The other day someone asked me what exactly SEO is. It’s a good question, and one that I’m amazed I’ve never thought to answer on the blog before, because I know that I have mentioned it in posts a few times, in the past.
SEO basically stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
In Layman’s Terms this means optimising, or setting your website up, so that Search Engine’s (predominantly Google, but also Bing, Yahoo etc) can find the website and index it appropriately.
Search Engine’s being able to index your website well is incredibly important, because this is how people will find you when they search for specific keywords or terms. Therefore, SEO is the act of placing relevant keywords and terms into your content, so that people can find you – easily – through whichever search engine they choose to use.
For most people, SEO comes relatively naturally, because you instinctively create content that is relevant to your target audience. Sometimes, it is helpful to do some research to discover which keywords are popular at the moment, but if you know your audience well, it is often a matter of “common sense” and just using your initiative.
Nevertheless, never be tempted to “stuff” your content with keywords that you know are guaranteed to get a lot of hits, unless they are genuinely relevant to your content.
The problem with stuffing content with irrelevant but popular keywords is that you will:
- Annoy anyone who clicks on your link, on Google, only to discover that your website has absolutely nothing to do with what you are looking for
- What is the point of drawing in a lot of people who are not interested in what you have to offer? Sure, you’ll have big hits, but don’t expect any follow-throughs (sales, queries etc!)
- Search Engines are actually pretty smart – they can tell when a website is attempting to, some might say “deceive”, people into coming to their site, and there is a potential that your site will be penalised for doing it, which probably won’t do you any favours.