What is SEO? Are people who are new to SEO understanding it correctly?

What is SEO?

Many would feel this to be a question of novice. There are tons of materials available online that speaks about SEO. But, my question is how many of them are detailed and clear? Hope, many would agree that the more a newbie starts reading about SEO,the more he  gets confused about SEO.

I have been there; I have been a member of SEO forums like warriorforum, digitalpoint and webmaster world. Sadly, the more I started reading these forums the more I got confused. Because, each members of these forums will have their own methods of SEO. A particular method being endorsed by one experienced guy will not be endorsed by another. What would a newbie to SEO do in this situation?

Many newbie’s panic, because there is no written set of rules for SEO. It’s not a computer program where the end result is based on what you program. There are many external factors that decide the position of a website in the search results.

SEO is not a science, it’s an art where creativity rules. The more creative you become with your SEO the more successful you become. So, how a person who is new to SEO can learn SEO? There are few sources where a newbie can learn the basics of SEO. They are

SEOMOZ – Paid

Distilled – paid

Point Blank SEO – Paid

Search Engine Watch – SEO news and updates

SEO book – Paid

I would say the money spent to learn SEO from the above companies are worth spending

From the limited knowledge what I have gained in the last 3 years of practicing SEO, I would suggest the following checklist for the new SEO people before they start optimizing their website. Hope this will help them to understand the SEO basics correctly.

Basics of On-page Optimization

A well planned job is half done, after the recent algorithm updates from google, now on-page optimization is more important than even before. A good SEO starts right from deciding the niche of your website and then with keyword research

1. If you are new to online marketing, I would suggest not to get in with competitive niche like dating, pay day loan and  weight loss to name a few.

2. If your website is new, the best option is to select keywords that is long, has less than 800 searches (exact match) and low in competitors. To determine this you can either use google keywords tool or SEO MOZ keyword analysis tool.

3. Make your website content rich. Have a minimum of at least 5 to 10 content rich articles, each targeting 1 or 2 keywords.

4. While optimizing a particular page, make sure the primary keyword is at the start of the title and title should only have a maximum of 70 characters.

5. Make the meta description as descriptive as possible with traces of keywords. The meta description can have a maximum of 160 characters.

6.Add your primary keyword to the H1 tag and secondary keyword to H2 or H3 tags.

7. It’s advisable to have only one H1 tag in a single web-page.

8. Make a note to add ALT text to your images. This will help your images to get ranked in google image search.

9. Create internal links between pages in your website. I would say this is the first step of link building. Creating internal links also helps search engines to index the pages much faster.

10. Have a simple and easy url structure. People who have website designed using e-commerce platforms like Magento, should be attentive to optimize their url structure. In simple words the url of your pages should consist of products you offer or service you provide.

11. On an average, appropriate keyword usage in the content can be around 4 times.  To be perfect the keyword density can be around 2% to 3 %

12. Do not stuff your content with keywords. Use plurals and synonyms of your keywords.

13. Make sure you have a simple site structure. A complex site structure can possibly break the flow of search engine index.

14. Create a robots.txt file, indicate if there are any pages, which you do not want search engines to access.

15. Finally, create a google webmaster tools account, create a sitemap for your website and upload the sitemap.