Baby Steps Will Take You Far: Simple SEO Basics

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Simple SEO BasicsSearch engine optimization, or SEO, is the gentle art of making your website rank higher on the results pages delivered by search engines. It’s extremely important to webmasters who rely on attracting lots of traffic to their sites.

If you want to optimize your own site, you don’t need extensive training or expensive experts to take some highly effective SEO steps by yourself. This article will provide a solid grounding and get you up to speed on your SEO basics.

Keywords are the first concept you need to master. A keyword is nothing but the word or short phrase that search engine users punch into the search field. They become important for SEO because you’re going to focus your efforts on making your site more relevant (and therefore higher ranking) on certain keywords that match your subject matter.

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Finding keywords is often the toughest part of SEO. The AdWords keyword tool provided by Google (for free!) is an excellent place to start. You can enter basic keywords that you know searchers will use to find your site, and the keyword tool will present you with related terms. It will also give you a rough idea of how much traffic different keywords draw in on a monthly basis. You can use this information to decide where your attention can be spent most effectively.

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As you can imagine, getting the keywords you pick into your website’s content is a very important part of SEO. Be aware, though, that the search engines consider many other factors when assigning your page a ranking. Although the indexing and ranking process is automated, the search engines have very clever algorithms looking for low-content spam sites. While you do want to get your keywords into your content, you want to do it in a way that doesn’t detract from the readability of your text.

There are plenty of “behind the scenes” places to incorporate keywords into your site, too. Each page on your site has a title, set by the HTML title tag. It’s what shows up on the top of the browser window when your page loads. Put a relevant keyword into the title on each of your site’s pages. The search engines weigh keywords more heavily when they appear in a page’s title. The same goes for HTML’s heading tags, (H1, H2, H3, and so on) so make sure you use them to organize your pages.

You have enough basic tools here to start doing some highly effective SEO work. Before you go crazy, though, keep in mind that your optimization efforts operate on a bell curve. Beyond a certain point, more tweaking and twiddling will begin to hurt your position on the search engine results pages. As mentioned above, the search engines are on the lookout for spam pages that offer lots of keywords and little content. If you’ve got time to spare and you want to do more, produce a new page, optimized in a sensible, restrained manner, instead of over-loading your existing ones.

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While there’s a lot more to learn in the field of SEO, what you’ve picked up here will see you well on your way to improving your site’s page ranking. If you find the results you get encouraging, you can always refine your skills further and pick up more tactics with a little online research. Even if the SEO process doesn’t excite you, you can make a big difference in your site’s standing with just a little effort.

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