SEO in a Nutshell?
There is a lot of buzz from time to time about the death of SEO. What does that really mean?
Black-hat SEO is dead... long live White-hat SEO! Yes, you can be penalized if you don't do it right.
What is SEO?
Primarily, SEO means designing your website to help the right people find you.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has several major parts: planning, on-page, and off-page optimization.
Planning means understanding your customer, clearly defining your niche, brand-image, and assessing your competition. Characterize your “customer personas” to understand the different kinds of customers that you want to approach. Competitive analysis helps you to understand your environment. SEO is a key part of online marketing.
ON-page SEO means applying good design principles, having a useful layout, and providing unique content with value to real visitors, not only for the search engines. It also means paying attention to your relevant keywords.
On every web page, use a unique and appropriate HTML title, meta-description, and carefully chosen H1 and H2 headings on main sections and major paragraphs. Tagging your images with ALT text will also help, as does the anchor text in your internal and external hyperlinks. (Anchor text is the text that you click on when you click any link on any webpage. Keywords in anchor text tells the search engines what the writer considers most important about that link. It attracts attention and selective clicks. It is the writer's vote for another webpage.)
It's very important to have content on your webpages that provides real value to real users. Using appropriate keywords on your webpages helps the search engines understand the main purposes of your site. To check your title, description, and headings, use the show source option in your web browser.
Check for the title tag, description tag, H1 and H2 tags. You should not have more than one H1 and a few H2 tags. The keywords used in those each of those tags should be appropriate, relevant, and useful. The title should not be more than about 65 characters, and the meta-description should not be more than about 160 characters.
When these tags have keywords relevant to any search, Google can display your title and description directly in the search result page, so they should be optimized for the best click through relevant to your website and your business. Avoid keyword stuffing, your keyword density should not be over 5% of your text.
OFF-page SEO means having some relevant and authoritative links pointing to your webpages from other websites, on other Web servers. Make sure that most of your inbound links are high quality. Disavow any low quality links. Google webmaster tools may provide some warnings for low quality links. Natural linking is important. For example, stuffing random blogs with NOFOLLOW comments will not help, and may harm your search result positions.
Social signals (primarily, links and mentions on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube) have become more and more important for SEO recently. Social proof (demonstrating you have real followers relevant to your customer base who interact with you online) also provides you with better credibility. Relationships and engagement are very important.
SEO will continue to be relevant for Internet marketing, as long as webpages remain relevant. By avoiding black hat SEO techniques, and using only white hat SEO techniques, you will improve your website, get more traffic, and have better results for your web presence in the search engines. Like maintaining a garden, SEO is an ongoing process.
Bottom line on the "Death of SEO?"
As long as websites want to improve traffic, there will be SEO. However, social signals and paid search engine marketing can be as important as organic SEO. Engagement with your audience is key. Measurement and continuous improvement should be a big part of your SEO.
Black-hat SEO is Web-Spam, and anything else that Matt Cutts decides it is.
Black-hat SEO is DEAD, long live white-hat SEO.
Install Google Analytics (GA) on your website, then use Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) to look for any problems and to measure your results. Make sure to use your Google Places page effectively (formerly called Google Local.) Links on your own YouTube video descriptions are NOFOLLOW but still good for SEO and for Web Traffic.
:: More Pro-tips... UPDATED on 6/6/2014 ::
For LOCAL businesses, be sure to use GOOGLE PLACES for Business.
For Blogs or Personal Websites, use GOOGLE AUTHORSHIP.
For inbound LINKS? — Put your own LINKS into your YouTube descriptions, your Tweets, your Google+ Posts, your public Facebook posts... etc. etc. etc. — ask your friends to do the same, wherever and whenever that is appropriate. It's like asking for a referral or a testimonial.
That covers the basics of the WHAT... for help with the HOW, please contact me for Mentoring, Coaching, Training, or Assistance with your Internet Marketing Stratagy and Tactics.
My MOZ.com PRO profile page :: George Fanucci SEO Guru on Moz.com
For further reading
And a few SEO resources from Google: