Whats all the fuss about website SEO?

What is all the fuss about website SEO? Does anyone actually know what it is these days?

I always thought SEO was simple. Write good content, make the page look good, get a few links to it and then Google and all the other search engines will find it, link it and rank you on the first page for the words you want. Has that really changed? I dont actually think it has. There is lots of talk about how you should get your page ranked, but really its going to come down to just a few things;

The content of the page.
The look of the page.
The links to the page/site.

Let me talk a little about each one, let me know if it makes sense or if you completely disagree with me.

The content of the page

Lets start off with what we know. We know people search the web looking mainly for information, we know Google and the other search engines look for words and how they relate to each other. So it sort of goes without saying that if you put the right words on a page, Google will find them (eventually) and people will read them (eventually). But what sort of content should it be? Well what is the website really about? There should be one or two key phrases that you want to get ranked for, then you write content around those phrases. Dont do lots of different pages, each about something completely different, thats just not going to work. Keep it clear, be authoritative and build up that little niche on the web. Theres a great article about this can be found about cornerstone content, go read it!

The look of the page

Google likes the page to look as simple as possible, so it can find the meat of the page as easily as possible. This means follow some simple rules. Reference as few files as possible. Put the stylesheets at the top, with the right meta tags set (but please forget about the meta keywords! Why? (Look here for the answers) and your javascript at the bottom, if at all possible. Forget using tables to layout the content, use some of those new HTML5 standards! If you have done that, Google will be happy, but will your readers/buyers? If the site is not visually appealing people are just not going to buy/spend time on your site. A good design friend is forever telling me "People buy with their eyes, if they dont like the look of it, they are not going to part with their money!" So make the site and the pages visually appealing, Simple as that!

The links to the page/site

OK so you have this visually appealing, well written site/page with content that people want to read, that Google love so how do you get it ranked well? The answer is meaningful back links to the page and the site in general. Honestly this is something you dont always have full control over. You cant tell people what link text to put when they link to you, but you can build some links yourself. Spend time looking for other websites that discuss similar things to you. If they run a blog or forum, contribute to them. Dont forget to put a link back to your site/page in the reply you post. Oh and please dont do the spammy thing of "great article/blog post, I found it really useful" be constructive with the comments and posts you make, if you do others will read your comment and follow the link so you win with both Google finding more links to you and people reading what you have written and visiting your site. Its a time-consuming route, but one of the most effective routes to increase your rankings.

These should really go without saying, but use the social media to your advantage! Have a Google+1 button on your pages, have a Facebook like button, and a tweet button. In fact you could add the reddit and stumbledupon buttons as well as a few others. Give the people who visit your site the chance to share for you.

Jonathan Gill
Techize
http://www.techize.co.uk
All your technology problems solved.

Jonathan Gill
Techize