SEO: Search Engine Optimization
The process whereby web pages are designed, built and modified with search engine results in mind. A branch of search engine marketing (SEM), SEO involves attending to the many factors involved in a search engine's algorithm including on page elements (such as meta tags and internal linking) and off page factors (the number of back links coming to a site - used to build Page Rank). The goal of SEO is high placement (preferably number one!) in the organic listings of search engines (especially Google).
The foundation of a successful SEO program consists of the following building blocks:
- Keyword-rich text. The majority of a site's pages should contain the words and phrases the target audience types into search queries. Pages should appear somewhat focused on these important keyword phrases, and the phrases should be featured prominently on the page. Otherwise, the page won't convert well or receive consistent search engine traffic over time. Keyword research and copywriting for individual HTML tags are a part of this building block.
- Information/site architecture and page layout. Search engines and end users must be given easy access to keyword-rich content. How text, graphic images, and multimedia files are arranged on a page tells search engines and site visitors which content the site owner believes is most important. URL structure and technical architecture figure into that as well.
- Link development. Commonly referred to as link popularity, this is the number and quality of objective, third-party links pointing to your URL or Web site. Of course, not all links pointing to a site are objective, third-party links, but those types of links aren't always the most credible.
Keywords are Index Terms or descriptors for information retrieval systems that capture the essence of the topic of a document. In terms of this document, keywords can be used in TWO ways.
- Meta Tag Keywords: An HTML tag that search engines reference for web site indexing. Some basic rules for Meta Keywords are as follows:
- Keep your list of keywords or keyword phrases down to 10 - 15 unique words or phrases;
- Separate the words or phrases using a comma (you do not need to leave a space between words separated by commas);
- Do not repeat words or phrases;
- Put your most important word or phrases at the beginning of your list.
- Keyword-Rich Text: Words used throughout your website content that are strategic in explaining or describing your content.
- The majority of your site's pages should contain the words and phrases your target audience types into search queries. Pages should appear somewhat focused on these important keyword phrases, and the phrases should be featured prominently on the page.
These keywords and phrases should be variations on your product or service, ie: Levi Jeans, Levis, Levi Straus, Denim, Blue Jeans, Fashion, etc. (If you sell jeans, that is...)?
As your site content develops it is important to keep the hierarchy of your website simple and logical.
By consciously determining the hierarchy of your site, you help insure that your customers will see your business how you want them to. Rather than a messy room of disjointed and seemingly unrelated information, you will offer an organized and familiar collection of major categories that filter down to the specifics of each visitor’s particular inquiry. To create the hierarchy for your site:
- Brainstorm and define what information is to be included on the site.
- Chunk together logically similar areas and strip away redundant information.
- Define the interaction between the various areas based upon logical assumptions of what will be needed where.
Developing Link Popularity can be the most difficult part of SEO. Getting other companies, organizations and blogs to link to your website takes time and energy. The best way to improve your Link Popularity is to go out and start informing “the community” (your target audience) of your products and services. Ask other websites to link to your website and do the same for them. Some ideas include:
- Get directory listings (of sites and organizations that could link to you)
- Provide the linking code
- Develop a relationship with a site
- Barter for links
- Have customer’s link to your website.
Link Popularity is all about the quality of the sites linking to you. Be selective about the sites from which you request links. Search engines use sophisticated rules when judging the importance of a link, and the popularity of the site linking to you is a key criteria. One link from CNet is worth far more than a link from a personal web site. Try to identify non-competitive sites in the same field as your site. Links from sites that are related to your area carry more weight than sites that don’t - links from sites within your industry are strong endorsements for your site.
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