I get a lot of questions like “What are the key SEO elements or simply what is SEO?”. These are simple intro questions that don’t require a very detailed answer, yet I created an SEO process that every new site should follow. Of course, feel free to take a look at that process, but also make sure you review the following guides from Google and Bing themselves. The irony is that they tell you what they like to see in proper website SEO and most of the time we ignore those simple things.
What is SEO according to Google
This Google Help section answers in simple words what SEO is and what are the key elements of the website that you should pay attention to. Also, make sure you download the PDF version of the SEO guide and print it out. The document also goes into things to look out for and unfair business practices by your competition and other weird sites you spot while searching Google.
What is SEO according to Bing
This Bing SEO guide goes into key elements of website optimization. Bing tells you directly what it wants to see in a well optimized pages and what your site needs to be like to perform well on its Search Engines Results Pages (SERPs). Some time ago I’ve written an article on the importance of optimizing your website for Bing search engine. The document in this post is actually telling you what you should do to your website to make sure it ranks well for selected key phrases.
As you can see, it’s not rocket science and the information is readily available from search engines themselves. Of course, they’re not disclosing their algorithms, otherwise they would be out of business :). Search engines are not there to change algorithms and prevent you from ranking. Remember, the goal of search engines is to ensure it displays relevant results for every search query. So all you need to do is to follow their simple guidelines, make great content that is worth sharing, +1-ing and linking to.
Quick update August 31, 2011: Here’s Google’s Matt Cutts talking about this 20-pages document trying to answer the question if SEO will be here in 20 years: