Search engine optimisation for the uninitiated

This post was written in January 2012 as training session for a month long Facebook event. The search engine optimisation advice that it contains still holds true today in 2013.

I’m going to be hijacking the Idea Girl Media Facebook page today as part of the January Jig. A big thank you to Keri Jaehnig for hosting this event on her page and for bringing together such a wonderful group of people to share their expertise.

I’m going to walk you through the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) for small businesses and bloggers. The session today is based on the training that we usually deploy. It’s very informal so feel free to jump in with questions at any time. If you’re reading this after the event feel free to email me, leave a comment on this post or message me on Facebook.

This video introduction explains what SEO is and why it is something you need to get right for your web presence.

So, grab your beverage of your choice, get comfortable and let’s see what we can demystify for you.

Here’s a rough transcription of the video content.

What is search engine optimisation?

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines.” Wikipedia

It’s not voodoo or snake oil — it’s simply that search engines do not see your website in the same way as your human visitors do. They read the code that your site is made up of and follow the links you provide. They attempt to make sense of the text you’ve written and then determine the quality and relevance in what they find.

Why do you need to optimise?

  • So that your site is indexed by the search engines.
  • So that you get targeted traffic for the right keywords.

The search engines index billions of pages and they use very complex algorithms to do so. But the algorithms are not as all knowing as you think they might be. In the early days of search the algorithms were like young children — they had a lot of knowledge, but were unable to tie it altogether or understand it completely.

Year on year the search algorithms are increasing in complexity and they understand more of what you write, but they haven’t yet reached full maturity. They’re like teenagers sometimes you still have to explain things to them in words of one syllable.

This this is why it’s vital that you provide the search engines with all the pointers they need to determine what your site is about, that it’s relevant and that you’re providing quality content about your topic.

What you need to optimise

There are many more onsite and offsite tasks that need to be taken care of, but these ones will get you headed in the right direction.

Each hour I will walk you through how to check your website against these various categories, I’ll be around to answer any questions you might have and help out with any issues you come across.

Let’s get to work. Don’t forget you can ask me any questions you have in the comments section.

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