What SEO is:
SEO is short for “Search Engine Optimization”. Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website so it can rank higher and be found more easily on a search engine (such as Google).
Google, Bing, Yahoo…they are all search engines. Of course Google has become a “household name” like Kleenex (despite the brand name on the box you might say “can you pass me a Kleenex”). Therefore optimizing your website so Google can find it means other search engines will too.
How do the search engines work?
Now we get down to the confusing part. How do the search engines work?
The search engines use an algorithm to determine what ranks highest. The algorithm is just a set of “rules” that allow the search engine to decide what content best fits a person’s search query (aka the question or terms typed into the search bar).
How search engines find websites that match your search?
Let’s say you go to Google and type in “how to best smash a computer” (yeah…I know how you feel!). The search engine, Google for example, then goes “beep boop” and looks for websites that match that exact phase and/or the words.
But which ones are best? There is a lot of “not so great” content on the internet (because anyone can post anything), so Google needs a way to narrow down and rank the results.
Enter “ranking factors”.
Once Google has found a million websites that match your keywords and key phrases (probably an actual million or more?), it must decide the best ones to display to you. It does that by using the following ranking factors:
- Site Speed (is the website easy to use?)
- Mobile Usability (how well does it display on a mobile device, aka is it easy to use?)
- Site traffic (how much traffic does it get, aka are other people already finding this content useful?)
- Backlinks (are there links to other websites that can help determine if the content is relevant?)
- Is the content original and was it written by a real person (aka, Google is now weeding out fake content and content that was just copy and pasted from other sites to drive traffic)
and that’s it!
Google (aka the search engine) has just taken your question, looked for all websites that have those keywords, and then used ranking factors to determine the best options for you.
So how does that apply to your website?
When we talk about working on SEO, what we are referring to is making sure your website includes two things:
- You are using the same key words and key phrases on your website that your audience is using. For example, if your audience is searching for “how to best smash a computer”, you will definitely want to make sure that key phrase and similar words are included on your website pages, url slugs, page titles, and more.
- And, you want to make sure your website is optimized for those ranking factors. So, it needs to load fast, look good on a mobile device, have some links to other sites, have some regular traffic, etc.
If SEO is something you are interested in working on, I recommend downloading my free SEO guide that goes over this information a bit further (see the download option below). At the end of this downloadable guide there are more advanced steps for improving local SEO, as well as tracking and improving your SEO.