But SEO is not the do or die thing that many people make it out to be. It is, however, important to your website, and you should at least learn the basics. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Let’s take a look at each one of those words individually.
I’ve seen figures that say up to 92% of people on the internet use search engines to find information. How they do that is by typing in a word, phrase, or short sentence into a search engine. By far the most popular search engine is Google.
When you type your ‘keyword’ into Google, it will display the Search Engine Result Pages, or SERP. This is the list that comes up, usually with 10 pages on it. Those are the hottest, most popular, and what Google thinks to be the best pages for what you typed in.
Most people will click on that first result, or perhaps even the first two or three. Rarely will people begin looking at the next 10 results, and if you’re coming up on page 4 or later, you’re probably not going to be seen at all.
This is why SEO is so important for Search. You’ve got to have the keyword that people are typing into Google on your website if you want to come up on the top of Google’s SERP. Consider the classic 1980s film The Princess Bride. In the film the character Inigo Montoya has a familiar catchphrase or keyword. Each time he sees someone he tells them he’s looking for the “six-fingered man.” He’s constantly searching for that man, or keyword if you will, and the more he says it, the more it becomes known. Everyone knows if they want to find out anything about the ‘six-fingered man,’ all they’ve got to do is ask Inigo Montoya.
You want your website to be like Inigo Montoya and his “six-fingered man.” If you can use your keyword enough times, just like in The Princess Bride, you’ll eventually come up on top. How often should you have that keyword on your website? You need a ratio of 1% to 2% on each page where that keyword is the top keyword. This will help you when people use Search. And if you don’t believe me, just type in “six-fingered man” into Google and see what comes up.
An engine is a machine. It can run all day and run all night, so long as you keep fueling it. Man made engines to make his life easier, but they may have only made it more difficult.
When it comes to the Engine in SEO, we’re talking about Google again. But we’re also talking about what Google can do. These Engines of the web are quite the workers. They scour the internet day and night for new and fresh content. They do this because they want to make a complete index of the internet. That’s millions and perhaps billions of pages. That takes time, and if one of these engines has indexed your site, chances are it won’t be back again anytime soon unless it detects some new content.
And remember, these engines are unfeeling machines. To quote one of my favorite lines from the 1980s film Short Circuit, “They don’t get happy, they don’t get sad, they just run programs.” These programs that they’re running enable them to look at your content, look at your pages, and determine if your website is good or not. If you check-out, they’ll bump you up in their rankings. If you don’t, you’ll get dinged and go down.
They’ll also look at your retention rate. How long are your visitors staying on your pages? Are people coming and going faster than at that meth house down the street? This kind of revolving door, or bounce rate, on your website won’t help you, and will in fact hurt you.
Think about all the times you go to a site that you didn’t want to, or that you quickly found out was rubbish? What did you do? You hit ‘back’ faster than a man on a one-way street hits the brakes. That tells Google that the site in question is not good, the bad neighborhood kid, and one that others should stay away from. Don’t let that be you.
One of my favorite movies from the 1980s was Mannequin. Boy was it cheesy! But I started thinking about it in relation to Optimization one day. You see, in the movie they were constantly changing up the window dressing of the window display. They wanted to make those mannequins look as good as they could, but also the things surrounding them. It created this great look that caused people walking by on the street to stop and stare, and perhaps more importantly for the department store, start talking.
You want your website’s Optimization to be just like that window display in Mannequin. Get those people that otherwise would have passed you by to stop and look. Remember, the longer someone stays on your pages, the better you’ll be in the eyes of Google. So to Optimize, you need to make everything on that page better. Your content has to be great, it has to look great, and your website has to function great. You need to give people value. And you need to play on their emotions.
Those people surfing on the internet are just like those walking by on the street. They’re looking for something catchy to grab their eye, and if they see it on your site, they’ll stop, look, and talk. They might even go inside and buy something, even if it wasn’t what was in that window.
Optimization is organization. You’re organized, things are done, everything looks good, and now you can rest. When your site is as good as it can be, you’ll have great Optimization. And that’s often the same thing as great content.