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Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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Basic Information about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, basically, optimizing a site so that it can be more easily found in natural search results on search engines like Google.

There is on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

Off-site SEO mostly relates to many links on other sites pointing to your site. The more links you have pointing towards your site, the more Google views your site as an “authority” site, and gives it better search results for various phrases contained in the text of the site.

These links from other sites count even more if they are links on phrases that contain words that relate to the content on your site, and also count more if the sites you are linking from are related to your own site, have a good page rank, are fairly old, and don’t have too many outgoing links. It is also believed that 10 good links from good related sites count more than 100 links from sites that are not viewed as “authority” sites.

On-site SEO relates to preparing your site’s text and meta in the best way that you can, in order to “please” search engines.

When somebody types a phrase into a search engine like Google when they’re looking for information, Google shows search results that have descriptions containing that same phrase or part of it.

This happens because a site has that phrase in its text. Google matched everything up in order to give its users a good search (and find) experience.

Many sites have the same phrase that somebody typed into the search bar of Google.Google is not going to give good search results to all sites – it can’t: there is only space for 10 natural search results positions per search result page. So what Google does is reward certain sites by giving those sites better search results than the rest.

If a site has the matching text content that Google’s users type into the Google search bar, some sites will get better search results than others due to, amongst many reasons, these few reasons:

• Having a lot of text content on their site.

• Having a domain name that matches the search phrase.

• Having repetition of that phrase on the site, but at the same time not too much repetition.

• Having text content of at at least 400 words per page.

• Having text content that appears nowhere else online.

• The age of the site.

• A page having meta title, meta description and meta keywords that match or relate to the content on the page.

• The site having title tags on its navigation menu tabs.

• The site having images with alt tags and title tags (that include the phrase somebody typed into Google)

• The site having internal links (links that go to other pages on the same site) in the main text area of the site.

• Those internal links having title tags that contain the phrase (or at least part of it) that somebody typed into Google.

• The site regularly having new pages of content added to it.

Sites that contain or do everything above, perfectly, stand a better chance at beating their competitors (getting better natural search result positions than their competitors) than sites that don’t contain or do everything above, perfectly.

Further:

Sites should target keywords and phrases that have search volume. Targeting means that there should be repetition of certain words and phrases in the text content of a site. The search volume that these words and phrases have refers to the amount of people on average each month that actually use that phrase when they search Google or other search engines for information.

A site full of text content containing phrases that nobody ever uses when they search Google won’t be found in natural search results. If people use other search phrases (phrases that don’t appear on that site) when they search Google, there is no reason for Google to give that site a search result for that phrase.

SEO can be a long, involved and expensive process, not to mention frustrating when a site is in a niche that many other people are also targeting on their site. Your SEO has to be better than their SEO for your site to get better natural search results. This is where website competitor analysis sometimes comes in handy. Check out what your competitors are doing, and then do better or more than they are doing.

Many SEO specialists don’t design websites, and many web designers don’t do SEO – although design can help with positioning of where the text is going to go, which is also important for SEO purposes, and although design and SEO can be somewhat related, they’re two different, and separate things.

If you want your site to be found on search engines and to get good natural search result positions, you need to target the words people use when they search for information on the Internet, and you need to do it better than your competitors are doing it.

© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2013

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