SEO - the basics

Notes from the Essential SEO course and other SEO guidance
SEO - the basics

The Theory

Whatever anyone tries to tell you, Search Engine Optimisation is just the art of helping Google and other search engines understand what your page is about and how good it is - and then persuading people to choose your headline over numerous others.

Search engines are trying to be very fast, very effective humans. They want to look at every page on the internet, establish what it’s about, and use various sets of information to determine how popular and good the page is, so they can present the best results to searchers. You should never write for the machine - you should write for human beings - but with an eye to understanding how search engines assess your page. If a change you make helps both the search engine and a human reader understand the page better, it’s a good piece of SEO. If it only helps the search engine, with no human benefit at first or second hand, it’s a bad change.

Fundamentally, if you create good, compelling content that people want to link to and share, you’ve done a good SEO job. These pages, and the course they accompany, are designed to allow journalists and other communication pros to do that better than average, to make sure that your work will get found - if it’s good.

This is not designed as a highly technical course. Where I make reference to HTML-level work, I’ll provide links for you to explore that in greater detail - or for you to forward to your developers.

Signals

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