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SEO 101 – A Primer

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is a vast ocean of knowledge and experiences. We liken it to water because the landscape of SEO is constantly changing; new ideas and techniques are added each day while others are retired from use because they are no longer effective. We could take the ocean metaphor quite a bit further, but we’ll cut it short for now and let you get on to the juicy content you’ve been waiting for!

We’ll start off with some of SEO’s most basic and essential terms. With knowledge of these concepts under your belt you will be better equipped to understand SEO and the benefits that an honest and credible SEO provider can bring to your business.

SEO Terms to Know

Keyword -A keyword is an exact word or phrase that someone would use to search for something online. Your business name is a keyword, as are words or phrases that describe your business. It is important to note that a keyword can consist of more than one word!

Back Link -A back link -otherwise known as an inbound link- is a link to your website from someplace else on the internet. Back links are important because they are one factor used by search engines to determine the importance (read: rank) of a given website. In theory, the more back links a website has, the higher its position in search results. This is no longer the case however, and more emphasis is being placed on the quality versus quantity of back links a website has.

Content -In simplest terms, content is defined as the materials on your website. In all technicality almost everything on your website is content of one kind or another, from the code that creates your site’s structure to your website’s navigation, and finally the “content” that most people think of when they think of web content: videos, images, and text. For the most part, when someone mentions content in reference to SEO they are referring to the last things we named as content; text content is the most common, and examples are blog posts and articles in article directories.

On-page SEO -On-page SEO is defined as anything that can be done to the content of a website (remember that even the code of your website can be considered a type of content) in order to make that website more search engine friendly. On-page SEO often entails optimizing your website’s content for your chosen keyword or keywords.

Off-page SEO -Off-page SEO is essentially everything you do outside of your website to increase your visibility to search engines. Back links are an example of off-page SEO; because they often go together, off-page content should be mentioned in connection with back links. Off-page SEO works with your content and links outside of your website, so none of your site’s content is being edited directly with off-page SEO.

PandaThis infographic  explains Panda very well. In simple terms, Panda is the name given to a Google algorithm update that was first applied in February of 2011 and has since been “refreshed” and updated several times. Under Panda, poor quality content was settled squarely into Google’s crosshairs. Websites with poor-quality content (i.e. spammy link farms and no-name article directories) were targeted and saw their rankings drop considerably.

Penguin -Penguin is also a Google algorithm update. What Panda did to content, Penguin did to links. Penguin targets “unnatural” and low-quality links. There are several factors that Google considers when it attempts to determine the quality of a link. Some of these factors include the anchor text used, the website where the link appears, and when/how the link was created. If your site suddenly gains 100 links in a day, all with the same anchor text that come from a handful of websites, Google will likely identify these links as low-quality.

Social Media -Social media is defined as any type of media that enables users to post and respond to content that has been posted by others. Social media allows users to share their thoughts, photos, and more with others all over the world and comment on the posts made by other people as a way of communicating and engaging in discussions. This is different from traditional media in the traditional media only allows for information to be released; feedback to traditional media is a separate entity, whereas with social media it is all connected. Examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

There is so much more to social media than first meets the eye! These terms should help you get started and give you a jumping off point from which you can explore and learn more about SEO and how it can benefit your business.

 

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