The New Guide to SEO for Newbie
Chapter 1: An Introduction to SEO – Still Kicking
If you want to get the maximum amount of profit from a website, then you need to get as much traffic as you can. If you want to get the maximum amount of traffic to your website, then you need to get to the top of Google.
And if you want to get to the top of Google, then you need SEO or ‘Search Engine Optimization’. Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a website so that Google will be more likely to index it and ensure that it ranks highly for the most relevant key words and phrases. For example, if you have a website the sells hats, then you might try to get it to rank for the phrase ‘buy hats online’. To do this, you would go through an optimization process that would involve both ‘on site’ and ‘off site’ strategies.
With any luck, you would eventually be able to get your website to the top of the SERP for that term (‘Search Engine Results Page’) and thereby attract a huge amount of traffic. More importantly, that traffic would not just be from random visitors but would rather be from specific people who are looking for hats. Better yet, those people will be looking for hats at the very point that they came to your website (why else would they search for hats?) which thereby means that they’re ready to buy and it should only take a small push to get them to make that decision.
SEO can be a slow going process but it is still possible to very reliably climb the ranks and to get your website to a point where it will start getting more and more organic traffic from searches.
How SEO Works
SEO essentially works by attempting to second guess the algorithms used by Google to decide which sites to index and where to rank them. Google works by using bots, an index and an algorithm. The bots,
also known as ‘robots’ or ‘spiders’, are small pieces of code designed to head out onto the web and
look for content. They read webpages and they add that content to a massive index, that Google can use
as a reference.
From there, Google will then use an algorithm to identify which content in that index is relevant to which search – and which is offering value to the end user. Ultimately, the aim of Google is to help people find interesting content that will be relevant to what they’re looking for.
This involves a lot of factors and the algorithm will look at how many links the content has, how visitors
behave on that website and the use of key phrases within the content. If a word or phrase is repeated often enough, then it is possible to deduce that said word or phrase is likely to be the subject matter –
and thus it should come up in searches for matching terms.
SEO basically works by predicting and guessing how the algorithm works (because no one can be
completely sure) and then using that information in order to engineer your website to get the maximum number of hits. It means gaming the system and this in turn can allow you to ‘trick’ Google into
believing that your site should be number one.
Of course it’s not quite that simple though and actually, as we dig deeper, we’ll see that there are other
ways of looking at SEO that are more efficient. Apart from anything else, Google is constantly updating its algorithms (usually with words beginning with ‘P’ like Penguin, Panda and Pigeon) and that means
that second guessing Google can get you into trouble.
Being effective at SEO means having an up-to-date understanding of how it works and it means knowing the core principles that underlie the different strategies. That’s where this book comes in. Read on and you’ll learn which old, outdated strategies you need to avoid, how to work with Google to get the very
best results and how to future-proof your site for upcoming changes.
This is the modern guide to SEO for modern marketers and site owners. This is your SEO bible and your key to unlocking incredible success on the web!
Chapter 2: SEO – What it Used to Mean
We’re going to start this book with a little history lesson.
Why? Because understanding how SEO used to work, how it has progressed and what you now need to avoid is a very good way of creating context and helping you to understand what SEO means today.
When SEO was first born, Google’s algorithm was a lot simpler and manipulating it to your own ends
was a lot easier as a result. Back then, Google looked at two key factors in determining its rankings.
Those factors were:
Your links profile (also called ‘backlinks profile’) is essentially determined by how many links you have
pointing at your website, coming from other sites. This serves two important roles. Firstly, links help Google’s robots to find your website. Bots ‘crawl’ the web by reading content and following links from
one site to another. If you have a link on a site that Google has already indexed, then this will allow it to
find yours and add it to the network.
At the same time, Google views links as testimony – assuming that a website would only link to another
website if it though that said website was good and had something valuable to offer its users. Google
would also assume that if you have links from 20 websites about hats, then your site is probably going to
be about hats as well (especially if the anchor text has your search phrase in it).
The other factor was keyword density. Keyword density meant how many times your website would
repeat the words that you were trying to rank for. The more content you had and the more often you
repeated the same phrase throughout that content, the more likely you would ultimately be to get
ranked for that search term and to show up high in the SERPs.
Of course it was also important to research the keywords and to make sure that they were actually being searched for. For this, marketers could use Google’s keyword research tool in order to check the
volume of searches and to get an idea of how much competition was there. A savvy optimizer would be able to then look at the terms that had the highest search volumes and lowest amount of competition –
and then try to rank for those phrases specifically.