...and welcome to this explanation of what SEO is. SEO stands for "search engine optimization", which is the process of increasing your website traffic through the power of search engine rankings. Before we jump into a break down of SEO's main areas, it's important to understand how search engines work and rank websites. This video explains it well: What is Search Engine Optimization/SEO?
With a little more understanding on how search engines function and knowledge of their search algorithm, we can discuss four (4) important aspects on becoming successful through the use of SEO.
Keyword research is one of the most important elements when attempting to increase your traffic through SEO. If you aren't sure what keywords/keyword phrases people are using when coming to Google, then you're wasting your time. There are many ways to research keywords within your industry and know which ones are valuable and worth the time optimizing for. An easy way to find potential opportunities when hunting for the best keywords is to look at the Google Keyword Tool. This tool helps you determine competition for keywords and keyword phrases as well as how many global/local monthly search queries it has. Once you have narrowed it down the the primary keywords you think will be beneficial to you, it's time to move to On-Page Optimization.
When I think of "On-Page Optimization", there is one word that sticks out, and that is content, content, and even more content! The best way to get your website ranked on Google is to write content and lots of it. Generating lots of content gives you more opportunities to use your keywords, if you talk about the keywords your going after then odds are you'll start to show up in the search rankings. Just be careful you don't start spamming your keywords as that is called "keyword stuffing" and you could easily get docked for that from Google. What it all boils down to, is Google wants good content that really answers the question that searchers are looking for. If it's good content it will encourage searchers to share it, interact with it, comment on it, etc, which Google LOVES!
Off-Page Optimization can get tricky because search engines are always changing their search algorithms. Not to long ago Google rolled out an update called "Penguin" which effected millions of websites rankings. It mainly focused on penalizing websites that were taking advantage of "link building". Today, many people associate "link building" as a negative and tend to stir clear of. I'm here to tell you that you shouldn't stir clear from it, you just need to be smart about it. Google didn't like people taking advantage of "buying links" and "link farming", however if you can EARN links by having good content that people want to share, then you're definitely on the right track for off-page optimization. Along with earning high quality links, other off-page optimization can include writing quality off-page articles explaining your services, products, etc, focusing on a social media strategy to get likes, shares, followers, etc up, and map-listing optimization. When you have dedicated time to keyword research, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization then you'll need somehow to evaluate your efforts. That's when you move to tracking and analytics.
Tracking & Analytics
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a big aspect of online marketing and like all marketing campaigns, you need to be able to evaluate your efforts to see if what you have been doing is working or if you need to readjust your efforts to effectively an efficiently obtain your online marketing goals. To do this, its best to track your rankings and document your changes to analyze what you do and how it effects the ranking. Where can you get statistics and analytics in regards to your website traffic? The best place is always the source, Google Analytics. Google Analytics needs to be installed on your site from the get-go so you can have a history of tracking analytics that you can reference each time you come back to evaluate your online marketing goals.
Understanding how search engines function is critical to put an SEO campaign together, and using keyword research, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and tracking/analytics, are broad categories that all play a major role in being successful online. Of course each of these categories can be narrowed down further, and further, which all add up to the overall effort of search rankings. SEO is a long and tiresome process, which is why at MonsterWeb we are here to help you through it. Check out our SEO packages or give us a call for online marketing advice!