What Is SEO – Search Engine Optimization?

Video created by Search Engine Land

Search engine optimization or SEO consists of a series of techniques and tactics for ranking websites organically (Non-Paid Results) on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, & MSN. With billions of web pages on the Internet, business owners need to use proper SEO methods to gain visibility and to improve traffic to their websites.  The days of paying for the largest ad in Yellowpages is gone, search engines have completely taken over.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Search engines use complex computer programs with 100’s of different algorithms to crawl or scan websites in order to collect data about them. Once indexed, the pages are ranked and appear in the SERPs or search engine results pages. There are the hundreds of pages of website listings that appear when a search engine user types in a keyword or keyword phrase  instantly.

The job of the search engines is to provide the most relevant list of websites for a particular search term. Search engines want to ensure that the user gets the best information he or she is looking for.  That means the website with the top #1 position appears to be the best result.  Therefore, a business that is ranked #1 for their main search terms appear to be the best in their industry, whether that is true of not.

SEO Techniques & Tactics

The SEO methods we use are tested, proven and safe, helping websites rank higher in the SERPs. The higher a website ranks, the more traffic it gets, so it is then able to sell more products or services.  Many SEO “gurus” say the only way to rank is by using whitehat techniques. Whitehat methods are considered ethical and approved by search engines, whereas blackhat techniques are the opposite.  These  so called “Gurus” are only partially correct, there is a time and place to use both, often called grey hat.

Blackhat SEOblack hat seo

Blackhat SEO techniques trick search engine algorithms into ranking a website higher and usually go against the search engines’ terms of service. These blackhat techniques can be considered spam, and often lead to a website being ranked lower or even removed from the search engine index if caught, these tactics no longer work and unfortunately many SEO firms still use them, giving all of us a bad name.  Examples of blackhat are word stuffing, which is unnaturally stuffing your main keyword into your website.  Your content should sound natural and only use your keyword 1-3% of the time along with semantic or synonyms of your main keyword.

Another common blackhat technique is by sending hundreds or thousands of low quality, often unnatural backlinks to your website.  It is common knowledge that you want relevant, industry related backlinks from reputable sources to increase rankings.  However, there is a time and place to use these “spammy” backlinking methods in an ethical manner that will NOT get a site penalized.  Only the good SEO companies understand how and when to use these tactics.

Whitehat SEOwhite hat seo picture

Whitehat techniques are useful in getting search engines to quickly learn what a web page is about. Search engines look at the domain name, the title of the page, the subheadings on the page, and the page description, both through meta-tags and actual content. For ranking, these are the main on-page SEO areas to focus on when developing your website, to include properly naming any images through the use of alt-tags.

However, search engines look at other information as well. It’s important to be a popular website. This is often measured by the number of websites that link to one specific website, called backlinks. Although buying links or using link farms are considered blackhat techniques and should only be used by an SEO expert and almost never directly to your main website.

If other websites genuinely like your website and link to content on the site, this helps you to rank even higher. This is especially true if authoritative websites or sites with a good page-rank and Domain Authority link to your website. This elevates the status of your website and helps it to rank higher. The best way to get other websites to link to you is by providing quality content that really helps or benefits the reader or creating press releases.  Another excellent way to gain quality, relevant backlinks with high domain authority is by properly linking all social accounts to include citations, such as Google+, Facebook, Yelp, and any industry specific sites and building a private blog network.  WARNING: Private blog networks should only be built and used by a professional, doing this wrong or hiring someone that does not know the proper way to build a PBN can cause serious harm to a website.

Search engine optimization is a very effective marketing strategy for getting to the top of search engines, but only when a professional uses the correct tactics in the correct way.  According to an experiment done by Groupon, about 60% of all traffic to any given website is through Organic Search/receiving results by directly typing in a specific keyword into the search box with the #1 spot averaging 35% of all traffic, #2 spot receiving 14% and traffic significantly drops as a website ranks lower on the first page, with VERY little traffic when on page 2.   Additionally, 70% of people searching any particular phrase now skips the “paid search” section, known as Adwords within Google, because natural rankings provide better results.

Get actual results in Google safely by contacting Tactical SEO Today.