What is SEO and how to SEO a website?

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Cyber SEO service, South Africa

To SEO your website you first need to understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Secondly the benefits of optimization, what it can or cannot do for your site.


Last updated - 22 August 2015

Lets start at the beginning (once upon a time ;)

Firstly, a search engine is a program that allows users to search the Web by entering specific keywords (queries) into a search box. After typing a query, the search engine displays a result page, usually 10 results. You can think of the results as a list of sites that best suit your query. This is were SEO comes into the picture.

If the site/pages are optimized correctly Google and other search engines will display it under that specific query. Always remembering search engines use signals, ranking factors when weighing a page/site, the more compliant your site is with their guidelines, the better it will perform in the search results.

It is also extremely important you understand user intent. Google rank pages based on how well they fit the user intent behind the query.

Below I elaborate on most common question asked, thereafter we focus on the most important SEO guidelines on building a quality site, the same guidelines we adhere to when optimizing a site.

SEO Questions And Answers About Building Quality Sites

What is an acceptable keyword percentage?
There is no such thing as keyword density/percentage. Keywords depend on page content, when read out aloud they should make scene (as if you were engaging in a telephone conversation)

Are pages with copied content considered "low quality"?
Not all pages with copy are considered low quality. That's if the content is well organized and intended to be helpful for users and not just to display ads. Google will rank the content based on how helpful it would be for users. That said and done. External copy content is acceptable, that's if you add value to the copy and link to the original source.

Then what is "low quality"?
Haha, copy content!!. Copying an entire article, or paraphrasing content by changing words or sentence structure here and there. Low quality content comes in various forms, the majority of time its Ads and spam related or when time and effort were clearly not involved when the page was created, not allowing the page to achieve its purpose. For example, where expertise under a certain niche were lacking on a topic for which expertise is really important. That would include filling up pages with completely obvious sentences or using a lot of words to communicate basic facts (SEO is helpful, SEO is a necessity, SEO ranks your website, etc) Negative reputation alone can be the reason for a low quality site.

What is "Quality content"?
Its the opposite to low quality content. The pages main content should immediately be visible when a user opens the page and the lay-out and organization of space should take up most of the page space and be clear what the main content actually is. And it should be clear what parts of the page are Ads. Google don't rank based on professional looks or on how nice the page looks with pretty images, but fail to achieve their purpose.

Does my website need reputation and popularity?
Firstly, reputation is different to popularity. Popular websites are used by many people and are usually high quality (not always, Google are renown for demoting popular sites) Good reputation sites on the other hand are sites that serve their customers well, based on both experiences of users as well as the opinions of experts, sites that get recommended by prominent people.

That said and done. You need to earn popularity and reputation, it takes time, hard work and patients. Sites without reputation and popularity still rank front page. It is however an important factor and should not be ignored, and at the same time, not chased. User trust can be gained by maintaining and updating content.

What is Webspam?
Webspam is used by Webmasters who use deceptive techniques to game the search results with disregard to the user. A popular spam technique would be creating spam pages to make money with advertising (pay-per-click)

Other spam technique are hiding text and links, keyword stuffing, sneaky redirects and cloaking using JavaScript and 100% frames. If a page exists primarily to make money from advertising without sufficient added value for users, the page is classified as spam.

What is a thin affiliate site?
Thin affiliates sites are sites that don't have much added value, usefulness or additional information to the merchant site and usually re-direct you to the merchants site. Coincidently, if the registrant of the two different domains are the same, its not a thin affiliate.

SEO Guidelines On Building Quality Sites

The Panda Algorithm is based on high quality, algorithmically assessing website quality and filtering out low quality sites. Below I will once again emphasis the importance of high quality verses low quality, and what counts as high quality.

Lack of user trust should be defined as the most lowest quality signal. To gain user trust you need know what you talking about. Shallow in nature, sloppy, grammatical or factual error articles purely written for ranking will not work, and neither will duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations.

Articles need to provide original content that is both sided, specifically self opinions and they need to provide substantial value to other articles written on the web and should never be mass produced. Or for that matter, outsourced to other websites without using rel=canonical.

Lets now focus on advertising
Advertising can be both distracting as well as dangerous if not used correctly. At no point should ads distract the visitor, be above the fold obscuring the page content and neither should they be placed on thin pages or pages made purely for ads.

In essence, pages created with great care and detail stand a better chance of been recommended, bookmarked and shared. Hence, your site gains not only popularity but over time, authority.

We strongly encourage Webmasters and so called "SEO experts" to keep the above in mind and to focus on high quality content rather than trying to optimize for particular queries or algorithms. Always remembering that low quality content on some pages of a website can impact the entire websites rankings. By removing or editing low quality pages, could help the rankings of the entire site.