Since the late 90s people have battled out this question on forums, in dingy bars, in the back of New York taxis and in bustling Mumbai restaurants.. To put it bluntly, SEO is the course of action that results in improving the rankings of a website in a given search engine (mostly Google) – First you find the ‘keywords‘ that when searched for should make your website appear. Keywords are chosen based on the type of traffic you want to drive and users you want to target.. then when you’re good and ready you get started with the SEO procedure itself..
But this ‘procedure’, and the ‘how to’ has been the fuel for heated debates (and even fiery arguments) around the world for nearly two decades. And to be honest, no one is backing down.. Everyone believes they have the ‘golden ticket’ to success, and to make matters worse, certain techniques and tactics have worked for periods of time, before being ‘shutdown’ in the following months ? however this doesn’t stop a thousand people from swearing on Aladdin’s underwear that a method still works..
So let’s clear the fog, hose down the windows, and take a look at what criteria is really needed to gain those sought after search engine rankings!
Firstly, let’s talk about ‘on-page’ SEO. This is something that the majority of people do agree on (for the most part!). This basically requires that your website contains the elements it needs for good rankings ? think keywords correctly placed in pages with a favourable density, meta tags, meta descriptions and good linking structures and menus.. People will still argue these specifics ’till the cows come home, but in general the SEO community agrees somewhat that these factors are important and should be carried out in a fairly uniform way.
Okay, get the guns, artillery and Sherman tanks out.. we’re about to talk ‘off-page’ SEO.. This is the real ‘meat’ of SEO where men will kill their own brothers for failing to concede that one type of link is better than another.. This is the dark magic that occurs outside the walls of your website and in the battlefield that is the world wide web.. or for a less dramatic description, ‘external elements’.
‘Off-page’ SEO is all about connections. When Google decides which websites to rank highly on its search engine for specific terms, it is generally agreed that it takes a look at the ‘connections’ and ‘associations’ that different websites have. That is to say, if you are trying to rank for the keyword ‘best microphone’ it would be beneficial to be linked to by other websites that discuss this topic, and for best results you’d want links that are from websites that only focus on this niche. Oh, and if you can get a link from the homepage of one of these sites, or even better if the anchor text mentions ‘best microphones’, then you’re really in business (relatively speaking!).
But this is all very vague.. we could sit here for hours and debate the best anchor text variety, or the optimal link velocity, or how to correctly manage social signals.. but you don’t care about this! And you shouldn’t! Your job is to run your business, and the job of whoever you hire is to figure out these annoying, tedious questions (we love it really!)..