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Get to Know How SEO Works!

Note from Danny: I’ve got two big pieces of news to share. The first piece of news is that this is our 100th post. It really snuck up on us, too – almost missed it. 🙂 The second piece of news is that I’m moving into my new condo today, and will be without internet until sometime on Monday. So please leave comments, but I’ll only be able to respond after that. 🙂

blog_video_lessonYou’ve probably heard of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. You’ve probably even decided that you need it. There are a lot of companies and individuals offering SEO services to small business owners, and much of the time they make it sound a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Why do they do this?

Because the less you know about SEO, the more they can charge for it!

Well, that’s not how we roll here at Mirasee – we think that the more people know the better. So, what follows is an explanation of what SEO is and how it works in the simplest terms possible. You may not want to do your own SEO after reading this, but at least you’ll know enough to make sure that whoever you hire to do the work for you isn’t ripping you off.

Fundamentally, SEO is about getting found on the internet.

Most people use search engines, like Google (which is as close to being the only game in town) to find the information they’re looking for, and search engines  can only succeed if they provide relevant information to the people searching. If they don’t give you the information that you’re looking for, you’ll switch to a different search engine, and they’ll be out of business!

For example: when you search for ‘banana bread recipes’ you don’t want a bunch of pictures of banana bread, or stories about how much people like banana bread, right? You want instructions and ingredients for how to make banana bread. A good search engine will be able to direct you to websites that have exactly the information that you’re looking for.

So how do they do it? Each engine has a different algorithm, but they all work more or less the same way, sorting through the sites they know about and giving you a list of the “best” ones.

So how do they do that?

Well when the internet was young, all they did was “ask” a website what they were about, and took the website at their word. The search engines “asked” by reading the content of the website to see what the website was about. It didn’t take long for crafty website owners to learn that they could get a high ranking (that is to say, appear at the top of a list of search results) by “stuffing” their website with popular keywords.

For example, if I wanted to sell something to teenage girls, and teenage girls often search for “Kanye West”, I could just stuff my pages with the words “Kanye West”.

This isn’t good for searchers, because it means that they aren’t finding what they’re looking for. So the search engines had to find another way of determining what a website is really about.

Imagine for a moment that you’re back in high school. How do you determine who the most popular person is? Do you ask each and every individual if they are the most popular? No – you talk to people and see who they talk about. The online equivalent of this is to see how many other websites are linking to yours.

Google can’t trust your site’s word in saying that it has the best content for a given topic or keyword, but if a whole bunch of other websites think that your content is good enough to link to, that’s a different story, and Google will believe it!

Seen in this light, it’s pretty clear that SEO is really about developing content that is good enough that other websites will believe that their visitors will benefit from it. Good enough to link to.

So how do you do it?

Well, you have to decide what keywords you want to rank highly for. This takes a bit of research, but don‘t worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. There are some great keyword research tools that make this easy, and some of them are even free!

Next you need to get other sites to link back to yours. This is an art in and of itself, and it can be time consuming. Just how other websites link to you is important as well. What terms are they using in the link text? Are they terms you want to be associated with? Have you decided what terms you want to be found in searches for?

Your best bet is to make sure you have really relevant, useful content that will be valuable to people, so that other websites will be eager to link back to you. You can also submit content to other websites, blogs, video sites and e-zines that will contain a reference link back to you.

For the moment, just remember that SEO is really just about getting found on the internet by having content that is good and valuable – not just in your eyes, but in the eyes of the rest of the online community as well . That’s it – that’s all there is to it!

Want more lessons and tips like this one? Subscribe to the Mirasee.com blog, or sign up for our FREE Seven Day “Business Fireproofing” Video Course!

 

About Danny Iny

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the CEO and founder of Mirasee, host of the Business Reimagined podcast, and best-selling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!, The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich.

22 thoughts on “Get to Know How SEO Works!

  1. Another cool video Danny, ya’ll are great at those man.

    My entire swimming pool company’s success is built upon SEO principles. And believe it or not, I’ve never used Google’s keyword tool for keyword ideas. I believe that if we are truly answering the questions we get asked by our consumers on a daily basis, and we have a strong opinion on the matter, SEO will take care of itself, for the most part. But this doesn’t mean SEO is something biz owners should ignore. To the contrary, they should embrace it and accept its importance. Because my company embraced it, our business has never been better.

    Happy 100th and new condo Danny!!

    Marcus

    • Thank you, Marcus! We spent the whole weekend buying furniture, assembling it, and unpacking. It was intense, but the place is looking pretty good now – it feels like home. 🙂

      You hit the nail on the head – SEO is important, but not all that complicated, as long as you stop thinking about the algorithms, and just try to create stuff that your audience would want to find.

