Search engine optimization, better known by the acronym SEO, has skyrocketed to the top of online marketers’ priority lists in recent years. An extremely cost effective tool for those who perform it well, internet marketing SEO brings business owners’ websites to the forefront of the Internet, making it easier for potential customers to find them and thereby ultimately increasing sales. With such proven results, it’s no wonder search engine optimization is such a hot topic in the online marketing industry these days.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization works primarily by tailoring a website’s content to fit within the complex algorithms of popular search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Websites best responding to these algorithms are promoted the top of the search results for a given keyword or phrase that a website user types into the search engine. Extensive marketing research has proven that most website users only click on the links listed on the first page of search results, with most clicks going to the websites “above the fold,” an online marketing term referring to all content displayed by default on the screen, with its counterpart phrase, “below the fold,” referring to the rest of the content visible only by using the browser’s scroll bar. The more highly a business is ranked in the search results, the more likely that business is to attract new customers and leads. Clearly, SEO can make or break a business.
The key to successful SEO strategy is through the use of keywords. Search engine algorithms respond to the keywords used in a visitor’s search query by pulling websites that use those keywords or keyword phrases often. There are numerous places within a website wherein website owners can incorporate these keywords, including meta information, page titles, URL address, headlines, subheadlines and body content. It is not simply enough to load up all relevant keywords into these places, however. This process, better known as “keyword stuffing,” is actually flagged by search engine algorithms as spam and irrelevant, meaning the search engines will demote this page towards the bottom of search results. Whenever possible, use keywords when relevant, with clear, grammatically correct language. Prepare your website with a top priority on readability and clarity, with search engine optimization being the second priority. Although seemingly counter-intuitive, such an approach is more likely to yield a website better results when it comes to search engine optimization.
Creating Inbound Links
Another significant component of effective search engine optimization is a website’s relationship with other websites on the Internet. According to search engine algorithms, the more highly-ranked websites linking to a particular website, the more likely that that website will be ranked in search results. This is where social media networks and directories have an important role. Website owners can create pages for their websites on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr or one of hundreds of other social media networks, with each social media page containing a link back to the original website. Website owners can also submit their websites to Internet directories, which has the added benefit of promoting their businesses to the directories’ visitors. Another such way that website owners can build and strengthen the inbound links to their website is to develop relationship with other website owners; many businesses will cross-promote each other on their respective websites, in the interest of supporting each other’s internet marketing SEO efforts.
Given the enormous attention and care paid to search engine optimization within the online marketing industries, there are thousands of ways that business owners can learn the trade and incorporate it into their marketing strategies. Business owners with an accommodating budget can employ the services of an SEO firm, whose core business is to optimize SEO for their clients. Business owners with stricter budgets can read the seemingly limitless pieces of literature pertaining to SEO, in the bookstore and online. Although an extensive industry unto itself, SEO is thankfully fairly simple to learn and to execute. All that’s needed are time, patience and skill to see enormous results.