If you ask most people what SEO is, they will give you the basic answer of SEO means Search Engine Optimization. However what does that really mean? What does it mean to optimization a website for search engines?
What is SEO?The so called SEO experts will tell you that search engines like Google and Microsoft Bing rate sites on a series of criteria, and based on how your site rates they will rank you accordingly inside the search engine result pages. According to the professionals,
SEO is the practice of understanding each of the criteria search engines rank you on, and ensuring your site meets as much of that criteria as is possibly can.
What is blackhat SEO?
The truth is there is no such thing as blackhat and whitehat SEO. Blackhat SEO is essentially doing things that are against the rules search engines have defined in order to gain better results and thus more unlimited free traffic. The trouble is Google has become the deciding factor for search engine traffic so they make all the rules. According to Google doing anything at all to manipulate your results is against the terms of service.
This means ANYTHING you do with the intent of getting better rankings, is actually against Google terms. However, as the internet has gotten bigger so has the problems search engines have to deal with. People found the biggest way to manipulate pages was to get a massive amount of backlinks to there website. Those who exploited this method, became known as blackhat SEO marketers. Google stopped worrying about the other types of manipulations and started focusing on getting rid of spam sites. They have tweaked there system over and over to help with the problem. Still it exists.
When Google catches a blackhat marketing website, that website is sandboxed in Google. Sandboxing is Google’s way of banning someones website. What they actually do is leave your site indexed, but make it so it won’t show up in any results.
It is said good SEO marketers are whitehat and are the true experts in the field. I question if any SEO marketer understands the system at all?
Are search engines constantly changing SEO methods?
The problem with what the experts tell you is that search engines are constantly updating and tweaking the criteria required for SEO. This means the practice of how to achieve good search engine result pages should be constantly changing.
However the truth is, its not changing as much as people want to believe. In fact I will go so far as to say, nothing has or can ever change about search engines as long as there is no direct human interaction.
A long time ago when SEO was first becoming a real business online, someone posted on Google and asked a question about optimizing a website. This was a time before Matt Cutts was working for Google, and before Google accepting any sort of optimization. Google told this person “You worry about marketing your website and let us worry about ranking your website.” Something to that effect.
That message is something I walked away with and I started thinking how such a thing could make sense. The more I thought about what Google is and what Google does, the more I realized just how simple the formula for SEO is. There is nothing complex about it. This is why home depot, office max, ebay, microsoft, and every other company stay on top without worrying about anything other than doing what they do. This is why they don’t have to change what they do to stay on top.
Its not about link count, although you can manipulate your results by exploiting this and getting a lot of links. Its not about what you type into your website, although you can do keyword ratio’s, and internal linking, and other such things to manipulate the results. Its not about buying results. In fact, if anyone had understood what Google said it would all make sense. And its simply impossible to ever go wrong understanding SEO.
So how is SEO really achieved?
Your search engine results page is based on your ability and efforts to market yourself. Its that easy.
If you own an offline business, would you only advertise on the radio? Would you only advertise on a couple billboards? Or would you try to use well rounded methods of marketing?
Now logically if you would do well rounded marketing offline, you should do well rounded marketing online. So what are the various methods of marketing?
First is article marketing. Article marketing is the practicing of writing up articles about the products or services you provide. There are hundreds of article directories online. By submitting articles to them you are giving other people permission to use your articles. This means even more change of people finding out about you.
Next along similar lines to article marketing, are press releases. Press releases come out for various reasons and based on what you are offering people on your website you can decide the type of press release you should make. It could announce the opening of a new business, it could be an in depth description of a new product you have added, it could be used for any number of reasons really.
After press releases, you should work on Guest blog posts. To be able to guest post on someones blog, first your work has to be familiar to them. They have to know who you are. This means you should engage blog owners via comments. This opens up communication that you will eventually use to make guest posts of blogs. This is the first really engaging type of marketing you need to learn to use.
Next you need to make yourself known in the social circles, especially if you are a new business. This allows you to gain trust among user while also allowing you to show off your expertise. The more engaging you are the more people will trust you and the more people trust you, the more they will share your business with others. Sites like facebook, twitter, linkedin, and google+ are great starting networks to get to know people.
You also need to share your links in social bookmarking websites. Social bookmarking websites allow you to share content with others while at the same time rating that content and telling your opinion. This allows you to share content similar to your website and mix with that your own links. As is the intent with any social network this allows you to brand yourself as a trusted source.
After all else is done, you should start to work on video’s that advertise your content. Add links to your website in your description as well as embedded in your video. Talk about your product, give people advice, get yourself known.
Now if you really care about your customer and are trying to advertise a quality business, you will also ensure your website uses proper grammar, uses headers on things you think are important to emphasize, use images, and otherwise make your content visually appealing.
Now it doesn’t matter if you know the first thing about search engine marketing or not. If you are seeking out every new method and place you can market with online, you are going to accomplish SEO at the same time and whats better is you don’t have to follow up on what the new practices are, because by the time any new practice is thought up, you are already doing it.
Notice this new article that came out only the day after I made this post.
“And the idea,” he says, “Is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit, so all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, ‘over-optimization’ or overly doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little more level. So that’s the sort of thing where we try to make the website…the Googlebot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adaptive, so the people who don’t do SEO, we handle that, and then we also start to look at the people who sort of abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on the page or whether they exchange way too many links, or whatever they’re doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area. So that is something where we continue to pay attention, and continue to work on it…we have several engineers on my team working on that right now.”