What is SEO? The Basics of the Basics

SEO word cloud

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is important to companies to bring more people to your website. Search engines lead visitors to your website from relevant searches, and SEO helps maximize these connections.

An SEO Timeline

How did SEO even begin? It first originated in the early 1990s with the world’s first website and continued its birth for the next decade. Excite was the first search platform, followed by Yahoo and later Google. Each engine continued to simplify the big bad world of data. It was easy to manipulate search engines at this time, but Google began to see opportunities for the future.

In 2003, Google began optimizing search engines by improving the value and relevancy of results. Local SEO began in practice to provide users accurate information regarding maps, locations, and more. Ethical practices were encouraged by Google even in the early days.

After a few years, Google began to encourage real-time search results promoting content media with Universal Search. In 2008, Google Suggest made SEO even more targeted for users. In 2010, Google continued to become stricter as the clear leader in search engines. Social media began to alter search results, prompting the creation of Google+.

Currently, privacy and personalization are coming into conflict around SEO. While digital marketers want to create the most customized experience for visitors, users want to maintain their privacy and not have search engines read their minds completely. Still, content must be personalized with quality content to be competitive.

While Google is not the only search engine, it dominates the industry. 65% of searches are Googled, followed by 20% done with Microsoft and 13% with Yahoo. Google likes to keep it clean, though, so they constantly change the algorithm to keep searching as authentic as possible. This ensures ethical practices within digital marketing and keeps it fair between sites that actual deserve the highest rankings.

Basic Optimization

In addition to high-quality content, search engines also rank sites by how visitors engage with your site, loading speed and mobile ease, and the amount of unique content. Sites with higher retention rates are ranked higher than sites that lead users to return right back to their search query.

Keywords are crucial in optimizing your site. What will your targeted visitors be searching to find you? It is also important to research your selected keywords and ensure they are deriving the desired results. More than just comparing to competitors, you want to check on search volume and relevance regarding your target keywords. Keywords reside in more than just tags, too. On-page optimization includes title tags, meta descriptions, body content, alt attributes, url structure, schema, as well as markup.

Information architecture is also crucial in SEO. It is best to avoid flat information architecture; you want to provide the most linked-to pages. By having your most important search pages ranked high in your personal information architecture, search engines will rank your own information higher. Make sure you also avoid header responses, such as 404 errors. If your pages have been relocated, do not hold on to them. You want to help your visitors find desired content, not frustrate them. It is easy to overlook issues like this, redirects, and duplicate content, but you want to prevent any difficulty in accessibility. Even just a few unnecessary clicks can prod users to return to their original search, losing your audience. After all, your website is for others.

Once you begin to figure out your own SEO, how do you measure your results? Rank your keywords and record your organic traffic and leads. Analytics from the web are never perfect, so there can be flaws in your tracking. Lifetime value metrics can be tricky, so consider your organic users.

Past traditional SEO, there is also international and local cases as well as search engines within  app stores. These all provide important insights, depending on your particular industry and target audience. Be open-minded and think outside the box. Reverse engineering can help improve your users’ experiences and continue to improve your rankings.

SEO is constantly evolving, and this is an only an overview. Continue to follow our blog for the basics, the latest, and more.

 

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4 thoughts on “What is SEO? The Basics of the Basics”

  1. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your site and in depth information you offer.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material.
    Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and
    I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    Like

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