Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That’s what it stands for. Simple and straightforward…

I can recall the first time I was attempting to understand what SEO is and how it works…

It was everything but simple and straightforward. I was having a hard time finding a simple explanation! All the definitions and posts online seemed way too advanced.

No one was covering the topic for someone who was brand new to SEO. Well maybe they were but it seemed too technical for me.

It was really frustrating so I thought why not help other people who find that they are in the same position as I was, understand it a little bit better with a visual example.

So I wrote this post to help you get an idea of what SEO is and how you and your blog or business can benefit from it.

How does SEO work?

Imagine for a moment that you have a blog where you teach people how to play the guitar. On this blog, you offer free tips as well as courses for beginners in guitar.

The content you post is mostly free but your courses are priced because you want to make an income from your blog and your skill of teaching other’s how to play guitar.

Your goal as an online guitar teacher is to provide the best advice and tips for beginners. You decided to rather go with a blog and offer tips and paid courses than to give actual lessons in person.

This way you can reach more people thus increasing your customer base and potential revenue.

Now all you need is for people to find you online. You also decided not to do any advertising because you don’t have the budget for it yet.

So, what you really want is for your blog to be found whenever someone searches for online guitar lessons, right? Because that’s where you’ll help them and provide them with your content and courses.

But how do you get found when someone searches for online guitar lessons? Well, that’s where SEO comes in.

When someone searches “online guitar lessons”, which is the keywords they type in the search bar of Google, for example, the search engine will go through all the sites and blogs online to return only the most relevant and popular results that match the keywords that were used.

So, ultimately this is what you want, you want the search engine to consider your site relevant each time someone searches for something that relates to guitar tips or courses.

But for that to happen you have to provide the search engine with necessary information, almost like a map, so that it can determine whether or not your site is relevant to guitar tips or courses.

You basically need to help the search engine determine what your site is about.

The Basics

Now there are a few basic “changes” you can implement to your blog and content.

We will discuss in just a moment that will help the search engine find your site when someone searches for something that relates to guitar tips or courses.

Not only will the search engine find your site but these “changes” will also help you so that the search engine can rank your site higher, possibly even on the first page of the results.

This is important because there are millions and millions of sites online and we both know that when you search for something online and the search engine returns the results.

You only look at about the first 3 or 5 sites that show on the first page, if it is not something you’re looking for, you either try another few keywords or end up leaving.

Now as a guitar teacher you also don’t want to end up on the second page of Google, or any search engine for that matter when someone searches for keywords in your niche.

You want to improve your chances of ending up on the first page of the search engine’s results pages when a newbie guitar player searches for online guitar lessons.

This way your guitar business has a better chance of becoming successful because people can find your site easier when you rank higher in the search engine’s results, possibly even on the first page.

This is ideal because then more people will find your content and buy your guitar courses ensuring that your guitar business is generating revenue and ultimately helping people reach their guitar goals.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Alternatively, you can purchase ad space on search engines and automatically end up on the first page depending on the quality of your ad as well as your budget. This is called paid search.

But with SEO you can rank higher on the results page without having to spend money to buy ad space. This is called ranking organically.

It all depends on what your budget is. If you don’t have money to spend then SEO is the perfect solution. Both methods are effective so it doesn’t matter which one you decide on.

As long as it aligns with your goals.

SEO Optimization

So now that you have a background into what SEO is and how it works, we need to cover some of the basic “optimization” factors you’ll need to make to improve your chances of getting found and ranked by the search engine.

These factors are simple changes you can make to your blog and its content that will benefit you and improve your sites SEO and possibly rank your posts and site higher.

This will also help the search engine determine whether or not your site is relevant to the keywords that the user has used.

Some of the basics include the following:

Headings of your posts

When you are writing blog posts make sure that you include relevant headings that match your content. You can also try and include some keywords in your headings that people might search for.

For example, if you wrote a post on 5 different ways a beginner can learn the guitar faster your heading can be “5 Ways to Learn the Guitar Faster” as that’s most likely what a frustrated beginner will type in the search bar, making it a good combination of keywords in your heading.

Content

A great way for you to improve your SEO is by creating quality content. Quality content is content that answers a question or provides value to your reader. It is content that is informative or either entertaining. This is probably one of the best ways to improve your blog’s SEO.

If you create something that people love and want to read it will cause your blog to become popular and this is one of the factors that search engines look for when they are scanning the web. The more popular your site, the better!

Another way to improve your blog or site’s SEO is to create fresh and new content on a regular basis. You can also include some relevant keywords in the content of your blog post but don’t overdo it. If your post is about a thousand words include 6 – 7 keywords in your content.

Keywords are the words or phrases that the user of a search engine will use to find what they are looking for.

For example, if a user types in “online guitar lessons” in the search bar, then the phrase “online guitar lessons” is the combination of the keywords he or she is using.

Evergreen content is another way for you to get your posts ranked higher on the results pages. This is content that is always relevant to your readers. It doesn’t become outdated easily.

So, try and create content that can stay relevant for a long time. Something that people can still read and find valuable years from now.

When you are creating content, you should keep it as original as possible. Don’t try and duplicate someone else’s content as this can affect your ranking in a bad way.

Other basics to consider

Your URLs should be descriptive and include some relevant keywords. For example, if you blogged about “5 Ways to Learn the Guitar Faster” you should literally include “5 Ways to Learn the Guitar Faster” in your URL.

When you are adding an image to your blog post you can even include some keywords in your image’s file name.

Making your site or blog mobile friendly also improves your SEO. The speed of your site can also affect your SEO and ranking. If your site takes too long to load you are likely to be ranked below someone with a faster loading site. Do some research and find out how you can make your site function faster and smoother.

Although these factors can help you rank higher, they are still the basics to consider.. There are more advanced ways of improving your SEO and ranking. This post was just to get you to understand what SEO is and how it works by making use of a simple and understandable example.

If you want a more in-depth and detailed explanation into SEO I recommend you check out this post: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

This will definitely take your SEO skills and knowledge to the next level.

For more ways on how you can improve your blog, check out this post: 10 Things You Should Do to Improve Your Blog.