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SEO Basics October 21, 2007

Posted by Zac in SEO.
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As you can see there is a little bit of a theme on these first few posts as we figure out blogging and the likes, that being getting back to the basics.

Most people would give you volumes about the Basics of SEO but I am just going to outline what I think are some of the most important aspects of the industry and why its important.

The first point which is practically a given but most people don’t think that much about is the importance of search engines. Can anyone even imagine what the internet would be like without them? It sounds painful and frustrating to me so their shear importance to the space is the first point that people need to understand. No matter what search engine you prefer or what you are looking for everyone wants relevant results to help them find what they are looking for. On top of this there are literally billions of websites that could be returned for searches through search engines which simply adds to the complexity. At its core SEO is simply about trying to get search engines to properly index and rank a website. The better the site, the better the ranking for related terms and most of the time people simply don’t understand what makes a “better” site. The fact of the matter is that if you simply optimize for search engines and leave users out in the cold no one will want to use the website, likewise if you forget about search engines it will be extremely hard for people to find the website.

Search engine optimization can really be broken down into two categories:

On Site Factors
These include site structure, internal linking, content, meta tags, page titles etc. On site factors are typically everything a webmaster or site owner has control over, these are usually the first areas to look at when assessing a sites overall search engine value and friendliness.

Off Site Factors
This includes links to your website, link anchor text, etc. Off site factors are usually things that webmasters and site owners can affect but are largely outside their control. The number of links a website has, the anchor text of those links and their value are all things that can not only drive traffic but are used by search engines to rank websites (exp Google Page Rank).

Search engines usually take all of these factors and use them to rank sites accordingly for particular words or phrases people search for. So the goals of an SEO is to use all of these factors to influence the search engines in “good or bad (white hat or black hat)” ways to rank their site highly for related terms. Remember the goal for search engines is to serve the most relevant results, thats how they attain users and make money so they are constantly trying to understand every website as best as possible to complete their mission.

So as I close out the post, a “great” website is all in the eyes of the website creator but a “better” website is something that is useful, valuable, content or resource rich and is easy for both users and search engines to use.

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