SEO Basics [Lesson 1]: What is SEO and Why Should I Care?

It's Just a Search Engine, It's not that Smart!

Google, Yahoo! and Bing are the search engines that deliver nearly 100% of web content to users.  They use high end mathematics to try and figure out what someone wants based on the text typed into the search bar.  When the submit button is clicked, these search engines try to deliver the most relevant content possible.

So How Do They Know?

The reality is that machines are pretty dumb.  They can process enormous amounts of information in a short period of time, but understanding human language is more than just letters on a screen.

The search engines are looking at the words on web page and cataloging them into a huge database.  When you type a search term and hit submit, they computers look through the database for the terms you entered and try to find sites that they deem “important” for that term.  They deliver their guess and you begin to click.

The problem is that search engines cannot understand human language.  They cannot interpret design or meaning.  They simply compare data and try to deliver based on a very complicated mathematical formula.

So What About My Website

If you want search engines to look at your site and view it as important for a particular search term, you have to train the search engine.  You have to lead them down a very specific path to help teach them why you are important and why your website should rank.  They are toddlers.  They only do what they are told and can’t figure it out on their own.

The process teaching of a search engine about your website is Search Engine Optimization, SEO.

The definition of SEO is the active practice of improving internal and external aspects of a website in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines.

So, Why Should I Care?

The reality is the only way to significantly improve the amount of traffic you get to your website is to make sure it is presented in a way that search engines can understand it.  They really need to be spoon fed your site.

If you want to make it to the first page of Google or Yahoo! for “underwater basket weaving,” then you need to help the search engines understand that your site is an authority on that topic.

If you are successful at teaching the search engines, then you will reap the rewards of major traffic.  Most reports indicate that over 40% of all clicks go to website holding the number one position for a search term.

So this means, that if “underwater basket weaving” gets searched 100 times per day and you have optimized your site to teach the search engines that your site is relevant, and you’ve earned the number on position, then you could expect between 40 and 50 visitors to you site per day.  If you don’t rank for that term, you could expect 0 visits to your site per day.  That is significant.

If you are trying to grow a business and make it profitable through online traffic, you MUST rank well!  This is fundamental for successful online business.

But What Do I DO?

The problem is that most people don’t know what to do or where to begin.  This can be an overwhelming task.  It is not easy.  There are millions of web sites on the internet all competing for the same thing, CUSTOMERS!

But do not be discouraged.  The purpose of this e-course it to teach you the basics of SEO.  It will not make you an expert!  But, if you can do the 20% of SEO that I will show you, you will earn 80% of the benefit.  Only 20%!  You don’t have to be an SEO ninja, just willing to do some work and make some changes to your website.

The Basics Defined:

We have found that there are three components to basic SEO.

  • Content
  • Community
  • Connection

Each component leads to the next and as we move through this course, we are going to digest each one and provide very specific action steps.  We will give you homework, but it is intended to help you improve the performance of your site (I always hated busy work so none given here.  Promise!).

So, What Happens Next?

You will get a new lesson delivered to your inbox.  The course is designed to give you all the tools you need to optimize your site to get results quickly.  Results will vary and some will rank better and faster than others, but the goal is for everyone to see improvements in site traffic before the end of the course.

Before we move forward, let me ask you to do two things.

1) Add to your email program’s “white list” or list of “safe senders” so you’re sure to get all of the lessons. The kind of business we do is also a favorite topic of spammers (I cannot tell you how much I hate spammers). So if you don’t do that, some messages might end up in your junk folder. And we don’t want that!

2) Create a special folder in your email program for these lessons. Because this is a course, and not just a random newsletter, you’ll want to refer back to the lessons again later. So keep them someplace you can find them easily.

Let’s begin.


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This lesson is one in an e-course on the Basics of SEO.  It covers the cornerstones of basic SEO.