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Do we really need to spill more ink – or wear out more keyboards – on the topic of SEO? Surely not, but there is need to make sense of all the information out there. This post is not a magic show of new ideas, but the kick-off to a series of guides for those turned-around and worn out by trying to start the journey.

Search Engine Optimization is the art/science/gamble of improving the visibility of your website in search engine results. It is, as the name states, optimizing your site for search engines. Playing this game is what gets your website to show up at the top of a search result.

Before we jump into the recommendations, let’s start by getting you into the game:

Why should you play?

The primary vehicle dropping visitors off at your website is a search engine. If the search engine can’t find your website, you miss the opportunity for visitors. The obvious truth is that the robots working in a search engine can’t understand your website to the extent that a human can. But the robot is the one delivering the visitor to you.

SEO is your expression of compassion on the search engine robots – help them help you.

Investing the resources, primarily time, in doing this well provides the following return: attracting new visitors, gaining insights about your audience, and helping your organization keep a pulse on trends without compromising your mission. You will increase the visibility of your mission, discover what motivates someone to come, be aware changes in the marketplace are happening, and know how to can relate to both the audience you have and the audience you want to have.

How do you play?

It all starts with the words someone types into a search box. The word is your Keyword, and you want your website to be at the top of the list when someone searches for it. Relevance and popularity are the biggest influencers in your ranking. (flashbacks to high school?). If you are interested in digging deeper into what makes a search engine tick, check out MOZ’s 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors.

We’ll provide advice in upcoming posts about keeping relevant and popular while still being yourself. Before we get into the tall grass, start thinking about the three main levers you want to pull to get there:

  • Content: Your website might be found by a robot, but it primarily is there to serve humans. Having relevant and well organized content is the number one game-changer.
  • Code: Make sure the back-end of your website is kept tidy. This includes watching the way you name files and images you upload to your site, the page titles you enter, and how much you bury content.
  • Links: To earn the trust of search engines, you need others to vouch for you by linking to your site. Be a good internet friend and link to others as well. Don’t be afraid of sending visitors away – if you send them to good resources, and provide good resources for them when they come back, they will come back.

At the most basic level, you improve your ranking by making sure a search engine and a real live human can understand your website. The work to do this will pay off not just with google deities, but with your users as well. Follow us on Twitter to be notified of future SEO articles.

Continue learning how to choose keywords, and what to do with them.

Claire Kennedy headshot
Claire Kennedy
Claire values context, creativity, and joy. She uses these skills to help causes invest in the good of others.