking the online resources (websites, images, videos, etc.) that are relevant to this lady’s needs.
There are millions of “losing weight” websites out there. They could be about low-carb diet, aerobics exercise, vegetable juice fasting, or you name it. But the information this woman seeks is very specific. She wants to lose weight and still wishes to enjoy sweets. And you have the perfect blog page on your website that she can learn so many ways to enjoy sweets while on a diet!
But the chances are that this woman would never know your website even exists. Without Google showing your website on the 1st or 2nd page of her search results, there is no way that she would discover your site.
So, what should you do?
First and foremost, you have let Google know that you have written very helpful tips for those who are seeking ways to enjoy sweets while on a diet. You do this by putting the main theme in the title of the post. In this case, the topic is “how to lose weight and still enjoy sweets,” right? You make the exact phrase of the topic of the page. You can also use the same phrase somewhere within the content too.
In this manner, when Google visits your site (Yes, they visit a site periodically to evaluate it), it can understand what this particular blog is about and for what type of audience it is going to be helpful.
“Ok, this website has a page about losing weight and enjoying sweets, huh. I can see it in the title and phrases inside the content. I shall take a note of it for my customers who need this information in the future.”
I listed below the basics, within this particular example, as to how to SEO (build a good relationship with Google) for your website.
- Be specific with your blog title, such as “Ways to Lose Weight and Enjoy Sweets.” Do not name it too general like “How to Lose Weight.”
- Write articles in depth. You can write about how to make healthy sweets at home, your suggestions of sweets from a store, the best time of the day to consume sweets, etc. The more you write, the more Google sees your website useful for the readers. Do not ever leave your page with only 300 letters or so.
- Constantly post new articles. Google loves a committed author. Constant updates of your website is a big plus and it shows Google that your website is not a joke. You are serious about it and you are actively working on it.
- Engage with the readers. Welcome comments and respond to each one of them. After all, you have to prove that your website is helpful for visitors. How can you say that you are helpful when you are not there for your readers? Besides, the comments you receive on a page become the PART OF THE CONTENT. The more you have them, the better for SEO. Google trusts an engaging and supportive site owner.
There are more technical elements of SEO, which you should implement as you structure each page/post on your website. You can read it in “On Page SEO Techniques for Beginners.”
I hope this post helped you to get the general idea of what SEO is. Simply put, SEO means to create your website in a manner that search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) easily understand, love it, and confidently recommend it to their customers.
I will share more information regarding SEO in other posts. If you have any questions or comments, do leave them below. I always love to hear from my readers. Thank you!
This was very interesting and educational. i think if people knew who to trust online it would make it easier to be successful online. but there are too many vultures out there waiting to pounce on you. This information is a great help especially for newbies in the online world. Thank you for this Awesome lesson 🙂
You are right. There are so many scams out there and I actually got into some of them. My goal is to provide useful tips here so that beginning people can learn basics of online world without worrying about being scammed. Thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for the article and helping me better understand search engine optimization
I have been searching online for a better way to get my sites recognized on Google, this explains it vividly.
What are some other factors that may help my website gain more recognition?
I have this website bookmarked for future reference. Thanks again and keep up the good work.
I am glad that you found the article helpful. You can also utilize social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) to get your website more recognized. Share your new blog post at those places, especially Google+ since it is owned by Google. Make sure to add your website URL as a “contributor” of your G+ page. (You can do this from “Profile” >> “About.”)
People do search for images as well, so be sure to attach a keyword as “Alt tag” to images you used. There are other technical aspects of SEO that I shall share in the future posts. Above all, though, I feel the most important factor is to write valuable contents in depth for your readers, and you do it constantly. Thanks for stopping by and for the question. 🙂
Hi Yuko, I like your style, this is a nice introduction to SEO. Your example keyword â€œhow to lose weight and eat sweetsâ€ is surely nice but it would not work. Do not understand me wrongly, it will work for SEO no doubt, you are right about this. But I mean in reality, can you really eat sweets and lose weight? Well this is supposed to be some joke from my side.
Back to your text, seriously you are good in this. I had a look into the other one of your, SEO tips for beginners, and can say great stuff indeed. Many thanks.
Haha, I guess my deepest desire made me come up with the example? If you ever come across with a website that is seriously discussing how to lose weight while still enjoying sweets, please let me know! Thanks for the sweet comment Jovo. I am glad you liked the article. 🙂 Cheers!
Yuko, I have a home based internet marketing business but for some reason, I haven’t made any money. I began searching for the reasons why I’m not making money and it was suggested my Google ranking was low and potential customers couldn’t find me. Next I found out it has something to do with SEO. Now I was really confused. Next I searched online for help understanding SEO. I came across your article and I was amazed at how you simply explained a complicated topic. After reading your article, I get it now. Maybe this is the answer to making money. I will check back and let you know how I’m progressing. Thank you for writing this article. Keep up the good service.
