SEO seems complex, but in actuality it is really very simple. What scares most people off from forming good SEO habits right from the start is that they think they can get by without them, it is too hard or perhaps that it is too time consuming. You don’t have to master a number of complex algorithms to get good results from SEO nor do you even have to be up to date with taxonomy which many believe, erroneously, is a necessity. All you really need to do well with SEO is a basic understanding of how search engines work. With that, you can go far.
To help you understand how search engines work, here is a quick primer course.
Search engines collect data from everything that is on the web. They do this by dispatching what are called spiders that land on a site, copy the content hosted on it, and then store it on a database. They take note of any links that are present, inbound and outbound, and then lump it al together for the number crunching machines to run through algorithms to formulate a number of different values carrying various meanings to each page and the site as a whole. This is a never ending process, and sites are crawled by spiders over and over again so there is no chance to sit back and rest on your laurels thinking that great numbers will always be there.
Spiders index data by starting in the top left corner, moving to the right, and repeating the process just like reading a book. If the page has columns, they will go from left to right within a column before moving to the next column on the right and continuing the same pattern. When a spider notices a link, it is recorded, forwarded to another bot who then follows, and the data from that is then used to determine link relevance and value.
Don’t let the fact that bots are doing all of this fool you into thinking they can’t judge with better than fair accuracy what is and is not relevant to a topic. There is no fooling them with piles of links if they don’t have relevance to your topic. Similarly, black hat SEO techniques like white on white text won’t fool them either. They see everything on the page – except for text in images which is why Flash is so problematic for SERPs to index.
Make sure you have a good site title, use meta tags appropriately (not your main focal point, but helpful) and use just the right proportion of keywords on your page and you will do fine. Before long, good SEO habits become second nature and won’t cost you extra time when putting together your content. Create quality content and you have mastered the basics of Good SEO. If however it still seems like too much, engaging a reputable SEO company to do it all for you is a great option that can help take your site to the next level.