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What is SEO?

SEO actually stands for Search Engine Optimization, and if you ask me, the term already defines itself quite well. You generally want to optimize your site for Search Engines. You might think I’m making fun of you, but that’s actually how it is. Search Engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing are what you can call portals to the rest of the World Wide Web. In a lot of cases, it’s in their hands if your site gets visited at all through natural search. Generally speaking, if you are not indexed by Search Engines (especially Google) then you’re dead.

Every time I tell my friends that I do SEO for my blog, their reaction is always ?_?, so yeah that makes me feel pretty smart.

I’ll try to explain this better through an example. Let’s say you sell donkeys. Even if your site is donkeys.com, that in itself won’t be a guarantee that it will be at the top of the Google search list when someone types in ‘donkeys’ in the search query. The task of optimizing the word might be easier with this though, seeing as any of your URLs have the keyword already, and will be searched even if someone just links your URL. It is also easier seeing as people who naturally link to you will use the keyword “donkey” for the link.

Heck, why the hell are we talking about donkeys?

How about something that not just farmers can relate to? I’ll give an example that is closer to home: books.com does not come out at all in the first page when you type books, what you can see there are other more optimized sites like Google Books. (Interesting how Barnes and Nobles actually own the URL books.com, lucky or expensive for them, as they might even have bought it from some lucky guy who used to own it.) So how do sites come out there through a word or phrase? Simple, they optimize that particular keyword(s) through tons of backlinks with optimized keywords.

How did they do it?
So the keyword they wanted to optimize is ‘books’, so what these sites did was use ‘books’ over and over again in building backlinks and maybe also their site (be careful of keyword stuffing or overly/needlessly repeating a keyword in your post many times over just to get searched in Google). Although it would be hard to rank first for something as widely optimized and competed for as books, that is why I would like to explain to you how to exploit the Long Tail Keywords.

Short Tail VS Long Tail Keywords

‘Books’ is considered short tail, while ‘Young Adult Fiction Books’ is considered long tail. In building keywords, it is important to use long tail keywords because the short tail part of it will also be included. ‘Books’ will still be included in a backlink for ‘Young Adult Fiction Books’ so you will be searched for more terms for a lesser amount of time promoting, or lesser amount of links.

You can actually use Google Adwords Keyword tool to determine which keyword fits your post best. Remember, you can’t rely on just logic, you have to use tools. If you are just going to use this tool now, you’ll be surprised just what people search for and the odd arrangements. For example, people also search for ‘Ratings Movie’ instead of ‘Movie Ratings’. It might sound odd to you, but that’s what the tool says, and I think this Google Keyword Tool is your best bet seeing as Google actually owns it (and who knows Google better than Google?).  The keywords that are searched the most are not necessarily the best ones seeing as you can have a lot of competition. Find a good balance between Global Searches and Competition.

Over Optimization of Keywords

Although there is also such a thing as Over Optimizing a Keyword, wherein you used a particular word or phrase for a backlink way too much. Big companies are most of the time at fault in this, because they can have thousands of backlinks made at their disposal via a whole team of backlink builders. What they fail to consider is to build links using a variety of keywords that would look more natural for Google. Failing to do so can cause you to be penalized and pushed back in the search query.

Smaller bloggers need not worry about this really seeing as in most cases you are the only one working on backlinks for you blog, but you still have to make it look natural. Building Links for Traffic Generation: Natural Search VS Paid Search
You will find it more advantageous to be found via natural search rather than paid search through ads. This means that a person visits your site via a keyword through a search engine like Google rather than clicking an ad or PPC to your site. You will find the first suggestion to gain you more readers in the long run (PPC or banner ads are good for instant traffic though and might even convert to new readers) and it is by far cheaper. Of course, if you gain a lot of traffic through paid search, then this will also be counted in a Page Rank update and you will be more likely found via natural search. Of course it is still best to use both methods, but if you have to choose one, natural search wins hands down.