Follow the Spiders – Getting Familiar with SEO and Link Building

When someone uses Google or some other search engine to search for themselves the results compiled may not be what they expected. Searches for common names often result in pages related to most famous, or most recently relevant, person of that name popping up first.

John Smith

Why does this happen? For a little explanation we turn to Matt Cutts.

So how does one take advantage of the way that spiders work? If you’re going to do it yourself then you’ll want to start with Search Engine Optimization and Link Building.

Definitions:

  • SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to several different approaches to helping a website rank more highly in search engines.
  • Link building refers to the steps taken to establish inbound links to your website. These links help improve your website’s placement in a search engine’s results for any given keyword or keywords.
  • Spider: Also known as a web crawler, ant, or automatic indexer, a spider is a program that automatically fetches web pages.

To turn yourself into a true master of SEO and Link Building I recommend starting with The Beginner’s Guide to SEO and Beginner’s Guide to Link Building from Moz, but for some insight into the basics this is a good place to start.

Getting Started:

When someone searches a term, keyword, or phrase your website may or may not be a top result. Whether or not your pages earn a top spot is highly dependent on factors such as the relevance and usefulness of the content on that page and popularity of the content.

Search Engines utilize algorithms to select and display results based on previous run searches and their outcomes. Click-through-rates (CTR) and the number of pages an individual visits while on a site helps the search engine determine a page’s relevance. Most users trust that Google will provide the most useful results and won’t look past the first page. As such making sure your page is part of the top results, if not the top result, is paramount.

Here are some of the basis steps to take to increase your chances of being found by a search engine.

  • Ensure your site has high-quality information
  • Check to ensure you are indexed
  • Encourage others to link to you (whether you ask politely or publish content they want to share)
  • Identify keywords that you would like to be found for
  • Identify keywords users are likely to search for
  • Place keywords in meaningful locations. (Headlines and section titles, link text, page text, and page URL are good places to start)
  • Keep your website up-to-date

Now that you have a basic idea of SEO lets delve into Link Building.

Links contribute to how the quality of the content on your website is perceived. More links tend to signal to users that you have a higher-quality of content than other sites. Your links also help search engines determine if you’re worth showing in the top results of a given search. Remember that your goal for Link Building is to create inbound links. Your site must be worth being linked to or provide some value to the potential link-sharer.

Remember that Moz has a Beginner’s Guide to Link Building if you want to learn how.

Do not forget to measure the results of your SEO and Link Building efforts. Implementing these strategies is great, but you want to ensure that they are working. Here are a few measurements you might use to determine if your SEO practices are helping your organization.

  • Number of new visitors since implementing SEO.
  • Where your visitors are coming from. (Direct, Referral, Search)
  • If referral, which Search Engines are referring visitors? (Google, Bing, Yahoo)
  • Keywords, terms, or phrases visitors used to find your site?
  • Conversion rate (specifically by search query term)

I’ve mentioned Moz in a couple different places throughout this blog. In order to get an idea of what Moz actually does, and what they have done in the past, take a look at this 10 Year Anniversary video or this interview with Ran Fishkin from 2014.

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