SEO

What Every Graduate Should Know About SEO and Why

The reasons for SEO’s consistent popularity are obvious. Due to the Internet’s steadily growing nature where numbers of distinct URL addresses keep growing from the millions to hundreds of millions, and eventually into the billions. Quickly the internet has become a place of extreme competition for the attention of web searching users everywhere. If we factor in the fact that this same competitiveness for attention also made web advertising an equally fierce landscape that also gives site owners the burden of high spending cost, the need to keep a page well optimized becomes obvious, along with the immense popularity and importance of SEO.

The above factors are more than ever the case today and making sure that your optimization skills are honed to their finest possible understanding of how to give your pages high ranking is crucial if you want to gain public attention without spending thousands or even millions on paid advertising.

Thus, as a new graduate of university, college or an online education program, especially in marketing, sales and business related topics, you need to get a firm grasp on the essentials of sound SEO and how you can apply it to increasing readership, sales, reputation and popularity in your web based niche or the sites and platforms of your potential employers and personal clients.

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Remember, learning to do this and understanding SEO well will become increasingly crucial as the web grows in business and promotional importance, and new employers, as well as potential clients of your own education based career/business will almost certainly demand that you demonstrate to them your expertise in optimization’s latest, most important fundamentals and tactics. Let’s go over these essentials now.

Basic Rules

First, before anything else, we need to cover a few basic points. The most important of these, one you can never forget, is that SEO is not a one-time effort. It’s an ongoing process that evolves and leaves you having to evolve with it. Your competitors will constantly be trying to raise their own rank profiles and in order to keep up, you will constantly need to the same thing by repetitively following through with the essentials that we’re about to cover. Another important basic point is that SEO is not elaborate rocket science. Most of its essential components are fairly straightforward and only difficult in that they require a large amount of effort.

Finally, also understand that optimization does not need to be expensive; this is one of its chief benefits, the fact that it’s an inexpensive alternative to often extremely costly advertising systems when it comes to sales development and site promotion. Now, on to the mechanics….

Say No to Spam 

This is now the most important rule of optimization that there is. At one time, SEO “experts” could manipulate search engines quite easily into giving them high rank by creating an artificially derived perception of popularity on the web, leading to higher search rankings. This was done through various, somewhat complex, spam tactics that involved building false backlinks and fooling content tracking search algorithms with large quantities of often nonsensical keywords.

Since the basic intention of all major search engines was to make sure that the pages they rank offered the best possible results for their search users through algorithmic analysis of what to rate highly in results, spam SEO tactics were powerful because they fooled these primitive search algorithms into “thinking” that a page was valuable based on narrow metrics like numerous links form other sites and lots of searched for keywords inside the page’s content.

This is no longer the case and modern algorithms are far more nuanced in how they analyze your site. If you use optimization spam to try developing rank, they will almost certainly detect its intrinsically low quality and either ban your pages or completely de-rank you and destroy all your work at getting noticed.

Instead, create a strong profile that looks for real popularity by following through with the next items on our list.

Content is Crucial 

The search engines want your site content to be valuable to their search users; they want to give rank to pages that deliver information of high value and high relevance based on what some random Google, Yahoo or Bing user was looking for. Their algorithms give preference to sites whose content shows wide indicators of quality and popularity (more on this shortly). Thanks to the, now more human oriented, nature of algorithm metrics, you really need to develop this sort of high value content, whether it be text, video or image based (more on this as well).

Develop your content well and focus more of your optimization campaign’s energy into it than you would anywhere else. If you’re running an information site, then you’ll be developing content anyhow, so make it high value, relevant to your niche and highly fresh. If your website is directed more towards offering a product or service, then make sure that you quickly develop a blog component where plenty of free information content is being posted regularly. This will lead to higher ranking on search results, and those will lead visitors to your content pages –where they can develop confidence in your expertise and click through to your sales pages with more likelihood of trusting you enough to buy.

Interconnect as Much as Possible

Another major component of SEO is link building, but in this case it should be slightly expanded to encompass a more general strategy of interconnection.

