SEO – The Basics

We are now onto part two of the SEO Breakdown For Beginners, like me.  The first part highlighted the fact that I have very little knowledge in the search engine optimization department. It also highlighted the things we should NOT do when it comes to SEO’ing our sites. This week I wanted to go over the very, simple basics. What they (I like to use the word they in reference to some random internet people who know more than I) deem to be the starting steps or building blogs in the beginning stages of SEO.


1. What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization. Basically how well your site does when a person opens their browser, types in a particular search phrase (I blog about my life and family etc so we’ll use this for the example) – family blog, and where your site appears in the list of results shown for that phrase. Now mind you, because of your content (which we will discuss further soon) different posts, pages etc may show up for that particular phrase and not your “main page”.

2. How is SEO determined?

This is question I’m hoping to break down a little bit here. We’ve learned some very basics on what can negatively impact and altogether get your site nixed from search engine results (they call these SERP’s), but we haven’t quite pin pointed down what can positively impact it.

From my research, there are two variables in this outcome. The ones you as the site (blog) owner can control. And the ones you can NOT control. The search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc) have their own “ways” (they call them algorithms but that word is annoying) to determine things. Obviously you can’t control that. It’s like a baseball game. If you are the pitcher you can control your pitches, but you cannot control the weather and if the wind decides to blow your perfect fast ball right at the batter’s head. Pretty simple.

Obviously, the three major search engines I listed have various factors they determine to be valuable when ranking your site, but they do seem to all have some of the same things. Some of these factors include (definitely not limited to) are: keywords, links, content and structure of your site (architecture). All of these go extremely in depth with explanation and implementation and I will cover them to the best of my ability.

And last but not least –

3. Why is SEO important?

This was a big question for me. I understand to a point why it is good. The whole traffic, money, popularity thing. But to fully grasp the importance is to take a step back and understand what you are doing first. Do you want to just have an online journal, tweet with people occasionally and use your site (blog) as a hobby. I do. Let’s be honest though, I like to make money. OK, OK, I like money. Who doesn’t? People turn their hobbies or even drunken college dorm room nights into a financial opportunity. Time to embrace it right? Increased visibility with the help of SEO can help you reap the benefits in pocket lining type of way. So SEO done right = visibility = visitors (traffic) = popularity = cha ching! For the most part. So you decide, before following along any further, if you don’t really care or if you want a few extra bucks.

Next stop on the SEO Breakdown train? Keywords

In the mean time if you would like some casual (ha) reading:

Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (PDF Format)

SEO MOZ’s SEO Free Beginner’s Guide (PDF Available)