SEO – The Rundown
SEO is one of the most powerful ways to make profit with the Internet. However, many people do not understand what SEO really is. To be clear, SEO stands for search engine optimization. These are just big words that mean getting the first slot in search engine rankings with a proper strategy. When someone types a keyword, there are consistent factors that decide which site is listed first. Optify conducted a study that found an average of about 42% of all people go for the first result in a search engine while only about 12% click the second result. With a keyword search that has 10,000 searches per month, this is equivalent to about 4200 views per month. If only 1% of these viewers bought something with a five dollar profit margin, first place would be worth $210 per month or about $2500 per year. This is a very substantial sum of money considering that a site can be sustained at this range with under two hours of work per week. That’s about $26 an hour for what is the equivalent of the “shallow end” of the search engine.
SEO – What it Takes
SEO is a very intentional practice. There certain things search engines want to see in a site in order for it to achieve a high ranking for specific keyword. These are all very simple, and the only difficult part of SEO is dealing with competition.
Backlinks are like “brownie points” for websites. Whenever one website links to another website, that is an indicator to search engines that people are expressing interest in that site. These links can have anchor text, which are words that the user sees before they click the link. An example of this would be a link that said “Google” that linked to http://www.google.com. If a site is consistently linked back with the anchor text “Google,” it will be given higher priority by the search engine’s algorithm for that keyword. These links all have different quality levels based on the type of site that is doing the linking. It’s easy to create lots of links on a forum, so search engines will often provide much less value for backlinks generated in this way. In contrast, it’s fairly difficult to get backlinks from a high-profile “.edu” domain, and these are subsequently valued highly.
On Page Keyword Usage
Using keywords on the page that is being linked to is also critical for proper SEO. A search engine needs to see that the site is talking about the keyword in order to be sure that it matches their viewers interests. If it doesn’t, it will prefer sites that have the keywords.
In addition, search engines are wary of sites that use the keyword too much as this is considered “stuffing” the page, which is the SEO equivalent of cheating. It’s also fantastically helpful to include the keyword in “H1” html tags to emphasize that the page is dedicated to the keyword and to include the keyword in the meta tags of an image or two on the page.
Social Media Integration
One of the most rapidly growing factors in SEO is social media. Google+, Facebook and Twitter are all now very real factors for getting a higher rank in search engine results pages. The social media equivalent of backlinks are the “+1” for Google, the “Like” for Facebook and the “Retweet” for Twitter. It’s easier to fake these, so they aren’t as valuable as backlinks, but their presence is becoming more and more necessary with each passing year. It was very likely that a site could have no presence on any of these sites and rank highly for important keywords back in 2008, but now it’s rare to see. One of the lesser known reason for this is that legitimate entities get lots of use out of social media, so it can make an establishment seem sketchy if they don’t have them.
With quality content and the above factors in mind, any site can reach the top rank of search pages for low or medium competition keywords in time. Age of a site is a factor, but younger sites also have the potential to achieve top ranks due to the viral nature of the Internet.
Search engines have to account for the fact that sites can become rapidly popular in a short amount of time. Even with that said though, it’s a good idea to have a site consistently generate backlinks and social media presence for two to six months before deciding whether or not it will be a success. There’s enough information about SEO floating around the internet to fill a few thousand books, but the above factors are more than enough to get a site off the ground.