What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO for short, is something that anybody working online wishes to master. The idea behind it is that, by mastering what Google and other search engines use as their criteria for ranking websites, you will have an advantage over your competition and will get those first page rankings that you desire.
It is not an always easy task though, because search engines are never entirely clear on what they use to rank. They don’t want everybody to try to “game” the system and get their sites ranked highly unfairly. Google wants you to produce good quality sites, and not worry about its ranking algorithm.
In the past, people abused the system. They knew that “back-links” (links to your site from other sites) were vital, and the more you had, the more important your site appeared to Google. That meant people paid a lot of money to have links thrown all over the Internet pointing back to their sites.
They also stuffed keywords everywhere possible in order to trick the search engines into thinking that their page was more relevant to those keywords than other sites might be. Luckily, Google wised up to this.
Through various major algorithm updates, known as Panda, Penguin, and more recently, Penguin 2.0, Google changed the way it indexes websites and de-indexed millions of low-quality spam sites.
You might not even have noticed it, but searching for information is a lot easier now. You needn’t wade through so much terrible information before you find the answers you are looking for.
The result of all this means that essentially all you have to do now to get good rankings is produce top quality website content. It will take time, but sooner or later Google will realize you are providing a good service or good information to the world, and it will reward you with the high rankings you deserve.
There is no way to cheat your way to the top anymore, but this means it is actually easier overall.
However despite all this, there are still some benefits to having some SEO knowledge, as long as you can find the accurate information and not listen to the old fashioned “gurus” who are still practicing the techniques that the search engines hate.
Essentially you can still perform keyword research, and put the keywords in the titles and opening paragraphs of your articles, but you don’t need to worry about anything else. It is a delicate balance and if you appear too SEO friendly, then Google might slap your site further down the rankings. It is better to appear as somebody who just loves writing content.
Do a little bit of SEO to get Google to notice you and realize you are there, and after that forget about it.
Search Engine Optimization used to be a major technique that could not be avoided, but these days a lot of sites make fortunes without even appearing in search engines. The more you focus on producing top quality content that readers want to share and engage with, the more you will notice Google loves you.