SEO: Intro

One of the frequent support issues we deal with at StatCounter goes like this:

“Hi! I just installed StatCounter but it’s broken. It’s not recording any visitors. Can you fix this?”


The thing is, StatCounter is usually running just fine… Instead the “problem” is that the site is NOT getting any visitors…when we explain this to the member, the next question is usually:

“So, how do I get visitors to my site?”


Although we are definitely not SEO experts, we have picked up some tips and tricks over the years about how to publicise your site and drive traffic to it.

In a new series of blog posts on the theme of “SEO for the Complete Beginner” we’re going to share with you some of what we have learned…

What is SEO?
SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation) involves optimizing your website so that it ranks highly in Search Engines.

Ranking highly in a Search Engine means your site is displayed in the top 10 or 20 sites which appear when a person does a relevant search.

For example, if I own a baking website, I want my site to appear on Page 1 of the Search Engine listings when someone seaches for relevant baking terms e.g. chocolate cake recipe.

Why is it important to Rank Highly in a Search Engine?
It’s estimated that there are over 170 million web sites on the Internet, with more being launched every single day.

Generally when you type anything into a search engine, you get thousands of results, displayed on hundreds of different pages… Take this search – chocolate cake recipe – in Google it returned 534,000 results, displayed over thousands of pages.








As you can imagine, if your site is number 50,000 in the list, you’re not going to get anyone visiting! Who’s going to search through 5000 pages of search results, when they can find what they are looking for on Page 1 or Page 2?

Equally, if your site is number 50 on the list, you are STILL not going to get any visits from this search! Why? Because people seldom look beyond Page 1 of the search results. They almost NEVER look beyond Page 2. So if your site is on Page 3 or lower of the search engine results, no-one is ever really going to find (or visit) your site via a Search Engine…

Note that not everyone places great importance on SEO! If you have a personal or hobby website that you only share with family and friends, then ranking highly in search engines is probably NOT important to you.

If instead, you run a business website selling products or services or if you earn money via online advertising, then ranking highly in Search Engines is probably very important to you. This is because one of the most common ways for someone to find a website is by using a Search Engine. The higher your Search Engine rank, the easier it is for potential customers to find your site, the more visitors your site gets, the more business you can do, the more money you can make!

How do I get a High Search Engine Ranking for my site then?
THAT is the key question.

There are numerous factors that can influence your site’s position in Search Engine rankings – and it’s these various factors that we are going to explain over the coming months.

You should note though that getting your site to rank highly in Search Engines is not a “one-off” job – your position in the rankings can change on a daily basis so you need to keep watch.

How do I get started then with SEO?

Basic SEO is not difficult and doesn’t require vast programming knowledge or particular computer skills… but you DO need to understand a bit about how Search Engines work.

So, How DO Search Engines Work?

While all Search Engines work in different ways there are some basics about Search Engines that you should understand.

  1. Crawling
    Search Engines collect data about your website by sending a “spider” (also known as a “crawler”, “bot”, or “robot”) to visit the site. A spider “crawls” your site’s pages following links from one page to the next. It then extracts and analyzes the details about the content on each page.

    Note: a website is a collection of one of more web pages; the StatCounter website (or site) is made up of hundreds of individual webpages (or pages) e.g.
    www.statcounter.com – the homepage
    www.statcounter.com/advertise.html – the advertising page
    www.statcounter.com/help/ – the help page
  2. Indexing
    Using the information collected by the spider, your site is “indexed” by the Search Engine. In other words, information about your site is stored in the Search Engine database.

  3. Displaying Search Results
    When someone requests information from the Search Engine, the Search Engine looks up its index or database of websites and identifies which sites match the search query. In our earlier example, Google looked up the term – chocolate cake recipe – and found 534,000 sites all of which contained the words “chocolate”, “cake” and “recipe”.

    All the sites that “match” the search term (in the example – chocolate cake recipe) are then sorted by the Search Engine (using its specific algorithm) and displayed in order of importance. The most relevant site is displayed in the #1 position, the next most relevant in the #2 position etc.


Glossary

Search Engine A tool used to search the web. Examples include Google, Yahoo and Ask.
Spider
A computer program that visits Web sites and reads their pages and other information in order to gather information for a search engine.
Search Engine Algorithm
A complicated mathematical formula or set of rules that sorts or ranks web pages. Each search engine has its own algorithm and the details of the algorithm are a closely guarded secret.


So that’s it for our introductory post about SEO. In our next posts we will start to explain some of the things that you can do to improve your SEO and drive more traffic to your site. We’re also exploring some contacts we have in the SEO world so that we can offer you even more assistance with your SEO – we’ll keep you up-to-date on this!

As this series progresses, we hope to explain post by post about how to improve the traffic to your site. Along the way we welcome questions, comments and extra information. Newbie or expert – please feel free to join the discussion!

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78 Responses to SEO: Intro

  1. Colin says:

    Thanks, this is good SEO info to refer back to for any online marketing campaign.

  2. Tanya says:

    Great post: informative, helpful and easy to understand, even for web beginners. I’m going to add a link from my website, as I have a page with tips for people starting a website/blog from scratch.

    I run an online marketing and sales platform for far-flung artists and photographers around the world, and ranking high on Google, Yahoo etc is vital to generate traffic which converts to sales…

    Thanks again and keep up the great work (looking forward to the next article)…

  3. Downloadic says:

    Thanks for the information.

