What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of changing a website's content, title tags and headings to make your content more relevant to certain keywords, doing this properly can increase the position in which you show up in the search results for the keyword of your choice.
There are 2 types of SEO that you should be aware of.
What is On-Site SEO?
The first type is called On-site SEO, it is mostly about the practice of changing the wording, headings and title tags on your website to be more relevant for a search term in the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
If you were trying to rank for the keyword "dog training", your website title should be related to dog training, optimally your keyword should be the first thing that shows up in your title tag as well, here is an example with the keyword "dog training tips":
- Good title: "Dog Training tips that your dog will love"
- Bad Title: "Jack Power's dog training tips for puppies"
Another generally accepted way to improve your website relevancy to a certain keyword is to place links to external authority websites like Wikipedia, an example of this would be if I linked to the Wikipedia article on SEO in this sentence.
There is also a common "best practice" to keep your keyword density (how many times your keyword is mentioned on your page) of around 5% on your website, although you can go all the way up to 7% if you include some LSI keywords, this is because if you have too many instances of your keyword, Google and various other search engines will see it as "keyword stuffing" (spam) and will rank you significantly lower, you can check your keyword density with this tool.
What the hell is an LSI keywords?
"LSI keyword" is honestly just a fancy SEO-word for "synonym, related or similar", LSI keywords are basically keywords that means the same, or something similar without being the exact same word.
Examples of LSI keywords for "dog training" could be "dog behavior guide" and "dog discipline".
There are many people out there that will provide you with an SEO article writing service although I highly recommend that you write your articles yourself by hand(keyboard..), as the result is often more readable and of higher quality, also when I say article I mean blog post, page or any type of new content that you add to your website.
What is Off-Site SEO?
The second type of SEO is called Off-site SEO and focuses mostly on link building.
Link building is the practice of writing articles, guest posts, press releases or blog posts on other websites that you own or have access to that link back to your main website with your wanted keywords as the anchor text, anchor text is the text that shows up when you create a link, here is an example:
Helge Sverre is writing an example sentence where he will show you what an anchor text is.
In the sentence above you see that "example sentence" is a link, the anchor text in this case is "example sentence" and the website it links to is www.example.com.
The primary goal of link building is the convince the search engines that the page you are linking to is relevant to the anchor text that you've used.
If you Google my name you will see that my website(s) is on the top of the search result.
The reason I rank highly for this search term is mostly due to low competition, there are not that many websites that target this keyword since it's a name.
I also rank highly because whenever I leave a comment or if someone links to me in a blog post or article, the anchor text is going to be my name, therefore Google and other search engines start to rank my website higher for that keyword.
Now say if the person that owns the 6th website for this keyword (helgesverrerisan.no) wanted to rank higher for the keyword "helge sverre", he would have to optimize his on-site SEO as well as start to build more links with the keywords "helge sverre" as the anchor text.
He would have to convince Google's ranking algorithm that his website was more relevant to "helge sverre" than mine, since I use my name as my domain, my site title, as every blog post author name, as well as always use my website and name when I comment on other blogs, Google believes(rightly so) that I am the most relevant "Helge Sverre" on the internet at the moment and will display my website along with some of my social network profiles.
Sitemaps and Indexing
Another reason my website is ranked highly is because my website has (in my opinion) a lot of high quality content that is easy to find and navigate to.
I use an XML sitemap the help the search engine find all the content on my blog, an XML sitemap is pretty much just a text document with some weird XML tags inside of them that describes every single post, page and category on my blog, to generate the sitemap I use a plugin called "All in one SEO Pack".
I add the sitemap document to the Sitemap section in Google's Webmaster Tool.
After I've added the sitemap to Google's Webmaster tool, their bots will go to every single page in the sitemap and crawl it, that basically means that their bot will download the page, scan it for keywords, links and images, then add it to their database, this process can take anywhere from a few days to a month or two, once you have been indexed, your pages can be found by searching for the URL of the page, that is a great way to check if your page has been properly indexed and added to the database.
A great way to get some high quality backlinks to your site is by guest posting on other websites/blogs in your niche, in addition to gaining a little bit of ranking, you will also be able to get new visitors that read your post and wanted to check out your content.
You can start guest posting by going to various blogs within your niche and looking for a contact form or links to social media profiles, reach out to the owner of the site or some of the authors and ask if they would like to publish an article or post from you with a link back to your site, not everyone will answer you back, but keep trying.
If you want to guest post on my blog, you can go to the contact page, High quality posts and sites only.
What is Black-hat SEO?
All the above techniques are what I consider white-hat SEO, but there is a different way to do link building, and that is something the industry like to call Black-hat SEO.
Black-hat SEO is the process of either automatically generating a bunch of backlinks by buying backlinks or using specialized SEO software that is made to automatically create articles or blog comments on blogs, article directories and press release websites.
There are a lot of these kinds of software packages available commercially, like Ultimate Demon(pictures below), Licorne AIO, GSA Search Engine Ranker and XRumer etc.
I highly discourage this practice as it is both against Google's Webmaster Guidelines and could harm your website rank if you end up being caught doing it, I have tried this method once before with a test site and within a week the website was deindexed (removed) from Google's database.
I hope that this guide was helpful for you and that you learned more about what Search engine optimization is and realize how it can seriously benefit you and your business.