For those of you who have just started wondering why and how Google ranks websites, what Google is about or simply how to make your website number one on the list when it comes to search results for particular keywords, I am sure that you have heard of these terms: “site optimization”, “page rank”, “page authority”, and most importantly, the letters S-E-O.
So, what is SEO?
Before we get down to the details, let us first define SEO. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the practice of increasing a website’s traffic by means of organic and free search engine listings. One of its primary objectives is to improve a website so that it lands on the first results page of search engines and eventually gain authority in its specific industry.
SEO Jargon 101
Now that we have defined what SEO is, let us now get into the SEO lingo. Listed in alphabetical order, here are some terms you will have to familiarize yourself with before going deeper into the SEO world:
- Anchor Text. This is a set of words in an article, post or page which links to other pages, leading the visitors to more information. It is important that links point to relevant content so that your website’s ranking will improve. It is also important to place your links in words, phrases or sentences that are naturally part of the article and really relevant to the site or page you are linking to.
- Authority. This is what your website will be rewarded with if you make it user friendly and filled with contents that are relevant, evergreen and of high quality. Making your site a credible and trusted source of information will make other sites link to yours, adding up to your site’s credibilit.
In a nutshell, site authority is usually determined by the quality and range of the site’s contents, by how long the domain has been in existence, the relevance of its contents and links, and its credibility and endorsements from among other sites in the industry.
- Backlinks. This is what you call the links from other websites to yours. In short, they are incoming links, and they do not include your links directing to other pages of your site. Backlinks are highly encouraged because they help build up your site authority, especially if the websites linking to yours are also authority sites.
- Bounce Rate. A term you’ll often encounter in the analytics realm, bounce rate refers to the instances when people go to a page on your website and leave almost immediately. Such user behavior can imply that the content of the page is not relevant or interesting to the user, or is simply not what the user needs.
- Conversion Rate. This refers to the percentage of users who visit your site and complete a certain action, be it sales, referrals, blog or newsletter subscriptions, downloads, completion of inquiry forms or sign-ups.
- Keywords. These are words or phrases that people enter in search engines when they are looking something up. Once the user hits enter, the search engine scours the Web for the best possible results that match those keywords.
- Meta Tags. These tags are part of the webpage’s header describing what the page is all about. They help search engines in indexing your page.
- Page Rank. As one of the indicators of a webpage’s relevance, quality and authority, it shows how important a page is by means of numerical grading. This numerical grade or rank is determined through an algorithm for link analysis developed by Larry Page and has become one of Google’s main criteria for search rankings
- SEM. The acronym for Search Engine Marketing, SEM entails utilizing the search engines to market products and services.
- SERP or Search Engine Results Page. It contains the list of links to sites containing information that the search engine deems relevant to your search or inquiry. Belonging to the first batch or page of results indicates that you are a highly relevant website based on the posted query. SEO is a way to get to the top page of the SERPs.
- Title Tag. This tag contains the name or title of your webpage. Search engines also consider this in search rankings, so make sure your pages’ title tags are relevant to their respective content, and that they contain the posts’ primary keywords.
- Web Crawlers. The job of web crawlers is to peruse all possible webpages for indexing purposes and discovering links. They are also called spiders or bots.
- XML Sitemap.The XML Sitemap contains all the links your website has and aids the spiders to crawl your website easier. When search engines gain a good view of what your website has in store, they will find it easier to present you on SERPs.
Supplementary SEO Sites
Now that you’re armed with basic SEO vocabulary, it’s time to learn where you can find significantly useful content that can help you traverse the industry.
- SEOMoz (www.seomoz.org). Owned by SEO tycoon Rand Fishkin, SEOMoz offers pretty much everything you will probably need to know about SEO. A company based in Seattle, SEOMoz plays host to the liveliest SEO community known in the online world. Some of their best works on SEO for beginners are featured in these links: http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo and http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-beginners-guide-to-seo-version-two.
- Quick Sprout (www.quicksprout.com). A great pick from the handful of flourishing websites about SEO and more, Quick Sprout provides generous helpings of invaluable SEO knowledge. Founded by entrepreneur by heart and eventual SEO magnate Neil Patel, Quick Sprout offers a complete rundown of important SEO topics that will help you navigate the industry better. Check out some of his work throughthis link: http://www.quicksprout.com/2010/09/21/the-seos-handbook-53-resources-for-first-time-seos/.
Ready, Get Set, SEO!
This is the way I learned SEO. I got into the basics first before diving into its depths, and I’d suggest those who are just starting had better do the same. It did open my eyes to how Google operates and how SEO plays a big part in everything found online. It has also opened a lot of opportunities for me, especially when it comes to business.
Do you have tips or other good reads to share? Write a comment below and let’s help each other get to know this dynamic world even more!