A Machete and Some Valuable SEO Basics Before You Go Trough the Information Jungle

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SEO is shortened for search engine optimization. Which basically means to attempt to put yourself in the top spot of your niche in the search engine rankings. If succeeded, that means to get on the first page on your keyword or niche searches, which again leads to a lot of traffic (aka. visitors) to your site. The more visitors you attract to your site, the bigger chance of cashing in.

To be in the best shape of optimizing your site you need to understand how the search engines function, how they gather information and how they decide who will be displayed as the top result for each keyword. To explain that we need to get back to the roots of the internet. You see, the internet was not built for YouTube, Twitter, Facebook etc, these are “after-products” of the invention. The internet itself was built for one single reason – to exchange information in a faster, simpler and smarter way. In the beginning the internet was made up by just a couple of different directions. If you were on the internet way back, you were either doing this or you were doing that. Now, many years later, the internet seems like an endless line of sites, blogs, services etc. Everyone and everything is online these days.

As the internet grew, or exploded so to say, the need for a way to connect or define the right path to the right information arrived. And so came the birth of the search engines. Their job was to make sure that if you were looking for information on a specific subject, you received a list of sites that provided you with just that. And not everything else as well.

The way it has been constructed is that the search engines crawls all sites on the net, and stores the information in their database. Based on what you have written, the engine will “create an image” of what your site is about. If you run a site or blog about something specific… like fishing for example, it is natural that you are going to use certain words in your text that relates to that subject. These are called keywords. Keywords is what that connects your text to the peoples that wants to read it. That means that if someone searches Google, Yahoo! etc. for the term “fishing tips”, and you have an article called “fishing tips for the novice”, your site/article are going to be one of the options that someone will receive in the matching results returned by the search engine. Simply because your article contains a matching word.

There is a bit more complexity to it of course, but this is THE basic knowledge you need to have to be able to learn more. The second thing that is absolutely imperative to know is how and why some sites end up at the top of the search results for certain keywords – and also why most don´t. See, your fishing tips article might be the greatest ever written on that topic, but the engines that crawls the material does not directly recognize what that is quality or not. It do however appreciate the fact that it is unique, and something that it has not run over before. But it does not review it in any other way then to categorize it as being about what your words say that it is. So, how do search engines rank sites?

The answer is: by votes.

Well, to be honest, no one but themselves know the exact all-including and correct answer. But what we know, and what that is the most powerful, is votes. Or links as they are actually called. It at least makes perfect sense in relation to the foundation of the internet. How can the search engines decide who that provides the best and most helpful answer or solution to your question/problem? They do by collecting peoples opinions on the range of individual solutions that exist on the internet.

See, when you link to another site you´re helping the engines with two things. The first one is to “cast a vote” on that the other site content is good and that it should be read by others. The second one is to label the other sites content. Links called “popular video sharing site” and “http://www.youtube.com” could both links back to the welcome page of YouTube, the difference is that the first link labels the page as being about those words and help the search engines understand better what the site is about. The second one is just a general vote.

There are a few aspects you should take into consideration though. Because there are some links that are more valuable than others. The most powerful links you can get is from those within the same niche or keyword as those you use yourself – for very obvious reasons. If you’re looking for help and information on a cure for a certain illness, you don´t want an constructor´s opinion on it – you want a doctors. A “doctor site” that recommends another “doctor related” article or product, is therefore more valuable. Saying that, this does not mean that all other links is worthless. By all means, the more links the better. Just use most of your time and focus on getting the quality ones.

Secondly, there exist a substantial difference to how much each links weights in terms of pushing you up the rankings. As anyone can claim to be “doctors” on the internet, those that are confirmed to be holders of valuable information will have more power in their links then those that do not. The presidents voice speaks louder than a local politician, even though they both work with politics. In that sense, one real quality link can be worth the same for your site as a bunch of others combined. Your job is really just to appear (and hopefully also be) the most relevant place to find information on your chosen topic. Just keep that in mind and you should do fine.

…and hopefully also have a better basic understanding before you go trough the rest of the SEO jungle, which is quite large and sometimes easy to get stuck in.

I wish you the best of luck!

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