This is a guest post by Ashley Lichty, an SEO copywriter for ProspectMX, a web marketing company that provides SEO services to companies of all sizes on a nationwide level.
Whenever I run into friends or family I haven’t seen in a while, they inevitably ask: “So what are you doing now?”
Answering “I’m an SEO” draws blank stares. Expanding on that by saying, “It means search engine optimization specialist,” only makes their eyes glaze.
Eventually I developed an explanation that made sense to both the internet-savvy and the hopelessly lost. Basically, SEO is doing things that help search engines know what your website is about so they can show it in their results pages for relevant search terms (or keywords).
To make it even less painful: SEO is how you make your website found on the web.
Why do SEO? Well, what’s the point of having a website if people can’t find it? The best part of SEO is that once the initial work is done, it just takes a little maintenance over time and you’ve got free traffic for years.
The main things involved in optimizing your website are:
Keyword research lets you discover what words people use when searching for things relating to your industry. Google’s free keyword suggestion tool is a personal favorite of mine.
On-page optimization involves choosing one to three keywords to use when optimizing each page of your site. Then, work these phrases into title tags, URLs, internal links (within the anchor text), and content, so the search engines know what your site is about.
Link building is probably the most important aspect of SEO. Search engines count the number of inbound links you have as “votes” in your favor. The more sites link to yours, the more authoritative your site looks to the search engines. An important aspect of this is ANCHOR TEXT! You want the site to link to you using your preferred keyword phrase as the anchor text.
Social media participation is about getting out there in various forums, blogs, and social networks in your industry. It also requires getting involved in the community, getting known, and becoming a productive online member of your industry.
Of course, Google has thrown a wrench into the works with the introduction of its universal search model. Google has begun integrating not just websites into its search results, but images, video, news stories, products, and other types of content.
That means you have to optimize your site, your content, your images, videos and so on so they have a chance of ranking. (You can check out my company’s Universal Search Chart to learn a little more about that.)
For more SEO help, check out A Beginner’s Guide to SEO and SEOBook’s Search Engine Marketing Glossary.
Like this post? Subscribe by email!