Ok, so you’ve submitted your website to the necessary search engines, you type in your keywords, and…ok…it’s not on page 1…2…10….ah! There it is on page …11 ??!! What’s wrong?
What exactly IS Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? According to Webopedia.com, it’s “the process of increasing the amount of visitors to a Web site by ranking high in the search results of a search engine”, in other words, getting a high Google/Yahoo/ placement.
SEO has two sets of techniques on-page and off-page. On-page is when you do tinker the site itself to optimize it.
On-page optimization usually requires HTML skills, thus it could get really technical. But if you’ve always been inquisitive and you have enough time to learn HTML, it would help you a lot. Make sure that your site has the following qualities:
1. quick loading pages (if it takes forever, you won’t get much repeat visitors)
2. a professional look
3. clear about what it is you offer and what the visitor’s next step should be (such as signing up for a newsletter)
4. provides some pertinent information right on the first page (with no clicking on links required)
Search engines use “spiders” to follow the links around the web, and get content from the web pages they find. Before you get creepy, crawly ideas in your mind, these “spiders” are different from our usual 8-legged friends. They are actually automated robots, and when they follow links they’re “crawling” the web (also called “spidering”), hence, the name.
Off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the next step you can resort to after dealing with on-page beautification of your site. One cool method is to submit your website to search engines. Many people view this as a very important step in SEO, some even going as far as paying huge amounts to companies that promise to submit their sites to “thousands” of search engines. Before you break the bank, many an experienced programmer has said that you do not need thousands of search engines, but simply the top 5. Submitting your website means filling out a form that is provided by the search engine. For Google, for example, you can submit your site at http://www.google.com/addurl.html, and once its registered, it’s automatically updated. It used to be that this was the basic step in skyrocketing your site’s searchability to the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS), and, if you don’t have other websites that link to yours, this step may be necessary, but if you do have other web sites that link to yours, whether or not you submit your site, these guys will find you.
Another step that many webmasters take is article marketing. Web content is what keeps the Internet community go round. Who won’t enjoy reading tips after tips after tips on just about anything in this world. If you can write well, cool! You can save a lot as long as you have the time to provide content for your site. But if you don’t, there’s always SEO writers to help you in that endeavor. Aside from providing quality web content to your site, which is what will keep traffic pouring to your site. Share some of your content to article directories. When other website owners find your content apt for their own site’s, provided that you have a well-written resource box (a concise description of your site and your website’s URL and your name), that should help you boost your site’s search engine placement.
Webmasters have focused on breaking the code of a search engine’s algorithm, which is simply the “formula” a search engine uses to match the websites with the terms being used. Attempts at trying to figure out these algorithms is futile, first of all, because these are not simple formulas, but could contain hundreds of factors, and secondly, they are constantly changing.
There is another dichotomy of SEO with regards to whether the techniques are ethical or not. They are known as white hat techniques and black hat techniques. The techniques mentioned above are “usually” known as white hat techniques. The adverb “usually” was used because when abuse of those techniques is made, they can also turn into black hat techniques, which is what many quality search engines frown upon.
Some focus on “tricks” or what SEO experts call “BlackHat SEO” such as using invisible text (e.g. putting pink text on a pink background), cloaking, which means showing one page to a search engine’s spider and showing a different page to the real visitors, and keyword stuffing, which simply means, cramming every nook and cranny of your website with your keywords. These tricks could “work” for a while, but, on the other hand, could also warrant penalties from the search engines, resulting in either a lower ranking, or altogether being banned.
So, how do you achieve Search Engine Optimization? The key is still your website’s content. Building a high quality site for your readers/customers is the best way to achieve SEO. Build it, and they will come. It sounds simplistic, but it’s true.
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