Are you thinking about undertaking your own SEO improvements? This tutorial will get you started. This tutorial was written with the Google search engine in mind, but the techniques described work equally well for any search engine.
Search engines contain billions of HTML pages in their database(s). When a user performs a search, the search engine must not only filter a set of pages that are relevant to the query, but also rank (order) them from best to worst. Since it is impractical for search engines to use human reviews for the sheer volume of the databases, they rely on programmed algorithms to analyze and rank pages.
There are two categories of criteria that search engines use to rank pages:
- On Page Factors - Analysis of the HTML source code for a page
- Off Page Factors - Analysis of inbound links and the pages they link from
Each search engine weights factors differently, but the fact remains that they all have a limited criteria to choose from. By optimizing your site for one search engine, you will to a large degree optimize it for all of them.
SEO Tutorial Outline
Google has claimed that they incorporate over 99 factors in their ranking algorithm. There is a wealth of detailed analysis, opinions and conjecture available on the internet that attempts to reverse engineer the "secret formula" and qualify the relative importance of every possible factor. Unless your website is competing in an ultra-competitive industry, this level of analysis and detail is not necessary. Especially considering that Google or any other search engine can easily tweak their ranking formulas at any time.
The following SEO tutorial subscribes to the 80/20 rule (yielding 80% of the possible results with just 20% of the possible effort). The basic SEO process can be summarized with the following outline: