SEO: What is it and why is it important?

First, I’ll start with a definition: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in organic search results. The organic results are all the unpaid links that show up when you type in a request in a search engine like Google.

Why is it important? If your website or web page does not show up in search results, or shows up on page 15 of the results, your website will be basically invisible to anyone searching for your product, service or organization. And growing your business or organization will be significantly challenged because of it.

I’m on my third class in SEO at UC Davis and we are now deep in the weeds of how to improve SEO practices for websites. We are now examining the various analysis tools that can be used to examine your content and that of your competitors to determine way to improve organic search results. But, before I dive too deep, I think it would be beneficial to first explain the basics.

Currently, SEO results are based on algorithms that search engines use to organize and rank the billions of pages of content currently on the web. And some of these algorithms are not specifically publicized so many of them are educated guesses at what they might be.

However, the publicized details of SEO Best Practices are the ones that most companies need to focus on:

Content of Page

  • Good content supplies visitors with what they are looking for
  • Good content is linkable

Off-site

  • Inbound links to your site or your page from relevant sources

This is the most critical part of SEO that everyone needs to focus on. There are a ton of little things that will help, but these two are major contributors to most high-ranking websites and web pages. Create good content and then try to get links to it from highly-regarded sites relevant to the content.

The reason this is so important is that it’s almost impossible to fake. Black hat SEO (tricks to fool search engines) have tried many, many ways to gain favor in organic searches by trying to fool them. And almost all, if not all of them, have been detected and the sites that used them penalized.

This is the foundation to creating a successful website: Great content. Great content gets noticed by other relevant sites and linked to because of it. As more and more sites link to your site, your organic search results climb accordingly.

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