Simple SEO: The Basics

Simple SEO: what does that mean? What do I mean when I talk about SEM or backlinks? What is the whole purpose of it all? Every web designer or entreprenuer has these types of questions when getting started in online business. The answers are simple, despite what many companies will tell you. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the art (yes, I say art because it can be fun) of altering your website(s) or the way that you deliver those websites to clients and customers to improve your ability to compete in the search engines.

SEO is a very large part of an extended group of tasks that make up what is called SEM, or Search Engine Marketing. While improving your rankings in the results arena of the search engine is important, there have become numerous outlets for online companies to market their services and products outside of the usual search results. Google’s Adwords and Froogal are just the tip of the iceberg of this type of marketing, thus the need for an overarching term.

When it comes to beginning your success in the search engines, you want to make sure you have the basics of SEO covered before you sign up for the other services. I say this because it can often take your site 6 months to acheive positioning in the search engine rankings. So to maximize your internet marketing dollar, you should optimize first and spend less money on SEM as your site begins to show in the results, rather than continually putting money into SEM and waiting longer because you then have to optimize later.

How do the search engines know where to find my site? Should I submit it to them?
To many SEO companies, including myself, submitting your site to the search engines is good, but not as productive as many would think. (In fact, many think it does no good.) To properly explain this, let me tell you just how most search enines operate. It’s simple to think that Google and all the others would examine their database of websites and index them to find what they need for their results. While it’s true that they do this, the web changes daily and more sites are added and deleted, so their database is always being updated.

Search engines do what is called indexing. Indexing is a process in which they (the search engines) view the content in a page and add it to their database. They then follow the links on the page to other pages to index them. Depending on a few factors a whole site can be indexed (although you may never always see every page in the search engines because they trim them for relevancy). So when a search engine indexes your site, it’s the links they follow to get the entire picture.

In addition, they way they get the entire picture of the web is via the links between websites. Because the web is one mass of links to other pages, you would benefit more to have a link on another site that the search engines already index, than you would to submit to search engines. Although both methods are viable options, having someone (or multiple websites) link to you is the fastest way to be indexed by the search engines.

Just how fast can you be indexed? I’ll save that for the next post in the Simple SEO series.