The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (for Humans)

Seo Guide Robot (Credit: Sebastian Lund)I've wanted to write a guide to search engine optimization (SEO) for a while. This is the first post in an entire series dedicated to the topic.

You may have heard that Google recently updated their search algorithm in response to “content farms” who were abusing the tricks of SEO to make a profit.

Many were spammers, but some legitimate businesses also suffered from this change.

But you may also be wondering what the heck an algorithm is or what SEO has to do with you.

I'm going to keep this short and sweet, because most of the time that I've tried to learn about SEO, I've been overwhelmed with technical jargon, geeky debates above my pay grade, and a lot of annoying ads.

In short, I was looking for someone to speak to me like a human, and all I got was robot talk.

I want to begin this SEO guide with a caveat: I'm not an expert. I'm a writer.

From blogging and writing online for nearly six years, however, I've learned that knowing how search engines find your content is worth the hassle of the occasional robot conversation.

So, here's a quick crash-course on search engine optimization (for humans) and why you should care.

What's SEO?

Wikipedia's definition of search engine optimization (SEO) is this:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.

See what I mean about robots?!

My definition is this:

SEO is a series of actions you do to make people find your stuff online more easily (for free!).

Why SEO matters

SEO has become a popular subject over the past several years. Bloggers especially have realized the value of optimizing a website's content for search engine visibility. (Blogs are great for SEO; we'll talk more about that later.)

Also, people trying to make money on the internet have discovered that by creating content that is more easily found via search engines, they end up saving themselves a ton of time and cash by creating SEO content.

Instead of paying for traffic through advertising, they can get it for free. (I know more than a few people who make good money using SEO-driven websites.)

Why you can trust me

I'm not an expert, but I am a student. I've learned a few simple SEO strategies from people much smarter than me, and hopefully some of the wisdom I've gleaned can help you.

Since I'm not a hardcore “techie” and the people with which I've shared this information aren't, either, I've tried to make this guide to search engine optimization very simple. I wrote it for humans, not robots.

I'm not trying to make money; I just learned some stuff about how to get more of my content read and want to share it with other writers and bloggers. If it helps you, great.

Your official Non-Robot Guide to SEO

Here's what I'll be covering in this series (click the title to read an article):

What's something you'd like to learn about SEO?

Photo credit (isn't that an awesome robot?): Sebastian Lund