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SEO 101: An Introduction

If you have a website, you’ve most likely heard the acronym “SEO” thrown around a lot without getting a fast and easy explanation for what it is. Here’s a quick rundown to get you up to speed.

What Does SEO Do?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, determines how you rank on search engines like Google. At its most basic, SEO is a set of rules for optimizing a website for search so it’s easier for it to find, index, and rate your site. These rules are generally built around avoiding plagiarism and spam and providing users with the most accurate, well written, and engaging content that meets the user’s needs.

How Does SEO Work?

Search ranking is based on a search engine’s most recent algorithm. SEO shows search engines what’s on your website and how relevant it is to what users are searching for. By extension, it helps improve your site’s visibility, allowing it to reach more people.

SEO Tip: Avoiding Penalties

Using shady SEO tactics is one of the worst things you can do for your site. Search engines hate it when you try to “beat” the system.

  • Don’t keyword stuff: filling your site with keywords and repeated phrases that you want to rank for basically makes it spam.
  • Don’t pay for your links: buying links to help boost your search engine ranking is not worth it.
  • Don’t cloak/hide text: hiding your site in a way that shows the search engine crawlers a completely different site than what users actually see, and hiding keywords by making them the same color as the page background (Note: there are times when you may want or have to hide your content from indexing. For example, you may want to prevent legitimate forms of your content, like a PDF, from sticking you with a duplicate content penalty.).

Why Do I Need SEO?

A lot of people tend to believe that they don’t need SEO—that it’s a crock or even a scam. Perhaps this thinking comes from people trying to do it themselves and failing rather than hiring a knowledgeable SEO agency. Or they believe those shady emails that promise impossible results and never deliver.

We won’t lie—SEO can be unpredictable, and does have its limits. It’s also not static endeavor; you’re either going forward or sliding back, and you have to keep up with it. Combined with AdWords, you can get a quick ROI while you build up your organic prose. Remember that it’s not an instant fix and you won’t get results right away. Good SEO takes constant vigilance, a solid SEO strategy, and implementation. So look for a reputable SEO agency, don’t partake in shady tactics, and be patient. SEO is worth it and will help your site and business succeed.

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