SEO in a Nutshell — Now featuring Social Signals

Black Majik

Black Majik (Photo credit: Mitch_J)

Last week, someone I’ve been working with asked me about SEO, saying that, “people providing SEO seem to want everyone to think it’s some kind of black magic interspersed with some sort of ESP.”

That resonated with me, because it’s a sign of SEO firm desperation, of the snakeoil variety..

I followed up with “SEO in a nutshell” for my frustrated client and he immediately responded, saying, “That’s awesome.  I read pages and pages of info to get what you said very succinctly in two paragraphs!”

Since he found it helpful, I thought I’d share it here.

Very true – SEO “firms” try to mystify it, but it’s really pretty straightforward:

On Page Factors (things you can do to your site to improve rankings):
• Meta tag keywords (meta tags are in the site’s code, not visible to website visitors, but the search engines see and recognize them.)
• Meta description
• Page title
• Keywords in URL
• Keywords actually used as content on the page
• Keywords used in image descriptions
• Keywords used in tags (if using blog or other site that uses tags)

Off-Page Factors (what other sites are “saying” about your site):
• Social signals – importance has grown drastically in the past 6 months to year. (This includes Facebook likes, Tweets, Google +1’s, etc. – basically the idea is that if you have a good site/page, people will share it, because that’s what people do with good content.)

• Back links – this is just a term for when another site owner puts a link to your website on their website.  Almost works like a “vote” or a recommendation of your site.  Similarly to social signals, site owners typically don’t want to link to poor content. The higher authority of the page that links to you, the more influential that is in the eyes of the search engine.

• Reach via syndication – directories, local business listings, yellow pages, article directories, RSS directories, etc. (these are essentially used to get back links for your site.)

That’s really what it comes down to.  There are more details to go into, such as site structure, linking structure, hosting / ip address, etc. that’s a bit more advanced, but overall, really it’s straightforward.  It takes thought, research and work, but isn’t magic.  It also isn’t guaranteed, since the algorithms change constantly.

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