SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, SEM, SEO Guide, SEO and Internet Markeing
SEO in nutshell
There's little in Internet marketing circles that gets talk about (and anguished about!) more than search engine optimization, or SEO. At its core, SEO is a pretty simple concept - it's basically the process of trying to make your websites rank better in search engine results for certain keywords. If you can rank highly for a popular keyword, you will get much more traffic to your site, and therefore make more sales, or sell more advertising.
There are numerous factors that affect SEO. Google, as the most popular search engine, pretty much sets the standard for how web pages are found online. The trouble is, they don't exactly tell everyone exactly how their search engine works. If they did, the first people who would take advantage of it would be spammers, and all your results in Google would be nonsense sites just trying to sell you stuff!
SEO always starts with keyword research. Keyword research is basically the process of finding keywords relevant to your site that are both popular (i.e. lots of people search for them) and not too competitive (so you're not competing for words that are, at least at the moment, 'out of your league').
Types of SEO
There are mainly two types which I describe in detail below:
On Page SEO
On-page SEO involves doing things to your actual website and web pages to make it more attractive and visible to search engines. On-page SEO includes things like making sure your keyword is in the H1, title tags and meta tags and description. While some of these things aren't as important as they used to be it's certainly worth doing them if you want to cover all your bases.
Off Page SEO
Off-page SEO seems to becoming far more important - primarily because while people can put whatever they want on their own website, when someone else links to that site, it is seen as far more reliable and treated as a 'vote' of sorts towards that page's content and relevance. Think of it this way - anyone can rave about their own stuff, but someone else raving about it makes you pay far more attention! Off-page SEO involves doing things that aren't actually on your website, but will nevertheless help you with your rankings - like getting links from other sites.
There are many ways to build links, some better than others. Ideally you want websites that are relevant to your niche to be linking to you because you have great content or interesting articles. In the next post we'll cover link building in greater depth.
Free SEO Resources
Here are some great resources for getting started with SEO:
Last Few Words on SEO
SEO is a really expansive topic that can take time to learn. Your best bet is to read as much as you can and put in the time. The one thing I would warn you of is that there are plenty of people out there claiming to offer overnight success in SEO. These 'rank in Google for anything' ads are either scams or spammers. Nothing will get you up in rankings and keep you there overnight. It takes time and effort, so don't believe it when people try to sell you an easy way out.