I am glad that my post helped you to understand SEO. When I first started out, SEO confused me too and yet, it is the crucial part of online success so I wrote this article to help beginners. Once you grasp the concept, it really is not so bad, isn’t it? 🙂
How to do SEO effectively is another topic though. There are many factors involved other than the basic ones I listed here. Just like any relationship, you cannot expect Google to automatically love you (your site) as long as you stay wonderful. Expressing your intention is important, and one way to do this is to do on-page SEO as I explained in this article.
Yes, report back Robert. I look forward to hearing your big success with the internet business!
Hi Yuko! Thank you so much for clarifying this important concept to me. I have always had SEO in my mind and never search their exact meaning. SO I am glad I am more informed thanks to your great post.
You have mentioned about trust. I have heard so many people talking that we need to be consistent and that quantity doesn’t matter that much. However, in practice I have seen many relatively new website ranking pretty well. Although they write very compact articles, they have achieved more than 100 articles in less than 6 months.
This makes me think that quantity is having a big factor for this hungry Google. So what do you recommend? Should we reduce more our articles to write more variety?
Thank you so much! By the way, I really enjoy your website… you have made some changes, don’t you? It got awesome!
I’m glad you liked the new look of my website and the post was helpful for you 🙂
As for your question, speaking from my own experience the longer and better quality contents get ranked higher and stay ranked. My posts with 1800-2200 words have been ranked a lot higher than those with less than 1200 words. I have seen my short articles got ranked in the beginning because of its freshness, and then started falling on to page 20 in Google a few weeks later, whereas those longer and more informative articles I wrote stay on page 1-3 even after a few months. So I would say quality do matter.
If those websites with relatively short articles are getting ranked, I think it is not because of the article itself but some other factors are in effect in the ranking. They may be promoting the posts and attracting visitors from social medias. They may be socializing with other bloggers in the niche and building backlinks from their sites. Or, they may be receiving lots of comments and since comments are considered to be part of the content, it is as if your content are getting longer over time as you receive more comments, let alone Google values the engagement on your website. These things can affect your ranking as well.
One positive aspect of having plenty of posts, even though they are short, is that your website is going to be open for more keywords. So your site will be discovered by more readers. However, if those readers came to read your post and concluded it was not very informative, then they will click away and never come back right? Creating repeated visitors is indispensable for your online success and I doubt if short contents would contribute to that.
I am still experimenting ranking with this website, so when I learn more about what is affecting my post ranking I will definitely share it with you here 🙂 Thank you Stefan for this question, and report back how your website is doing. Take care!
Thank you so much Yuko! I always aim for 1500 words and then always end up with 2000… I think also more important than quantity is quality. Because if I am reading something and I realize it is all there to make volume, then I don’t lose my time and quit the website. Now, if paragraph after paragraph I can learn new things and it is engaging, I will definitely read until the end. Your articles are classical examples of quality content.
I will try my best to write more articles, but never lose quality!
Thanks a lot and good luck with this website, I think it has everything to be a success!
If you aim at 1500 words and can end up with 2000 words, you are a natural writer, Stefan. I am sure you can strive for both quality and quantity!
Another thing I have noticed is that I usually feel more of the personality of the writer in a longer article. It is hard to get a feel of what kind of person the writer is in an article with 600 words, so to speak. Building trusts within readers toward you is vital for your website success and I feel shorter contents wouldn’t contribute in that respect much either. People would naturally take more time if they truly wish to help others right? I think your readers can feel that in your contents.
After all, trust is the foundation in any business and there is no shortcut to building it. I am sure you will be very successful and I cannot wait to hear your success story in the very near future! Thanks for dropping back and take care Stefan. 🙂
I have been working very hard to monetize my blog site. It is very obvious that I have done it all wrong. I have been struggling to learn SEO and came to a few sites and they have different opinions and tips. Those sites confused me a lot. Neither of them really helped.
Thanks for sharing this post, after reading through, I think I can start off with the simple SEO on choosing the right keywords with the aids of Google Search Engine. I do think those suggested keywords should work as a free tool! Do you know any paid keyword research tool that works fine for you?
I too used to view SEO as rather a complicated matter but through experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that it really comes down whether my post is helpful for readers or not. People naturally respond to sincerity and Google values that. Those blog posts I wrote just to post quickly went down deep to the bottom of ranking and those I have written with a genuine intention to help people stay up in the first few pages.
Keywords play a crucial part to let Google know what your intentions are. If you do not mind investing less than $20 a month, I highly recommend a tool called Jaaxy. It is an online tool that you can access from any devices as long as you are online, and does a wonderful job to indicate what keyword would best help your blog for higher rankings. Jaaxy has helped me tremendously with my blog rankings. I explained how it helps you in this blog if you are interested. Hope it helps 🙂
Just like your self i was clueless when it came to SEO and what it really meant. I think this is a great article for beginners new to the blogging world and really should take into consideration the general tips you have offered. Thank you for the great post 🙂
P.s for keyword research what programs would you recommend?
Hi Vinnie Prasad,
Thank you for the comment and I am glad you found the article helpful 🙂 For keyword research, I have been using the keyword tool Jaaxy from the very beginning and I now cannot run my business without it. It is so easy to use even for newbies and does its job wonderfully for someone like me who has been blogging for a while. You can read my review on Jaaxy here.
Best of luck to you, Vinnie!