If your feel intimidated by the concept of search engine optimization, you are not alone. There are over one billion websites out there, and we create more than five exabytes of content each day. Internet users are so hungry for information that Google receives 40,000 search queries per second. With so much noise coming from everywhere, getting to the top of Google seems almost like an impossible task. So, there’s no wonder that some pundits have started to question the power of SEO can call it a dead art. But, here’s the thing: precisely because the Internet is getting more crowded than ever before, you need to learn the basics of SEO. Here’s what you need to know. Getting Started with SEO: the Basics Google uses over 200 factors to decide which pages to rank high. Of course, you can’t create your content taking into account hundreds of factors. However, there are a few basic principles that can help you rank high. Quality Content: Content is the king. You’ve heard it over and over again, but it’s the truth. Google focuses on providing the best possible answers to the largest possible audience. If your content is poor, irrelevant to the search or spammy, readers will bounce. A high bounce rate will tell Google that your site is not useful, which can lead to a drop in ranking. Authority: Qualitative content can also determine whether or not other authoritative sites will link back to your content. The more relevant sources reference your site, the higher the domain authority. User Experience: Keeping your visitors engaged and satisfied requires an excellent user experience. That means your site needs to be easy to navigate and contain relevant content and inbound and outbound Cross–Device Compatibility: A successful SEO strategy cannot exist without a focus on mobile optimization. In fact, Google announced that it will favor mobile-friendly sites in search over desktop ones. Site Speed: If your site takes more than a couple of seconds to load that will translate into a poor user experience. So, give up all the bells and whistles and focus on functionality over aesthetics. Don’t Overdo It As with most things in life, when it comes to SEO, less means more. Optimizing your content doesn’t mean that you should integrate as many keywords as possible. On the contrary! One or two long-tail keywords relevant to your niche that are placed strategically in your headline, Meta description, header, body, and image ALT tags will be more than enough to get your site to rank high. Consequently, excessive link exchanging, publishing duplicated or thin content or using too many interstitials can also get your site on the bad side of Google. Not only that search engines dismiss these practices, but even Internet users are turned off by them. As far as link building goes, you need to know that guest blogging is still a relevant and useful tactic. However, you need to ensure that the sites you’re guest blogging for are authoritative and, most importantly, relevant to your audience. Optimize Keep your site optimized by ensuring a decent keyword consistency. Don’t overdo it, though. Instead, focus more on device and media optimization and on creating rich content. Try to include videos in your content since they are easier to rank on the first page than it is for other formats. Also, be consistent when it comes to your domain name and have it centralized. You do not want your users to land on the wrong page. SEO can be time-consuming and extremely frustrating. But, your business can’t exist in the online world without it. Get familiar with its best practices and start implementing them today.