SEO at a Glance

What’s SEO?

SEO is shorthand for “Search Engine Optimization”, or managing how high your webpage ranks in search engine results. If you want your page to be found on the internet, you need SEO. There’s a little variance between search engine algorithms and what they look for in a page, but the core principles are the same:

Key Words

Search engines use whatever words are entered into their search bar to try to find the best matches for users. In order to rank the best results, they check webpages in part for keyword density. For example, if someone looks up “SEO”, engines will look for pages with the word “SEO” on them a decent number of times. There’s not a magic keyword to non-keyword ratio to make your page perform better, especially with search engines evolving. However, as long as your page reads well and your keyword isn’t overused, you should be fine.

There are also sweet spots on the page where you want to make sure your key word of choice appears: namely, the page title, at least one header, and in your page’s url.

Length

Search engines are aware that there’s a lot of trashy content out there on the internet. More credible sources, like news stations, will usually have much more text on the page than some teenager’s LiveJournal. If you want your page to seem legitimate, a good rule of thumb is to keep your page’s content above 300 words.

Links

The more connected a page is to other parts of the internet, the more credibility it has. It’s the reason that bots running social media accounts follow so many people; a connection to human users, especially ones with large audiences, makes the bot’s profile less suspect.

This isn’t to say you should stuff links in where they don’t belong.

Just try to include both an inbound (to another page on your website) and outbound (to another website) link on pages when you can. Also remember that not all webpages are equal; a link to the New York Times will offer more authority to your page than a link to a Reddit thread.

This isn’t a comprehensive guide; Google alone supposedly has about 200 factors that go into ranking pages. If you’re interested in further reading on SEO, here’s a more in-depth beginner’s guide.

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