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What is SEO and How Can I Make It Work For Me?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term thrown out a lot in the marketing world and something that is essential for your online presence. In simplest terms, SEO means how your website or blog ranks in search engine rankings on Google, Yahoo, or Bing, for example. There are complex algorithms behind search engine rankings, however, one thing that has remained constant is the important role of keywords in your content, on your site, and in your title. But be careful, too many keywords and the search engines start to penalize you.

How to make SEO work for you.

  1. Keywords are important in titles.
    If you have a website or a blog or a piece of content out on the web that you want found by others, ask yourself what keywords would you search for to find that website or content? Use the Google Keyword Search Tool  and determine which keywords have the most searches. For example, for this blog post, I searched on SEO. When I look at the search results I can see that over 11 million people search for “What is SEO”, hence in the name of this title. Of course, your title needs to be catchy, see this blog post on how to create a catchy headline.
  2. On-page links help raise the ranking for your site and other content.
    On-page linking is you linking to other content within your website, rather than linking to content off of your website. This helps in raise the relevancy of your content with the search engines, and if it gets clicked on, even better.
  3. Sites linking into your site.
    There is no secret here. This requires publishing good content so that others will find it valuable and link back to your site. The more sites linking back to your site, the higher your ranking. How do you get them? Publishing good content, networking with other sites that may find your site or content valuable, and adding your site to social bookmarking sites such as: Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, etc.
The important thing is to have the right mix of sites linking in, internal on-page links, and keywords to raise your ranking.
The last thing I want to talk about is meta-tags. Often confused with keywords, they are a piece of the  SEO algorithm puzzle but not for page rankings. They are important for SERP (search engine result pages). Which essentially means that you can advertise what this page is about with a brief description so that you’ll get more click-thrus. Think of it as “ad copy.”
What are meta tags? They are keywords or phrases written in HTML and lie between the opening and closing <head> tags on a web page or document. The meta tags are not visible on the site, but they do tell a search engine more about that web page by explaining what it is. They are also referred to as meta description tags.
The code is this: <meta name”description” content=”Here is a description of the applicable page”>
For this page, I inserted the following:
<meta name”What is SEO” content=”SEO simply defined”>
For more information and tutorials on SEO, keywords, and meta tag descriptions I would suggest checking out the following sources:
Want a shout out on Twitter tomorrow? Leave a comment below with your Twitter handle and I’ll mention you in my #FF (Follow Friday).

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“Thank you for the straightforward and simple answers, Tracy. These kinds of terms are coming out so quickly – like a runaway train, I often think to myself….”where have I been?” You remind me that I am all here – and that’s it is okay not to “know it all” five minutes after the term comes out! ” – Bonnie Brooks, on LinkedIn

 

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.