Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You might have heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) before but those who haven’t might ask, What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? SEO is the on going optimizing of a web site by updating and improving the external and internal aspects in order to increase the sites traffic from search engines. SEO deals with many aspects from building links and marketing the uniqueness of your site, to making it search engine friendly, to recognition of key terms and phrases that help generate traffic. Search queries, the words that users type into the search box which contain key terms and phrases most suitable to your site, carry exceptional value. The ultimate goal is to gain as much search engine traffic as possible to gain exposure because exposure can make or break an organization.

Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The next question you might have is how do search engines find your web site or sites you are searching? Search Engines need a way to “crawl” the web and index all the different sites and documents, the way they do that is by using links. The link structure of the web assists to bind together all of the pages on the web. Search engines automated robots called “spiders” or “crawlers” can reach billions of interconnected documents through the links. Once the pages are found they are stored into gigantic hard drives to be recalled when needed in a query.

When designing your web site you might want to make a checklist to make sure that your site will be found by the search engines.

Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)You want to make content indexable to the search engines, the way to do this is make the content HTML text format, or else the search engines will not be able to read it. The engines can’t read images, flash files, java applets and other non-text content, actually they are virtually invisible to search engine spiders. There is a way to make images in gif, jpg or png format visible to spiders by assigning them “alt attributes” in HTML, this provides the search engines a text description of the visual content. Also, with flash or java plug-in contained content can be repeated in text on the page.

The link structure of a site needs to be crawlable so that the spiders can browse through the pathway of a website in order to find all the pages on the site. Even before that though, search engines need to see content so they can list the pages in their enormous keyword based indices. Your website might have great content, keyword targeting and marketing but that won’t matter if the spiders can’t reach those pages.

Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The keyword usage and targeting are very important to website. Keywords are the building blocks of search and language. When the engines crawl and index content of pages, they store all the keyword based indices. The search engines have millions of small databases based on keyword terms or phrase. They measure keywords that are used on a page to determine relevance of a document to a query. The keywords are prominently used in titles, text, and meta data.

Title tag is the title on top of the website and should be a clear, concise description of a page’s content. 70 characters is the maximum amount that will display in the search results. Keywords should be included in the title tag because it helps with your site ranking. Start your title tag with a brand name mention to increase brand awareness and higher click through rate. Make sure that title tag is captivating so that you will pull in visitors to your site.

Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Meta Tags are intended to provide a substitute for information about a website’s content. Meta robot tags can be used to control search engine spiders activity on a page level. The meta description tag exists as a short description of a page’s content. The meta description advertises what your website has to offer, this draws users to your site. Meta descriptions shouldn’t be longer than 160 characters.

Usability and user experience are second order that influences on search engines ranking success behind keyword placement, links and site structure. Search engines are able to measure the sites popularity, which lets the search engine know that the site is of high quality or is not up to par and no one wants to link to it. Crafting a thoughtful, empathetic user experience can almost guarantee that users will come back to your site. Encouraging sharing, bookmarking, return visits and links signal to search engines and contribute to higher ranking.

URL structure is important because you want users to be able to easily and accurately predict the content you’d except to find on the site, so make sure your URL are appropriately descriptive. Minimizing length and trailing slashes makes your URL easier to copy and paste and fully visible to search engines. If your targeting keyword terms or phrases they should be included in your URL. Create a simple static URLs. Use descriptive real words, instead of meaningless numbers or figures nobody can remember. Use hyphens to separate words in a URL.

Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There are many ways to get links and link building is a big part of SEO work. Many sites offer directories or listing of relevant resources that you can submit your site to. You can get customers to link to you. Building a company blog and make it a valuable, informative and entertaining resource. Create content that users want to share with others and inspires natural linking. Lastly, build content that can be shared through a citation based licensing agreement.

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