SEO can be a pretty complex thing to understand and even though I’ve worked online for several years, I am still constantly learning things about search engine optimization. For a long time I only used some of the more simplistic methods to help my online businesses and I only got lukewarm results. It wasn’t until I really put some effort into learning how to optimize my websites and content that I started to see real success and getting people to actually read what I had written.
Simply put, SEO is just a way to get search engines to recognize your content and help people to find your website. Some of the methods are pretty simple and some are more complex and some are just theories of mind that are not yet proven yet make sense to me logically. But that is another story for another day.
Think of your website as a cardboard box just like all the other cardboard boxes out there on the internet. Sure, your box is special to you. You would know it anywhere because you created it. You could find your website because you know where it is. The general public is walking around without the knowledge that your website even exists though. SEO is the sign on the outside of the box telling what’s inside as well as signs on the internet telling people and search engines about your website.
There are actually to different kinds of SEO. One concerns what you do with your website and what is on the outside of that box. This is called on page search engine optimization. Different things we do with a site include header tags that we use, titles of the pages and even the name of the website is very important in your success in ranking a website well when it comes to a certain topic. How many times a certain word is included in your site also plays a key role also.
There are many on site or on page factors that tell a search engine what your website is about. While at one time it was possible to almost trick the search engines into believing that your website had more authority concerning a certain topic, the rules of the game are constantly changing and effective SEO methods need to have a balance of useful information as well as including as many of the signals as possible without making it look like you are trying to game the system.
As I said before, off site or off page SEO is like signs on the internet pointing to your website telling everyone where your website is and what topics your site is about. Methods of off page SEO include article marketing, social bookmarking, pinging and various other street signs or little advertisements that point to your site.
Again, once upon a time it was possible to game the system and trick people and search engines into believing that your site held some sort of special authority over others concerning a certain topic but without good content and natural appearing SEO, you can actually do damage to your reputation. It would be like hanging a sign that said “free beer” pointing to your website and then not have any beer at your place. You wind up with a bunch of angry people and perhaps a black eye for your trouble.
All of this is why it’s really important to know what you’re doing when it comes to SEO or to have someone with some experience on your side. The rules change constantly and you need someone with some solid experience and first hand knowledge of what to do when things turn south and what can actually help your website and your business day in day out, month in and month out.