For new website owners SEO is often a confusing mess of on-site and off-site techniques that can leave them confused, however the truth about the basics of SEO is that they can be easily understood and applied by using the real world example of a library.
Before I provide specific SEO tips picture yourself walking through a library, each section is divided into separate parts, for example there is usually a children’s section, fiction section, periodicals, etc. Also inside that library is an electronic catalog and within those catalogs users can search for books based on titles and categories (tags). If the library your visiting doesn’t have the book you want the catalog will point to other libraries where you can check out materials through inter-library loan.
Now let’s apply the library to website SEO. Think back to how the library is broken up into sections based on user needs. If you’re running a news website you’ll want to break up sections so users can visit and find right away what they want in terms of subject matter, for example your sections may include: Politics, Sports, Social Media, Health, etc. Those clearly defined sections are not only good for visitors, they help search engines quickly determine what type of content your website offers.
After creating sections you’ll want to tell search engines where to find specific books (articles/posts), the easiest way to accomplish this is through “tags” which are generated on a per article basis. Tags are essential since a general topic like “Politics” could have 500 articles while a user may only want articles about “President Obama.” Search engines use tags to browse through your site and to determine the exact focus of the sites articles.
Next let’s explore inter-library loans, If you’ve searched the card catalog and the “Google SEO” book you need is located two towns over you probably found that information in the catalog, but how did the catalog know where to find it? Because the electronic catalog saw the term “Google SEO” on another library’s catalog. In this analogy you will want to have your articles marked on other sites with the right terms. For example if a website owner links to your “Google SEO” article inside their own Google based article and they specifically link on the words “Google SEO” they will be automatically creating a reference from their resource to your own. When search engines see specific keywords linked to articles they visit those article and give them more authority.
Now let’s walk through your site like it’s a library. A visitor sees a link on another site with a link to “Google SEO” and they click that link where they discover they are on a clearly defined “SEO” section, they read the article and see tags pointing to more “Google” and “SEO” posts, clicking through to read more articles. Replace the site visitor with a Google bot which follows the same steps, not only does the search bot find the article through off-site linking practices, the bot also sees that your site offers more articles about the same subject, information that is sent back to servers which process all of the Google SEO articles on your site, eventually giving you better ranking for that subject.
A library is a website without a plug, it’s populated with information that quickly allows people to find certain sections and then find specific information within those sections or through other connected libraries in the system. When I give SEO tips I always start by telling users to follow a libraries example for a well rounded SEO setup.