SEO and You

In this post I’ll explain why SEO matters and how to implement good SEO practices.

Your website is Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Your target audience is Demi Moore. Demi can’t see your website, she doesn’t even know where to look but she desperately needs to know what your website has to tell her. Your website needs to get Whoopi Goldberg on board. Whoopi Goldberg is a search engine. This metaphor is strained but my point is your website needs to get the search engines to pay attention to it before the search engines will tell your target audience about it.

Otherwise it’s just another angry poltergeist in the subway.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Optimizing a website for search engines increases the likelihood of search engines directing traffic to your website for the right reasons. Of course, I’m talking about legitimate SEO practices and not shady practices to game the algorithms.

The more a search engine understands about your website, the easier it is for it to recommend your site to users in the search results. Organic traffic from search engines results in higher conversion rates for goods and services because they are already in the market (and therefore researching via search engine.)

Search engines use algorithms to decide which sites are the most useful for a query (search term) and then list the sites in that order. In order to prevent shady practices from compromising the quality of the results search engine developers implement new algorithms, some algorithms are designed to filter out the return of bad results and some are designed to penalize websites or IP addresses or clusters of websites (resulting in what are called bad neighborhoods) joined together by linking schemes.

It’s never too early to start

The nice thing about SEO is that you can start implementing good SEO practices at any point in time, at any stage in development. If you’re starting fresh from scratch, your first step will be building a site and setting permissions that allow search engines to read and index your public content and installing a secure socket layer (SSL). If you’re working with an established site you’ll want to install SSL, clean up the site to remove any bad content that may harm your search engine rankings, label non-text content that search engines can’t easily read and then make sure that permissions are set to allow search engines to index the public content.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that great SEO is going to be more important than content.

Ultimately, as long as search engines are able to index a website, the most successful SEO tactic is to make a site interesting, accessible and useful to humans. Writing long (or short) form blog posts and articles isn’t for everyone.

Great content can be in the form of tables, infographics, images, games, apps, video or audio files. Label everything clearly and accurately for the benefit of both humans and search engines, organize content in a way that makes sense, and be consistent.

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