Here is a guide, a sort of SEO 101, for anyone out there who may be thinking "what's SEO?"
Introduction to SEO - Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term used to describe the activities and actions taken by website owners in order to increase their page's rankings in search engines, usually for particular keywords. The goal of search engines is to return the best and most relevant content to their users (people performing searches). Search engines strive to answer a user's question (searches) with the best, most relevant information it can find in its index. This is why you need to make sure that the content on your page is "optimized" for what the majority of people looking for your product would be searching for.
Search engines use many, many factors in determining which pages to show and how those pages rank for different searches.
The basic way that search engines work is:
Search engines can tell what content is on a page and what that page links to. Spiders index pages and follow links to find new pages; they then repeat the process over and over again. Search engines then use that data to build their index and it is that index that is used in displaying results to searches.
The two main categories of factors that website owners can influence to increase their page rankings are off-site optimization and on-site optimization.
Off-site optimization is, very generally, acquiring links to your website from other sources. Search engines look at a link out to a website as a sort of "vote" for that site being linked too. S website that has hundreds or thousands of people linking to it will be viewed as a better resource than a website that has none or only a few links to it. Acquiring links is important and should be done by creating unique, quality content that people genuinely want to link to. There is a lot of talk about "paid links" in the SEO world, in general paying somebody to link to you is against many search engines’ guidelines and can be grounds for a penalty.
On-site optimization is, in general, is writing good, keyword related content, and optimizing your title and meta tags to accurately describe what the page is about. This is very important to website owners for two main reasons. First, website owners have control over their own pages (as opposed to links on other people's pages). Second, search engines want to provide good results for searches and the content of a website is a big part of that.
On-site optimization starts with content. Search engines want to return the results their users are looking for and a big part of that is having that content on your page. For example, if somebody searches for "custom birthstone earrings" and a web page has those words in its title and in its content, there's a good bet that a search engine will rank that page higher than a page optimized for "birthstone necklaces and earrings." Even though both pages will talk about birthstone earrings, one is what the user is searching for and one is only similar to the search. ***One of the most important things to think about when writing content, titles, and meta tags is "How would somebody looking for what I'm selling search for it in a search engine?" Using written content, titles, and meta tags to accurately describe what you are selling is an important step for your SEO.
To finish up, here is a short guide to some of the terms and basic search engine lingo:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – activities and actions taken by website owners to increase their rankings and results in search engines for certain keywords or phrases.
SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – the listing of web pages returned by a search engine for a certain keyword search.
Index (As in Google's Index) – the database a search engine draws from when trying to answer a user’s query (search). The database is built by "spiders" or automated bots that seek out web page's and download the results so that the search engine knows what is on a page and can use that to answer a user’s query.
Title Tag – the tag inside of the tags for a websites source code. This tag is an important factor for search engines in determining the content of a page and therefore the relevance of that page to searches by their users.
Meta Tags –used at the head of a website’s source code, they convey information that may or may not be entirely relevant to a human visitor of the web page. Different meta tags are supported by different search engines. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most talked about tags:
- Meta Keyword Tags: these tags were widely used in the past as a way to tell search engines what keywords were important for a given website. Nowadays, most search engines give little to no weight to the contents of the meta keyword (especially if the keywords are not also found in the content of the page) but there is still debate as to whether or not this tag is used by search engines in ranking sites for search results. The best practice is to only include relevant keywords that are also in the content of the page and to not use and duplicate keywords.
- Meta Description Tags: these tags are very important from an SEO standpoint not for rankings but for click-through rates. When a user searches for a particular keyword or phrase, the websites that are returned have a brief description of the site underneath the title. If you use the Meta description properly you can have what YOU want said underneath your page's title. The description will only be used if the keyword searched for is also in that description, otherwise the search engine will pull some other more relevant "snippet" from the page that pertains to the particular search.
- Meta Author Tags: these tags simply describe who the author of a particular page is and who is responsible for it.
Please refer to our other SEO guides for more information on understanding and improving your studio SEO:
Dark Ridge Creations
Jewelry, Chain Maille, Beads and Supplies.