Whether you are the proud new owner of a brand new website, or you want to use the internet to grow your brand, you should definitely understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Getting a good grasp of SEO will help people find your website, which could turn into having more customers. SEO can also help to strengthen your brand and make it more recognizable. If you have no idea what is involved in SEO, this is a great place to start.
What Exactly Is SEO?
You’ve seen the letters and you’ve heard people talking about SEO around the water cooler, yet you’ve never taken the time to understand the importance of these three letters. Now that you have your own website however, you figured you better start paying attention. SEO stands for Strategic Engine Optimization. If it’s not making sense, yet, maybe the definition from dictionary.com will help: the methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you are looking for a company to make animated videos that will enable you to market your brand. You’re sitting at your computer and you type the words “animated videos for marketing.” Several results populate your screen. Of course, it makes sense to check out the ones at the top of the page, so you visit those websites first. You find that these sites have great content and are great matches for the keywords you typed. That my friend, is how SEO works.
What is Black Hat Versus White Hat SEO?
In your quest to learn about SEO and understand it better, you keep hearing about two types of SEO called black hat and white hat. Here’s what you need to know:
- Black Hat SEO: a way to increase search engine rankings by using practices that are not approved. Some of these unapproved methods include: using duplicate content and keyword stuffing.
- White Hat SEO: a way to increase search engine rankings by using practices that are approved. Some of these approved methods include: using relevant content and focuses on a human audience.
A good way to remember the difference is that the bad guys in the old westerns always wore the black hats, while the good guys usually wore the white ones. If you hope to be around for the long term instead of desiring to make a few quick bucks and then up closing shop, you’ll want to use white hat SEO methods.
The Differences Between On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO
There is a ton of information on this topic but let try to put it in a nutshell, since you’re just learning SEO. Basically on-page SEO entails the content on each individual website that Google uses to rank your website. Google also looks at HTML source codes, and the use of keywords. Off-page SEO refers to links, social presence, and other external factors that can influence the ranking of your website. Although different, both on-page SEO and off-page SEO are equally important when it comes to your website’s SEO ranking.
As you can guess, there is much more to learn about SEO, but hopefully this has given you a good place to start. If nothing else, you can now take part in the SEO discussion around the water cooler.