  2. Danny,

    Great explanation!  SEO is a very important topic.  You mention how it is important to be relevant.  This is so true, and becoming more so with time. 

    The Google algoritym keeps getting smarter and sharper.  As time goes on it will begin to weight and understand the relevancy of the pages the backlinks come FROM in a greater degree.

    The days of having a backlink from a site on “cars”  helping your blog about “flowers in any way at all are numbered (if they are not already in the past)

    Write quality, use relevant keyword and link from relevant sites and a lot of the other stuff will work itself out over time

  3. Danny,

    Great explanation!  SEO is a very important topic.  You mention how it is important to be relevant.  This is so true, and becoming more so with time. 

    The Google algoritym keeps getting smarter and sharper.  As time goes on it will begin to weight and understand the relevancy of the pages the backlinks come FROM in a greater degree.

    The days of having a backlink from a site on “cars”  helping your blog about “flowers in any way at all are numbered (if they are not already in the past)

    Write quality, use relevant keyword and link from relevant sites and a lot of the other stuff will work itself out over time

    • That’s exactly it, Scott. People seem to think that SEO is about tricking Google, but that can’t be sustainable; there’s no way that you or I are going to outsmart the collective intelligence of thousands of Google engineers!

      The best way to go is to create content that people would actually want to find, and let the engineers figure out how to get it ranked where people can see it. That’s their job! 🙂

  4. Great info here guys! SEO is made out to be really difficult, but if you strip it free of all the ‘extra’ stuff – then it’s pretty simple – just as you displayed here. Not saying that complexities don’t exist…but I think at the core it’s not so difficult. 

    Great vid guys!

    • Hey Jk, you’ve got it exactly right – while complexities certainly exist, in principle it’s a very simple thing. And once you understand the basics, the complexities aren’t all that hard either. 😉

  5. Bless you for this post Danny!! I struggle with this and get so confused and though we absolutely tell our clients we are not an SEO company, they still rely on us very much to understand it. We don’t want them to be taken for a ride and this really, really helps!! Gosh, I love what you do!! I also know we need to focus more on exactly what Marcus stated about answering questions in the industry. Ah, such a learning process, but thanks to fabulous, selfless people like you and those contributing below it’s not so scary or overwhelming! 

    Congratulations on you 100th post and condo and your wonderful life!!

    Much kindness,

    Elena

    • Hey Elena, thank you very much – we spent the weekend unpacking, and we’re absolutely loving the new place. 🙂

      SEO is one of those things that has been made out to be so complicated by so many people that many of us don’t know where to even start getting a grip on it. I really don’t like that, because it’s nothing more than a ploy for SEO companies to get more cash out of people who don’t know any better.

      Marcus’s process is one of the best I’ve ever seen for SEO, because it is completely natural. Just answer all the questions, and you’ll naturally have all the content that people are looking for. 🙂

  6. Hi Peter and Danny. 🙂 I guess you were the two voice-over folks in the video. I’m Floricel and I’m new here. Just want to drop some comment and say that I find your website really helpful, cool and useful. 

    Thanks for clearing things out about the SEO. I love that you presented it straightforwardly and no running around the bush!What you pointed out was the genuine truth. Quality relevant content is the simple truth about SEO. However I also feel that the process shouldn’t be taken laxly. It will definitely take some hard work and perseverance in order to arrive in the place (rank) where we want to go. Anyway, love this post!

    Cheers,
    Floricel

    • Hi Floricel, welcome to Firepole Marketing! Yup, Peter and I are the voices on the video, and we’re both thrilled to have you here!

      You’re absolutely right that the process shouldn’t be taken for granted – it’s a lot of work, but it isn’t all that complicated – just a matter of doing the work. 🙂

  7. Hi Danny
    This is an important message to the world; if you want SEO- do it the right way: post relevant and valuable materials!
    It got me thinking, we might be able to do some business together. Email me when you settle down.
    Mazal Tov for the new condo and my best regards to your fiancée.
    Gal PeaceMan

  8. Danny,

    Thanks for this information, as I know the market I don’t always know how to explain this to people, so If you don’t mind I am going to use this example, to explain SEO a little better, and of course if Clients need to see more proof I’ll toss them your link.

    Thanks again,
    Brad

  9. You mention how it is important to be relevant. Anyway, love this post! The best way to go is to create content that people would actually want to find, and let the engineers figure out how to get it ranked where people can see it. I guess you were the two voice-over folks in the video.

  10. Pingback: Second Half of 2012: The Best 8 SEO Article You Need To Read!

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