What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is a an art and a science that deals in making a specific website visible in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) of the Search Engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Blekko and others. (see below to learn more about SERPs)
According to some studies 95.91% of all clicks occur on Page #1 of the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). This tell us 2 important things.
1.) That being in page 1 is great for traffic
2.) That being in page 2 or more will do little or none to increase your traffic.
Although there are other factors that affect the number of visitors you have on your blog (like posting on social media sites like Facebook, forum posting or having referrals from other blogs), the 2 facts I mentioned above remain consistent.
White Hat or Black Hat Seo? What are these? Which is better?
To keep things simple, White Hat SEO is a natural process of getting higher rankings in the SERPS. This natural process is explained below.
Black Hat SEO is the act of MANIPULATING the Search Engine algorithms to rank well in the SERPS that violate the SEs Guidelines. It is, therefore, unnatural. Google frowns upon this and actually penalize websites that practice black hat SEO (if found out). I have personally experienced being penalizd by Google and it's not fun losing all those rankings.
FACT: Majority of the searches are done through Google. (This is why we generally talk about the Search Engine : Google)
In order to avoid being in all kinds of trouble with your rankings in the future, and also to avoid information-overload, I only recommend and talk about doing White Hat SEO.
For the record, I'm not saying that black hat or grey hat SEO do not work - they probably do. But the fact that google is continually updating itself to prevent spam or being manipulated, many black hat techniques that have worked once, no longer work today. In fact, many black hat SEO'd websites that used to rank well suffered terribly from the infamous Google updates. How long will we expect black hat techniques to work?
How do Search Engines Work? What do SEO practitioners do? White Hat
- Keyword Research
A SERP. I am searching for anything related to "smelly socks". At the
moment of writing,I have forgotten why I'm googling for this.
Click to Enlarge.
Search Engines will judge the relevancy of your website by "reading" the (1) Title Tag, (2) Description Tag and the number of times the keyword has been mentioned in the content or body -- also called (3)"Keyword Density". The body is your main content, you main block of text (example: this blog post)
In truth, especially on recent Google Updates, I don't really mind about keyword density too much. As long as your topic is truly relevant, the number of times you mention the keyword will naturally be more than any other irrelevant keywords. So I'm sure you won't rank well for the term 'Aliens' when your blog is about 'smelly socks'. The fact is that there are other factors that weigh far heavier; worrying about Keyword Density is completely unnecessary, in my opinion.
In this pic, I show Title Tag and Description Tag. Observe that the keyword is in bold letters.
The first thing that SEO practitioners mostly do to rank well is to choose a keyword that is not only RELEVANT to your website, but have (1) less competition in the search engines and have (2) a good number of searches per month.
Ranking page 1 for a keyword that nobody searches for does not really add much visitors. And optimizing for a term that has too much competition is terribly difficult to rank for, especially if your blog is not that well established.
So, how do we know if a keyword has less competition and has a good amount of monthly searches? You can use this free keyword research tool: Google Adword Research Tool
In our example, according to the tool, "smelly socks" has low competition (i.e. there are only a few websites optimizing for it, or few websites that are relevant to the term). Surprisingly, however, "smelly socks" has 9,900 global searches per month. That number is actually a good one. This would mean there will be 9,900 potential visitors you can sell or talk about smelly socks with when you get on page 1! (Perhaps you should make a blog about smelly socks!)
("Socks", however, is an example of a term has high competition and will be generally very difficult to rank well for.)
You can play with this Google Adword Research Tool to learn more about it.
- The Voting System
Let me start of with saying that, for White Hat SEO Bloggers, this is probably the most important and the most significant thing to know about. Yes, guys and gals, so pay attention.
Inbound links are links from other sites that point out to yours. This works exactly like a voting system. When many people refer to your site (or when they link out to your site), it is a signal to Google that your website is important or useful. This gives more authority to your website and google rewards this by giving you better rankings!
But how do you get more votes? I talk about that here, but the short answer to the question is: by having a content or blog that people will naturally link to because they found your content useful, entertaining, informative, awesome, fulfilling to read or funny or whatever. Get that and you have = WIN!
Was that all of it? Of course not, those were just the basics. But, in my opinion, this basic knowledge is enough to make blogs rank well especially in the latest Google Update where Google is much more strict, and any activity that may appear unnatural is immediately penalized.
Actually, I tried to optimize my old blog for the search term "Search Engine Invader". The term actually has ZERO monthly searches so I thought I'd get the number one spot like a boss.
I requested a bunch of friends to put a link of my blog in their blogs with the anchor text "Search Engine Invader". I also placed the same anchor text to websites that I was optimizing (so this was actually a vote up for my blog). In the end, I got penalized by Google and couldn't even find my site indexed in Google. In reality, it's almost impossible to have the same anchor text 100% for your keyword in all of your inbound links. Some anchor texts that occur commonly are "click here" or "here".
According to a friend of mine, instead of being a Search Engine Invader, I became a Search Engine Evader!
The trick here then is to APPEAR natural to the eyes of Google. This requires skill, knowledge and it's also risky. But for White Hat Bloggers, you just need to focus on your content and your readers.
- Search Engine Invader