I was replying to a user on a internet forum about the very basics of SEO. It is my answer to SEO made simple.
Google (and the other search engines) want to know what your article is all about. The only way to do that is to get that information from the text that you provide. AND, they want to know how good you are at telling them what the article is about.
When we put an article on the web, whether we use WordPress or straight html or Joomla or Drupal or Dreamweaver or any other tool, ultimately each web page is converted to html so that your web browser can “read” the page. We call the “behind the scenes” html as the “source”. This is all part of the basics of SEO.
The search engines look at a few things in the HTML source to identify what the web page is about.
- Title meta tag
- Description meta tag
- First keyword of the keyword meta tag
- In the anchor of any link that links to your page
- Get external links with the keyword in your ancher
- In any image that is on the page (alt tag)
- And of course, a few places in the body of your article. Don’t over use, but certainly use the keyword 3-4 times, especially in the first paragraph and in the last paragraph.
First it looks at the actual title of the article. This is the title that will show in your browser tab at the top of the page. When you are building a web page, this is the title of the article at the top. In WordPress, it is the title of your article.
However, you can add “code” in your web page that is called “meta tags”. The three important meta tags are Title, Description, and Keywords. If you are building the website with HTML or some program that builds separate web pages, then you need to add these meta tags. Most software will give you that option somewhere. If you are using WordPress, there are some fields below where you type your article that are called Title, Description, and Keywords.
The person viewing the page doesn’t see these when he is looking at the web page on the internet, but the search engines do, and this “meta data” helps the search engine decide what the article is about. So, the better you know how to put this information in and make it consistent, the more the search engines like you and ultimately bring your pages to the top of the search results. (THAT’s what we all want!). Also, the person does see the meta title and the meta description in the actual search results. That’s what you see when Google gives you a list: meta title, meta description . . . if you provided it. Otherwise, it just picks up your main title and the first bit of text (about 160 characters) from your article.
Anchor and Target are also important. When you write an article and link to another article, it is important to know where you are linking FROM and what you are linking TO. You know the text that we click to go somewhere else? That is called the anchor text. The page that we end up on is called the Target.
So, Google loves it when we use within our anchor text the exact same keyword as will be in the target title. That doesn’t mean that the anchor and title should have ONLY those keywords, but those keywords should be clearly within the anchor and title. If you can do that for every link and page, Google will eventually cuddle up nice and cozy. You’ll be best buds, especially if you have done keyword research that identifies keywords that people are actually using.
So, always create good anchor and title links to every page on your website. If you can control the incoming links (from other sites), it is very, very good if you can get the incoming link to use the same keyword in the anchor as your title page. If someone else is writing the article, you may not have the option. But if you write an article for some other site and link to your site . . . ALWAYS know to which page you are linking and use the appropriate keyword in your anchor text.
So what’s the “alt” tag on an image? When you load an image, there are two “names”. The first is the actual file name. If you can use that image file name identical to the keyword, that is helpful also. But the alt tag (sometimes also called description when you load a graphic) is very important. Always use a keyword that people are searching for that identifies the graphic. This will also be listed if the person hovers their mouse over your image. Google indexes that alt tag as well.
All of this is called SEO. It is only the beginning of what you can do with SEO, but it is the more, most, mostest important part. Our lesson 4 is called [intlink id=”173″ type=”post”]What is SEO? and How do you find Good Keywords?[/intlink]
Just a parting thought. I have a garden website called Learn to Garden Like a Pro at LivingGardenSeries.com. I have watched the statistics. Pages that have good SEO get 10-1 hits over those that I wrote quickly and ignored the SEO. (But I have to be honest. Sometimes I’m lazy and don’t do it.) But I see constant incoming traffic from google analytics for strongly seo-ed pages.
This is just the beginning. I have a excellent video training program that goes into depth on SEO, e-commerce, WordPress, Facebook, Youtube, link building, email marketing and list building, . . . We would love to have you visit us . . . even join us. It’s worth it.