The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Definition of Search Engine Optimization: The steps you take to optimize your web pages so that they rank as high as possible in the search engine results pages.

Search engine optimization is basically the same for websites of all sizes. But for your hobby or small business website you may not want to pay someone to do it. So it's really in your best interest to have the basics of SEO down cold. The topics covered in this article are:

  • The foundation of SEO.
  • The two most fundamental search engine optimization steps.
  • Submit your site to search engines.
  • Get incoming links for your site.

The Foundation of SEO

Sometimes ideas are so simple they get overlooked. People, websites, search engines, and businesses need each other.

  • People use search engines to find information.
  • Websites (intelligently built) provide this information to attract people.
  • Search engines provide links to websites that have the information people are looking for. In exchange for providing links to information search engines sell advertising to businesses.
  • Businesses buy advertising from search engines in order to sell their products to people.

It's that simple.

So, keeping those ideas in mind, what do you think are the most fundamental steps you can take to get more visitors to your website from the search engines?

The Two Most Fundamental Search Engine Optimization Steps

  • Find out what people are searching for in your field using keyword research. Here's an article on keyword research.
  • Provide that information on your website. See Create Content Pages for more about this.

The two steps above are by far the most important steps anyone could take to optimize their site for search engines! There are many search engine optimization techniques out there but if you are not doing these two steps you are wasting your time!

Submit Your Site to Search Engines

If the main search engines don't know about your site you can't expect to get any visitors from them. Submitting your site to search engines is a good idea.

Approximately 95% of your traffic will come from the four main search engines either directly or indirectly. Other popular search sites get their search results from these 4 main search engines. For instance, AllTheWeb, Altavista, AOL, HotBot, Lycos, and Netscape Search get their search results from one of these 4 main search engines.

Get Incoming Links for Your Site.

Another idea to help with your search engine optimization to get a few inbound links to your site from directories. Links in directories that point to your site will help your pages get higher rankings in the search engine results pages. See our Link Building Tips series for more information.

Local and niche directories are usually easy to get into. Some of these directories charge a fee but they usually are inexpensive.

When your site is ready for prime time you will definitely want to submit your site to these major directories: Open Directory, LookSmart and maybe even the Yahoo Directory. If you get accepted into any of these it will give your site a boost in the search engine rankings.

Here are more search engine optimization basics.

Take care of the search engine optimization basics first. Create lots of content pages based on keyword research in your niche. Submit your site to the top 4 search engines. Submit your site to directories as appropriate. If you take care of the basics you are well on your way to having lots of potential customers visiting your site.

Website Building Tip

Never try to "trick" the search engines. You'll lose eventually.

Provide the information that your visitors need and want and you'll win every time.

People Need Information
Search Engines Locate Information
Websites Provide Valuable Information