Search Engine Optimization is the fancy term nowadays. It creates havoc in the minds of new webmasters. The frequent release of new algorithm updates by Google (Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, etc) did not help the cause. This panic had been cleverly used by people to extract money from confused people in the form of SEO tutorials, SEO guides, SEO firms, etc.
What exactly is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of building websites properly. Don’t drop your jaws; it is nothing more than that.
How to build a website properly?
An exhaustive list of the proper ways to build a website is beyond the scope of the present article. However, the following are the most important ones to take care of:
- A properly built website is one that assumes that every user who visits the website is a child and had to be taken care of like a child. This would mean that the pages should have a proper heading, every aspect of the page should be properly labeled, there should be a list of all pages on the site (sitemap), the information should flow in a logical manner, etc. These steps ensure that search engines understand how things on the site are related to each other.
- A properly built website is a structurally marked one. This means that every aspect on the site is marked with proper html tags. This ensures that your website is properly rendered in different browsers and your content is properly understood by search engines. This would include marking up your content with schema.org markups, using proper html tags (eg:<address> to indicate address) etc.
- A properly built website will have the best possible content on the topic. This means that whatever you put on your website, it should be the best in terms of quality. People search the web for a purpose. They are looking for information. As anything sub-par in quality won’t satisfy you, it won’t satisfy anybody else as well. Search engines have various ways to determine whether content is good or not. One of this is backlinks. If your content is awesome, people will share it, link to it, bookmarks it, and will come back for it. Google says that the best indicator that they have regarding the quality of the content is the backlink profile. If your content is good, people will link to it, naturally. There is nothing called as “link building”. People around you are supposed to build links for you, and it is your duty to provide them with something worthy to link to.
- A Properly built website will be fast. This means that the speed of a website is a direct indicator of the quality of code, and the quality of hardware that is running your website. Search engines have a fixed time for a website, when they come to index. A faster website will mean more pages being indexed in a short period of time. This ensures that your content is on search results as early as possible.
It should be noted that the changes in the search engine algorithm does not change the way search engines understand content. It only changes the way spam is detected, and it is getting progressively better at it. Making your website better should be your aim, and getting search engine traffic should not be, as the latter is more likely to involve spam. Anything spammy will be caught-if not now, then later. The only future proof way of optimizing your website for search engines is creating a properly built website in the first place. Creating a website first and search engine optimizing it later is wrong, as they are the same things, in the first place. As a final advice, don’t fall prey to those people who promise you first place in Google’s rankings in one month, as they either don’t do anything other than the five points mentioned above, or they use spammy techniques that are likely to do more harm than good.