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SEO Basics for Beginners


It just occurred to me that I haven’t done a “basics” post about Search Engine Optimization.  This is an important lesson for beginning bloggers, so here it is.

I’m going to break this down really simply because we all have to start somewhere.  You can always skip ahead if you already know something.  This is intended for beginners and SEO “newbies”.

Search Engines  101

Search engines are websites like Yahoo, Bing and Google, and people use them to find websites.  The internet is huge, and it can be difficult for searchers to find what they are looking for.  It can also be difficult for people with websites or blogs to get traffic or visitors.

When you type in your search query on any of these search engines, they will display a list of results, these are called the “natural” or “organic” listings.  They will also display relevant ads on the side.

How it works

Search engines have special bots, called spiders, that are constantly “crawling” the internet.  They follow links and index the pages they find, which they store.

When someone enters a search, the search engine will look through all the sites they have and try to pull up the most relevant websites.

Relevancy is determined by the content on your page.  Search engines can look for relevant keywords, for example.  The importance of a website – which determines how high your website will appear in the organic listings – is based on how many other sites link to your website.

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way that website owners and bloggers design their blogs to help them list better in the organic listings.

Bloggers and web designers use specific keywords within their page titles, meta descriptions and content to help search engines better understand what their page is about.  This way they can make sure that their page will appear as relevant to search engine users looking for that topic.

Page title – this is what appears in the blue bar at the very top of the screen.

Meta description – this is a short paragraph about your site.  This paragraph will appear in the organic search results to describe what your website is about

Content – the actual writing on your page

For more information about ways you can optimize your site, you can read a previous post about how to use keywords to optimize your site.  Google also has a great SEO Starter guide (NOTE: this is a .PDF file) that can help explain how to use page titles and meta descriptions, as well as other aspects of optimization.

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