SEO, Search Engine Optimization, will drive free traffic to your website if you can get top rankings for popular search terms. Of course, when we talk about Internet search, most people mean Google, which is by far the most popular search engine, commanding at least 65% of Internet searches.
So for this series that I’m beginning on SEO, I will focus primarily on Google organic search optimization. The same principals will also work on the other, less used, search engines. I’ll also include some separate posts on specific techniques for the other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. But for the most part, SEO means getting to the top of Google.
There are no SEO shortcuts. You can’t trick your way to the top of Google. Google has become successful by providing its customers with the most relevant search results. The best way for you to get to the top is to provide the most relevant content. If you help Google to be successful then you will be successful.
According to the book, Outsmarting Google by Evan Bailyn, the most important elements of Google PageRank, in order, are:
- The total Trust Rank of inbound links
- The meta page title
- The page URL
The second and third most important factors in Google search ranking are ones that you have control over. The most important factor, Trust Rank of inbound links, is not something that you can control; you can only try to influence it.
Trust Rank is a term coined by Bailyn. Google itself talks about Page Rank, a play on the name of one of Google’s founder’s, Larry Page. The idea is that you can determine the how relevant a site is to a particular search term based on the inbound links to the site; similar to the idea that the best academic reasearch paper would be the one that is cited most by other researchers.
However, all inbound links are not the same. If you have links to your website from other websites that have been setup solely for the purpose of providing links, known as link farms, it may actually hurt your Google ranking. There are sites that Google trusts more than others. Google has an unpublished, secret trust ranking for each website. Your site’s Trust Rank is the total number of inbound links times the trust rank of each link. The more Google-trusted sites that link to you, the higher you will appear in the Google search rankings for the keywords related to the text of the links to your site.
Since you don’t know which sites are most trusted by Google, and even if you did you can’t put links to your site on someone else’s website, then you are limited in what you can do to improve your Google ranking.
However, that does not mean you should give up because there is nothing you can. There are specific things you can do to increase your Google search ranking for the keywords that will make you successful. I will cover all these steps in this series of blog posts.
The major tasks of SEO are:
- Select Keywords
- Create content
- Encourage links
Those are all things that you can do, and I will walk you through, step-by-step, on how to do each one. So be sure to subscribe to my blog feed so that you won’t miss any of these posts.
Read part 2: Learn from Your Competitors