Search Engine Optimization.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty important you brush up on understanding SEO if you want a site, blog or story to thrive. My editors for the numerous sports media outlets I write for hound me about SEO development.
I decided to partake in an independent study to better get a grasp on SEO, it’s importance and how to create unique, interesting content. The first piece I read, Moz’s “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO”, was a nice starting point for a young journalist like myself.
Here’s what I thought…
First and foremost, I learned that search engines have two functions: crawling and building an index, and providing search users with a ranked list of the websites they’ve determined are the most relevant.
Always good to have a starting point.
The concept of imagining the internet as a city subway system was relevant to me, due to the fact I grew up about 20 minutes outside of New York City (the internet can also stink like any alleyway in the Big Apple).
Basically, when trying to use a “marketer’s mindset”, one needs to also be a bit savvy with search engines and their inner workings. Good to know.
Empathy for your audience?
I asked myself, “What the hell does that mean?”
I understood it more as I read the second chapter. Basically, build the information for the user, not the search engine! Easy enough, right?
Think top of the page, and possibly organic vs paid. I’m kind of getting this….kind of.
Ch. 3, 4, 5
I started browsing through, and found a common thread: make things easy. Whether it’s for robots or humans, make it easy. I like the sound of that, but how do we do this?
Search engines have limitations. Isn’t technology great? I thought it was supposed to be perfect! Damn you search engines! But, really one needs to understand the limitations a search engine has. This whole SEO thing is kind of like one big competition of websites competing to be seen by consumers.
In Chapter 4, I learned that search engines see sites differently than we do. Kinda neat. I also learned about the dreaded scrapers, and sites who like to re-use content. It’s a dog eat dog world.
Chapter 5 was very valuable. Keyword research… I hate research…but keyword research is essential. Moz has a cool keyword explorer.
Usability is key amongst site goers. Easy to navigate sites get the best hits. Pretty clear concept.
Word of mouth! Sally likes my site, she tells Mike, he tells his friends, they tell their friends and BOOM!
Social sharing is a game changer, and I’m pretty glad that I am active and have a great social network of educated, informed and interactive users.
I learned a lot about SEO tools, and sitemaps to be specific. I like how they “help you understand how search engines crawl through your site.”
Chapter 9 was your basic myths and misconceptions page, but it’s always good to know what’s real and what’s not. I am now informed on keyword density, meta tags and other key pieces of SEO that have myths surrounding them.
Perhaps my most favorite chapter, chapter 10, opened my eyes to actually tracking success. One must keep track of direct navigation, referral traffic and search traffic. It takes a lot of work to run a site. Moz has a paid analytics site, but Yahoo! offers a free one.