To be perfectly frank, without SEO, you will not create the essential building blocks to enable the search engines to find and check out your site and the number of potential clients or customers who will never find your site, could be catastrophic for your online business .
If the search engines can not find and index your site, your traffic will be insignificant, probably limited to a small number of your friends and family and their personal contacts. If your website is selling a product or service, that really would be an absolute disaster.
What SEO does is to enable you to lift the opportunities of your website being indexed by the search engines. But when done really effectively it also gives you a chance of having your URL on Google's first page, when a potential visitor enters one of your keywords into their search box. Obviously, your site needs to be as high as possible to the first page of Google, Yahoo, MSN or Dogpile results page.
When first beginning to consider SEO for your website, you have to consider the two separate, but essential elements of the optimization process.
– Onpage optimization
– Offpage optimization (this is rated as slightly more important by the major search engines)
Onpage covers the following:
* A well constructed sitemap (this really helps in getting a good ranking)
* Your page title which must reflect the page content – three titles separated by a '|' are a good idea
* Anchor texts not only in your first headline, but through your pages
* Your keywords, which are vital and should also be reflected in your page title
* Well thought out 'h1' and 'h2' html tags, again probably closely reflecting your keywords
* Outbound links to high ranking sites (this is gaining consistently in importance, especially with Google, who are also beginning to value one-way links far more than reciprocal links – because of recent growth of automatic reciprocal link builders)
* Videos (most of the major search engines value relevant video imaging and audio links quite highly)
* images ie alternate descriptions of images
Offpage covers these facets:
* The number of website pages which link to your site (on a one way basis, ie not requiring a reciprocal link – see above)
* The Google page rank (PR) of the website linking to you
* The page title of the website linking to your site
* The anchor text used in the link to your site
* The number and type of links on the website linking to yours (so-called authority sites are especially important, if you can get them – eg those with .edu / .ac / or .gov in their domain name
* Which websites link to yours (those with a high Google page ranking are the most desirable)
* The number of outbound links on the website linking to yours (if they already have a high Google PR, the fact of this will reflect very well on the website at the outbound links)
* The total number of links on the website linking to yours
* Whether or not Google regards the websites linking to yours as being "authority sites" eg those with a .gov or .edu extension.
Obviously you can see that links are extremely important. This will involve you trying to contact the owners of the highest ranking websites, with the aim of persuading them to have a backlink, a link on their site, back to yours. You can actually influence the success of this, by ensuring that you already get plenty of backlinks from other sources. There is no doubt that the higher Google PR is the best places to get links if you can, but try to get as many links as possible from other sites, before you even approach them.
If you were wondering how on earth are you supposed to do this, it is actually surprising easy. It is all about writing (relevant) articles and then submitting them to as many article directories as you can. Again, start by sending to the most popular, like EzineArticles, but at least try to find 20 or 30 article directories with a Google PR of 5 or 6 (or better) and submit to these sites. There is some good article submitting software available, and I'm sure you can find it with a simple Google search. Beware though not to fall foul of some directories who ban articles submitted automatically by the software.
At the end of each article is an author's resource box, where you can promote yourself. This is where the article publishers allow you to quote the URL of your website and your email address, and these URL quotes will be the backlinks to your site for which the search engines will be looking. You should note, by the way, that most article publishers disallow any self-promotion in the body of your article, so make very good use of the Resource Box, it is the only chance you have got.
Many people do not feel too confident about writing articles, which is understandable, but you can fairly easily find article writers who will pen original, never before published articles for you, at pretty low prices (eg typically you can get a single 500 word article for just $ 10).
I would certainly advocate trying to get some sort of SEO textbook, and I know there are a number of e-books available (which is how I started out too).
Many thanks for taking the time to read this, and I wish you all the very best with your online business, post Search Engine Optimization.