In its more essential form, link building consists of doing everything possible to create a list of links to your pages from the pages of other sites with good reputation and relevance to your niche, at least on the page where they’re linking back to you. These backlinks, as they’re called, create a profile of value and popularity in the eyes of Google and other search engines, and as we’d mentioned above, this is a crucial component to being ranked well.

However, in order to build backlinks, you can’t simply spam other sites with URLs pointing back to your own website. You need to focus on value in what you offer, so that these sites link back to you willingly, either through their own initiative or because you offered to guest post for them and they trust you thanks to your existing content base. You see, again, the importance of human measured value perceptions is single biggest factor in sound site optimization.

By building your backlink profile in this organic way, you’ll be raising your profile in search while at the same time attracting numerous visitors to your pages and selling efforts from these other blogs or websites that are funneling relevant traffic to you.

Now, we’d mentioned interconnecting everything, so there are a couple more things to keep in mind when it comes to creating links. The first is that your pages themselves should be linked together well. By doing this, you’ll make sure that your content and information derived visitors can easily find their way to other parts of your site where you’re selling, and start buying from you. Secondly, you should also connect your content pages or websites to other sites and web platforms that you own –such as social media accounts and entirely different websites of yours, at least if they are relevant to the content of the site you’re trying to optimize.

Optimize Your Pages

So, we’ve covered the essentials of creating a high SEO profile derived from the human interest metrics that search engines and especially Google pay the most attention to. Now let’s briefly go over some basic on-page optimization essentials that will make your content and links more readable to the search algorithms and more searchable to engine users.

First of all, make sure that every non-text piece of content on your site is rooted in text, either through html tags, descriptions or CSS properties. This means that all your images, videos and flash animations need to be tied to text descriptions that include essential keywords for each item.

Secondly, apply the same to your internal site navigation menus and systems – the buttons that let viewers explore through your site’s pages. Do not build them through the use of flash or image based applications/code. Instead, make them text based.

Both of these things are crucial because search engine bots –those pieces of code that crawl the web for new content to analyze—cannot read imagery or flash. They need to see some text or text based code in order to find things on your page and rank them.

Also, as a last tip, make sure that all of your individual page URLs are SEO friendly. Thus, instead of URLs like www.myrandomsite.com/2013/03/djg59578555/htm, create something with actual words: www.myrandomsite.com/2013/03/essentials-for-seo-in-2013/.

e05443019a90705361c0455f9dcce571 64 What Every Graduate Should Know About SEO and Why
Kyle Olson is an SEO Outreach Manager at Digital Third Coast Internet Marketing firm in Chicago. You can find Kyle on Twitter or Google+. Connect with Digital Third Coast on Google +.
e05443019a90705361c0455f9dcce571 64 What Every Graduate Should Know About SEO and Why

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3 thoughts on “What Every Graduate Should Know About SEO and Why

  1. I’ve recently graduated from a liberal arts college and entered the SEO field, and I’d echo this article on the importance of understanding at least the fundamentals of SEO. The place I started was with SEOmoz’s “Beginner’s Guide to SEO,” which is rather long but is broken down into chapters in an easy-to-follow style with pictures. That guide paved my entrance to SEO.

    I definitely think any graduate with some understanding of SEO to offer a company will have a one-up on other job applicants, especially those going into marketing or social media positions. So many companies know next to nothing about SEO. I worked at an internship where I constantly worked on the company’s website, and not once did anyone mention SEO to me. It’s an invaluable area to be schooled in as a new grad.

  2. Hi Kyle

    You’ve covered the essentials but your last point is not necessarily possible.
    With traditional HTML sites, you can name the URL but with many modern data driven ones (as per our website) it is an automatic process that cannot be changed
    Is there is a way to override it?

    Thanks for the post

    Derek

  3. Thanks for this great post. Between the combination of graduating college in 2012 and the ever growing importance of SEO, I am on a constant search for knowledge. The search engine has advanced so much since I have left college and has already become obsolete in some ways. The one thing I am learning is being original and creating your own work!