What You Need To Know About Search Engine Optimization
Learning a language
anyone can mostly do most of the best search engine optimization (SEO) practices. It's like a language – anyone can get by, but mastering the subtleties that really make you stand apart requires some serious know-how.
And a lot of time.
Though many consider SEO to be a sort of dark art – “white hat,” or honest, SEO practices are actually fairly straightforward. SEO gets a bad rap as a dark art from dishonest SEO practices – which often do rely on technical prowess to “trick” search engine algorithms.
Really, business SEO is simply an internet marketing strategy to position yourself, digitally, in people’s view.
When anyone describes themselves as an SEO “guru” all they are simply saying is that they have a firm grasp on the technicalities, and they are great at creating content that is SEO-ready.
Optimized content is SEO buzzword
The SEO buzzword is optimized.
It’s the kind of word that that gives SEO an aura of mystery. But it’s actually very simple. Optimized simply means “filling in the cracks” of your content.
It’s the part of SEO that caters to the Google bots that troll your website and decide your rankings. Things like:
- Image meta description: Google bots can’t recognize images, so when you give an image a description, that image is optimized
- Keywords: naturally sprinkling in phrases and words that are most relevant to your service/product means that you have an optimized page
- Making sure that your website has no dead links (Google doesn’t like this)
- Linking to high quality, relevant pages from other websites, as well as linking inside your own website (Google like’s to see you aren’t spammy)
The list goes on. Most optimized content practices have a small learning curve with concepts that are pretty simple to understand.
The main point is to understand that optimized simply means making your website’s “stuff” search-bot friendly.
Most SEO practices only require your time
While technical know-how accounts for the success of your SEO rankings – I would venture to make a wild guestimate that white-hat SEO is 15% in-depth technical knowledge – by far the most important factor of SEO is content creation, inbound links, and web traffic.
And inbound links and web traffic are a direct result of quality content, so we can really say the best SEO is creating great content.
In that respect anyone can do SEO. You simply need to know:
how to write (grab people’s attention)
- Writing for the web
how to use social media (share updates)
- Which platforms
- Platform strategies
- How often to post
how to create great visuals
- Awesome images/videos (or pay)
- Great infographics
Anyone can do these things – how WELL someone can do them is an entirely different matter. Also, all of the above takes careful planning an a LOT of time to be an effective digital marketing strategy.
The list of in depth technical knowledge
And then there’s the list that makes people – even some SEO marketers – scratch their head. These are areas of knowledge that require learning and experience, and that frankly most people will have no idea what to do with.
- What is an .htaccess file and how is it used?
- What is a rel canonical?
- What is 301 and 302 redirect – how should each be used?
- What are directory structures and subdomains and how are they important?
The list of these technicalities is somewhere around 4-5 dozen lines long. Which seems like a lot. But in comparison to the effort and time it takes to produce amazing content and link building, it’s not make-it or break-it.
The learning curve on such items is steeper.