Spend any time at all building a website, and you are sure to hear some mention of SEO. But what is SEO? Why is it important? And how do you incorporate it into your website?What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The term encompasses anything and everything you can do to improve your site's ranking in search engine results.
Why is SEO important?
You want people to visit your website; otherwise, there is little reason for it to exist. There are only three ways in which someone can end up at your site:
- They type in the URL address.
- They visit a different site that links to yours, and click on the link.
- They type a query into a search engine, and see your site as one of the results.
Search engine queries often produce millions of results, but most people will only look at the first few results to find what they are looking for. SEO, therefore, seeks to help search engines find your website, understand what it is about and consider it worthy of a high ranking on the subjects it covers.
Elements of SEO
There are many things you can do to optimize your site for the search engines. Common SEO strategies include:
- Link building. Creating links between different pages and sites benefits SEO in at least two ways. First, search engines usually find new web pages by following links on existing, known pages. Second, links to a page are used to determine how important and relevant a page is, and are critical for search rankings.
- Keywords. A keyword is basically any word or phrase that someone might search for. If the keywords are included in the text of a page, search engines will know that it is relevant to that query and should be included in the search results.
- Meta tags. Meta tags are HTML elements that do not appear on the page as text, but which can be read by search engines. The tags are designed to give search engines more information about the web page, and commonly include a description of the page, a title and a list of keywords.
- Content. Providing good content is key, both for human readers and for SEO. If human readers like your content, more people will link to it and more people will visit--and that kind of online popularity is weighted heavily by search engines when ranking pages.