If you’ve stuck through this entire seo basics tutorial hopefully you have a clearer idea of how to begin optimization of your website and web pages. The entire tutorial should at least have given you a lot to think about. I’d like to take a little time now to summarize some of the important points and mention a few things I didn’t cover about seo prior to now.
As I’ve said several times throughout this seo tutorial there is no magic formula to getting found in search engine results pages (SERPs). The basics of seo are actually quite simple and most of what’s involved is a lot of hard work. The details can be confusing especially when there’s so much misinformation and disagreement within the seo community, but at its core seo is based on much of the same principles as traditional marketing. The sooner you stop looking for some magic formula that will take you to #1 overnight the sooner you’ll be able to gain a search engine presence and traffic to your site. SEO isn’t about placing keywords on your pages in the perfect place or in exactly the right amount. That’s not how it works and if you take anything from this tutorial please come away with that thought.
Also it’s important to always build your site and write pages for people first and search engines second. No matter how much traffic you get it’s ultimately people you need to convince to take action on your site. Search engines won’t buy your products, people will, so make sure your site is made for those people. The same is true when link building. Keep in mind the value of the link itself first and its benefit to seo second. There are many sites that get a lot of daily traffic without being found in search engines.
Traffic to your site can come from many sources and it’s good strategy to not be dependent on any one source for traffic. Still traffic that comes from a search engine can be among the best traffic you can get. Much of the reason is that visitors from search engines are already looking for something on your site. You don’t have to convince them they want it. They already do. Not all search traffic will be ready to buy your product, but the traffic will be targeted to something on your site and pre-qualified which is exactly the kind of traffic you want.
Because you already know search traffic is looking for something when it arrives at your site it’s a good idea to get them to what they’re searching for as quickly as possible. It’s why you optimize your blue widgets page for the keywords ‘blue widgets’ and not ‘red widgets’ People looking for widgets that are blue want to be taken directly to a page about blue widgets. It seems obvious, but many people still miss this concept. You might be thinking of course you would never direct someone searching for blue widgets to your red widgets page, but would you try to optimize your home page to get blue widgets traffic? Not all seo takes place on the home page and if done right most of your traffic will probably come into your site through deeper pages.
One of the things I didn’t mention about keywords is that you want to learn how your potential customers talk about your topic. Do they refer to ‘auto parts’ or ‘car parts’ or both. If they search for car parts and all of your pages are optimized for auto parts then they’re more than likely visiting another site. Often people inside an industry refer to things in one way while customers will refer to it in another way. Who are you trying to get to your site though? Probably your customers so you want to optimize for the keywords they’ll use and not the ones you think they should use.
The best way to find out how your customers might search for you is to ask them, but since you can’t always do that there are some other ways you can learn their language. Visiting forums is a great way to communicate with potential customers and clients. The words they use in posts will tell you a lot about how they talk about your products and services and industry in general. Don’t always assume they use the same language to describe things as you do. You might know I need a new rotor assembly for my alternator. I just know my car won’t start. Learn to talk the language of your customers and optimize your pages for them.
SEO As Part Of Your Overall Marketing
Remember that seo is only one part of marketing. It can be a very good source of marketing, but it’s still only one part. Don’t get misled into thinking all you need to do is optimize your site to have a successful business. There are many other ways to bring traffic to your site and revenue to your business. Pay per click (PPC) advertising is one way to generate site traffic. So are more traditional marketing techniques like newspaper and magazine advertising, phone book listings, business cards and fliers, and networking and word of mouth.
There seems to be a myth that if you have a website you only need to focus on seo to achieve success. I think it’s due to the thought that search engine traffic is free. It’s only free in the sense that you’re not paying for any specific visitor that finds their way to your site through a search. The time involved to get your site optimized so they did find you can still be a pretty big cost.
Hiring A Professional Or Do It Yourself?
Since it does take time to optimize your site and pages hiring someone else to do it may be a consideration. It’s true it will cost less to do it yourself until you consider the opportunity cost of having spent all the time that you might have spent on another part of your business. It’s certainly up to you which avenue you pursue. but it’s something that should be considered. Doing it yourself can be a great approach, but be aware of the time needed to seo your site. Again it’s not a quick thing. It takes time and is really never ending.
If you do decide to hire a professional spend some time researching seo companies. Not all are created equal. The cheapest won’t be the best and there are many seo professionals who are just as apt to take your money as they are to help you. Talk to them. Ask questions and learn what kind of methods they use. It will still be a good idea for you to learn what you can on your own so you can make a more informed decision about who to hire. Remember there are no guarantees in this business so while a company promising to have your site #1 in a few weeks sounds great, it’s not realistic. Most of the best seo companies won’t even take you as a client unless you’ve already done some seo yourself.
Just as important as optimizing your site and pages is measuring your results. If you truly want to improve your search presence you should have some kind of metrics package that will measure and give reports on what’s going on with your site. It’s a subject beyond this seo basics tutorial, but something that should be mentioned. Chances are your web hosting plan comes with some form of statistics package and if it doesn’t look for a host plan that does. There are many free and pay metrics applications to measure many things about your site and your visitors.
Use what you learn from your metrics to re-evaluate your seo efforts and make changes. You may not have optimized pages for certain keywords only to find that the few visitors you get for those keywords are converting into paying customers in large percentages. Knowing that it only makes sense to focus seo efforts on that keyword phrase and maybe spend a little less time on keywords that bring traffic, but little revenue.
Where To Go Next
As I mentioned at the start hopefully this seo basics tutorial has given you a solid foundation and plenty to think about when it comes to optimizing your site. It isn’t the end all and be all of seo however and there’s much more to learn about the details and seo in general. So where should you look next to gain more knowledge?
The world of seo quickly changes as search engines update their algorithms and techniques that work one day often have little effect the next. I’ve found the best place to learn about seo is forums since they generally contain up to the minute information. The trick with forums though is sorting through the misinformation. Many people will claim to be seo experts while giving out poor advice. Before jumping on some the suggestions to seo your site spend some time reading through the forums and learning who some of the members are. Many are the major players in the industry and once you can determine who are the true seo masters you’ll get a better handle on who’s advice you want to follow.
Some of the better seo forums I’ve come across are:
There are many more quality forums you can go through and if you read through any of the ones I listed you’re sure to find links to many of them. These four are just a sampling which should provide a varied viewpoint.
One last reminder. Please don’t look for any magic formulas when it comes to seo and remember that it’s people first and search engines second. SEO comes down to a lot of hard work and your seo learning and efforts should be ongoing. I hope this seo basics tutorial has given you the foundation from which you can build and pointed you down the right path to seo your website and web pages.