  4. sohbet says:

    statcounter teachs seo wow i like you statcounter.

  5. Good Job. I am eagerly waiting your next article on SEO.

  6. I loved the article written here. I’m learning fast about meta tags and search engines. I would like to tell people that can’t afford to advertise by P.P.C’s
    Pay per Clicks, like me. I’ve been searching other web site’s with similar items such as I have. I use Google search engine for this Idea. I then sign the guest book, even if It’s out dated? Say 2003 or 2004. People do check out guest books even from years back. I do this an hour or two daily.

    Another funny thing I found out is my user name shows a lot more pages with Google or Yahoo. william2233.

    I’m not sure I under stand about crawlers or spiders. If I’m able too figure out, I’ll get a lot more hits.
    I’m loving stat counter.
    Does it really help by adding other links on your site?
    Thank you, William sawyers
    Child Author

  7. SEO Chester says:

    @ william2233 – its good to hear that your trying some SEO for yourself. A little advice that might help: Google has 1,880 pagess indexed with your username “william2233″ which is a large amount. The way links to your site can help you is by having the keywords you want to rank for as the anchor text in these links, therefore I would sugest to choose a username that includes keywords people use when searching for content you have on your site – im pretty sure no one will be searching in Google for “william2233″ when looking for say “Poetry For Children”. Also signing guestbooks is maybe not the best way to obtain backlinks as most of these do not link back directly to your website but only to your “blogger profile – for example”. Your time could be better spent adding you website to relevant directorys and commenting on blogs that have relevant content to your website and where your comment name will link back to your website directly :) A bit of keyword research first would be good to find out what search terms people are using that would like your website content- then to use these keywords in your “anchor text” when commenting etc.
    I hope thats of help.

  8. SEO Chester says:

    @ william2233 – the point I meant to say is that the anchor text you use will be counted as a vote for your site and will help your ranking for that search term. Ranking for “william2233″ wont get you any visitors ;)
    This will be an area im sure StatCounter will cover in their following SEO posts.

  9. ArabBible says:

    Great work StatCounter team……….we do appreciate all the SEO information.

  10. Mike says:

    What an informative post. Unreal. Statcounter simply rock.

  11. I would choose Stat Counter over GOOGLE analytics anyday…. I don’t feel comfortable giving all of my site’s info to GOOGLE….. They might even use it in the future to make changes to their ALGO

  12. Great begineers guide. Probably the best tip is to continuously read up with some of the best SEO Blogs being SEOmoz.org and SEObook.com. They have some great blog posts and tools.

  13. Toney says:

    Thanks for your detailed introduction about SEO.I have done some SEO on my site http://www.171english.cn .But in the latest google pr update,it’s pr dropped.I don’t know why.

  14. Pingback: StatCounter Blog » Blog Archive » SEO: Content 1

  15. Some thoughts says:

    I have a website that deals with a very popular entertainment subject. Searching for this topic on google yields literally millions of hits. My website ranks about 70th on that list, behind a lot of much less relevant content.

    I have a lot of content written by me on the site, and I get a decent amount of human visitors, but almost no traffic that comes from google (except that I get quite a bit of traffic from google images, since some of my images are ranked fairly high there).

    I have been linked to from the number three and number four ranked sites in my subject area, but that only increased my rank from 100th to 70th. I don’t think being linked to, even by “high quality” sites, as they say, is as significant as google leads us to believe.

    I have found that your url and the words in the site’s title have a fairly significant effect on google rank. There is a website that snagged the .org url for my subject area that is ranked in the top ten, even though it has no content at all, it’s just a forum.

    When I added the subject name to my site’s title, that also had an effect in increasing my site’s visibility to google.

    Just some thoughts.

    Also, someone suggested leaving comments to increase links to one’s site, but many comments on blogs are tagged as “nofollow” so they don’t count for google rank.

  16. Some thoughts says:

    Another important point: if you use a blogging platform as your site, your posts are indexed instantly by google and will appear immediately on gogole blogs search and may also appear on google web search.

  17. Pingback: SEO: Content 1 | Le Meilleur Blog Tunisien

  18. Alli Zimulti says:

    Great article, many thanks! These seem to be very simple ideas but so helpful at the same time.

  19. RC says:

    Thank you for the idea on SEO ! I think it will help to optimize my SEO work in the future.

  20. In my opinion this is an exxelent post. It was informative for me! Thank you

  21. PlayStation3 says:

    I’ve read many articles about SEO. SEO is a very strange mix of the knowledge, technology and art. Thank you for you article.

  22. drogen says:

    Thanks for this series! I also like the fact when you said in your article: “…to rank highly in Search Engines it is not a ‘one-off’ job – your position in the rankings can change on a daily basis so you need to keep watch.” – this is so true. Great begineers guide.

  23. We run two online stores and regard SEO as paramount to the long term success of our sites. You can spend vast amounts on PPC, but the only sensible route should be employing the services of a professional SEO company. Any additional tips from you guys is greatly appreciated.

  24. Very nice introduction for the seo starters indeed

  25. youtube says:

    very nice introduction for SEO beginners.
    thank s alot.

  26. Bokbong says:

    SEO is most important thing for those who are run On-line biz…

  27. Really useful information for SEO beginners. Perfect start by StatCounter. When will be posted next part of this Series??

    Thanks !!! Keep doing good work.

  28. I must appreciate. going through your post was worth.