Starting from scratch with a new blog, website or trying to get your foot in the door as a freelance content writer?  You should know the basics of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.  Here is an introduction to what SEO is and why it should factor into your content production.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of curating your content such that it becomes more visible and easier to find online.  In other words, it is possible to tweak your content in certain ways to increase your Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engine rankings.

Why should I bother with SEO?  Because everybody’s doing it. Yes, the last time you fell for that one was in high school. But when it comes to SEO, the fact that everybody’s doing it makes it pretty much essential that you do it, too. Remember, you are competing against a distended mob of publishers screaming for attention in every which way. Unless you are promoting an impossibly niche product (like a motivational belly dancer with an ostomy) you’d better start screaming.

But don’t scream too loud.   That’s only going to make it worse.  SEO relies on webcrawlers which are software applications owned by search engines.  A webcrawler regularly visits your site, checks out what you’re up to and indexes you accordingly. That’s good. The webcrawler is who you are speaking to when you include relevant keywords in your content, but if you inundate that webcrawler with too many cries for attention, you’re going to get labeled a spammer.  And that’s bad.

So that’s the gist of it.  It is possible to tweak your content so that you can begin to develop a good reputation with popular search engines, which in turn will affect your organic search results (your unpaid search engine ranking), but it is also possible over saturate your site with SEO plugs, which will result in your website being rendered spam and devastating your search engine rankings. As with all things in life, the key to success in SEO is moderation.