So how do you make heads or tails out of all this gibberish?
What you need to know before understanding SEO:
Let's get some definitions down first.
- "The search engines", this is a general term referring to the Websites we use to search for anything on the web.
Examples are Google (the undisputed heavyweight champ), Yahoo (second most widely used), MSN, and the list goes on
- "Web browser", this is the gateway to get on the World Wide Web.
Examples are Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari (for Mac Users), and there are a few more but you use those only if you are really trying to be different...
- "Domain name", this is the identifier to your website. Most of the time you can get away with leaving out the "www" part and just type the name in your "Web browser" (for example: NassauWebDesign.com), but you must always type what goes in after the Dot (.) In other words, the "www" is assumed because there is no other World Wide Web... There are different domain endings.
- Examples are .Com, .Net, .Org, .Edu, and this list is getting longer.
- 99% of ".Com" names are taken, ".Net" is not far behind. There is a science behind how you pick your domain name.
- Your one stop shop to buy a domain name is "GoDaddy.com" & no matter how much a web company says it costs, the price is the price, $10 per year, per domain. You can also check for availability here: www.godaddy.com
- "website", if you really must know, we came up with a collaboration of what is out there:
- “a connected group of pages on the World Wide Web regarded as a single entity, usually maintained by one person or organization and devoted to a single topic or several closely related topic.”. Source: Dictionary.com
- “a group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization”. Source: merriam-webster.com
- “A set of interconnected webpages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization. Usage Note: The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website seems to have progressed as rapidly as the technology itself. The development of website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to evolve into unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email has recently been gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there has been an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout.” Source: thefreedictionary.com
- "The end user", that would be you.
- "Key words", these are terms the "end user" types into "search engines", using their "web browser" of choice, to find "websites" that offer whatever they are looking for.
for example, web design Nassau county, Fernandina web design, Amelia island web design, and on and on.
- "Source Code", the definition is not as important as knowing how to view it. 2 ways, #1: If your "web Browser" has a "View" button up top, LEFT click it and then LEFT click "Source", now don't freak out, it's crazy alien code to most people, you are not alone! #2: pull up the website in question, then RIGHT click on any "empty space" (an area with nothing on it) & then LEFT click on "View Source".
- "meta tags", these are markers telling the search engines what you offer. They are built into the structure (the back end) of your website. The search engines use these to determine how relevant your site is to what they read.
Just to mention a few, at least all of the following MUST be included in you Source code along with the meta tags: page title,description, keywords, and a few more secret sauce ingredients...
So how in the world does the search engines "rate" all the millions of websites out there?
It's humanly impossible, so they use an algorithm along with a few other well kept, heavily guarded secrets they will not share with anyone. Since it's automated, if you don't have all your ducks in a row when they read your site (which is rumored to happen once a quarter, nobody exactly knows when), how do you expect them to refer you? Or more commonly used "I want my website to pop up". Your friends at Nassau WebDesign will help you understand.
Here it goes, using you new found knowledge; the following is a very basic explanation of how "SEO" works. Imagine you have a product or service for sale and there are people out there looking to pay money for it.
OK, you can think of "the search engines" as referral machines, they connect "end users" with "websites". Let's use Google as a default (for the sake of picking one). BTW, I'm going to call Google, Yahoo, and MSN "they".
Google's reputation as the most widely used search engine depends on them delivering EXACTLY what the end user is looking for. So the relevance of your website to the keywords you are advertising for is one important element. Not only if it's peppered throughout your website, but it has to be in your meta tags.
Also how many sites (again, that are relevant) link to yours and vice versa. See? I can link to everyone under the sun, but Google is only impressed if I can get other folks to have my link on their site, because that takes relationships, skill and credibility. So the name of the game is 2 way links, kind of like networking.
How long your domain name pointed to a website? This is another element engines use to gage websites. Just like a new business, you have to earn "the peoples" trust before you become the provider of choice. CAUTION: It's not how long you have owned it; the clock doesn't start until you have a website occupying the domain. Think of it this way, if I bought some office space and left it vacant, would people start trusting me?
Furthermore, if I had a rundown looking office would as many people come? A sharp website is your business' first impression on the web. It is dangerous to assume people won't judge you by your site!
These are just a few examples from the roster of "secret herbs & spices" they request you have in order to serve you up next time an "end user" comes looking for your service or product. Oh, and as if that didn't make it hard enough, the roster of "secret herbs & spices" changes periodically.