A focus on natural search (beginner's guide to SEO)

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In the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) section of Chapter 2, we touched on why SEO is important. We mentioned its effectiveness and how important it is to get the best from Search Engine traffic to your website.

In this Chapter, we'll be taking a closer look at what Search Engine Optimisation is all about, what it entails and how is it done.

This chapter will not make you an SEO expert. It will however lead you down the path to the door of SEO knowledge. It will give you a good idea about what the SEO process involves, some of the key areas of focus, and explain some of the main concepts.

First, let's recap what we learned earlier on in the series:

What's the Big Deal about Search?

The Internet is a very competitive environment, with literally billions of pages in existence. So how does anyone find the page they're after? Web users find what they need primarily via search with the daily search volume numbers in the hundred millions.

So, if you want your website to generate a significant amount of traffic, it needs to be listed on the major Search Engines and listed high up enough to be seen.
Statistics show that users are not likely to view listings beyond the first 30 results, with the top 6 (above the fold) listings enjoying the lion's share of clicks.

Beyond just traffic, a high ranking website is valuable for brand perception; web users often perceive Search Engine results as an indicator of authority.

What Search Engines do:

  • Crawl the web (via spiders)
  • Index web documents/pages
  • Process user inputted queries
  • Serve results based on an ordered list of indexed pages (rank)

What SEO does:

  • Identifies key phrases to target, based on search popularity or frequency of those terms
  • Creates accessible content to target those key phrases
  • Builds links to lead Search Engine spiders to the content

Of course, that's a simplification. But simple is a good start.

Key questions that SEO needs to answer:

  • Is the content relevant?
  • Can the Search Engines' spiders find the content?
  • Is the content accessible for the spiders once they've found it?
  • Are our pages ranking?
  • Are we driving traffic with these rankings?

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