Why Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Such A Mystery?

Why Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Such A Mystery?

Whether you’ve created a website already or are planning to create one in the near future, you know that’s only half the battle. The other half is getting your website listed in the search engine search results on page one in hopes of attracting those interested in the type of products or services you offer. Through effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics, you can improve your search engine rankings for important terms, gain more free traffic, and do more business.

You have a website and everyone keeps telling you that you need to take the time to optimize your website for the search engines. They’re throwing around terms like SEO and SEM and everything seems like a confusing mess. In order to have a successful website, or one that has online visibility, you do need to focus on SEO, or search engine optimization. But what exactly does that mean?

Before I dive into the SEO tips, I’ll give you my definition of both SEO and SEM. I’ll also cover some of the most common SEO terms and give you explanations in plain English. This knowledge will help set the stage for everything that follows.

Search engine optimization, aka SEO, is the term that refers to the things you can do to improve your website’s visibility in the search engines. Search engine optimization techniques focus on increasing the organic, or natural, traffic that you receive based on your ranking within the search engines. The goal of search engine optimization is to ensure your website appeals to search engine crawlers, or bots. The search engines will take note of your site and its content, categorizing it in a way that will allow it to show up in search results when certain keywords are entered into a search engine search.

Search engine optimization is achieved through a wide variety of methods. Many webmasters or SEO professionals will focus on proper keyword research, clarity in the setup of your website’s headers, tags, file names and descriptions, external backlinking, internal cross linking, and quality content creation.

While each search engine uses its own algorithm for determining the ranking of every page that is indexed, it is possible to increase your rankings by making your site informative and visible via both on-page and off-page techniques. Sites that are designed with ease-of-use and quality information in mind tend to do better than those built haphazardly and without a solid plan.

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is similar to search engine optimization but focuses less on natural rankings and more on the actual promotion of a website. SEM techniques generally include natural SEO but almost always branches out to include paid search advertising.

Paid search advertising models became more prominent in the late 1990’s, after the search engines themselves became more popular. SEM focuses more on business-oriented websites and their overall online marketing strategies. Because many of the paid advertisements appear at the top of the search engine results, the FTC declared that all paid advertisements and website listings must be clearly denoted so that consumers do not confuse them with websites that have obtained high rankings naturally.

It really doesn’t matter what type of website you have, whether it’s personal or geared towards your business. Incorporating search engine optimization techniques into the creation and ongoing upkeep of your site will ensure you receive higher levels of traffic and, ultimately, greater success.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is increasingly important these days, as more businesses struggle to secure the highest ranking possible for Internet search engine results. Internet marketing is a fiercely competitive world, and if your business's website is not optimized for maximum web exposure, it will, literally, fall behind the many websites that are. If you want to land your webpage on the coveted first page of search engine results, there are some things you can do to improve your chances by optimizing the site itself (on page), and the off-site direct links (off page).

Here are some on and off page search engine optimization tips:

On page:

  • Create a unique, content-rich title for each page. The title and its description are perhaps the most important part of your site when it comes to SEO. Your title should contain your most important keyword phrase and the title description should be less than seventy words.
  • Prioritize your heading keywords. Use keywords in your headers in order of priority (H1 - H3). Crawlers use header keywords to identify important content.
  • Beware of overusing keywords. Keyword density should only be between two and five percent. If you load your content with unnecessary keywords, your site could be ranked lower by search engines, or kicked off altogether.

Off page:

  • Distribute articles to other sites. Articles that you submit to outside sites for publication should have a link back to your site, and are a great and free way to optimize your site's search engine presence.
  • Build an Internet presence outside of your site. This involves creating pages on social networking sites and bookmarking sites in order to drive more traffic to your site. Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon are good places to start.
  • Have your site listed on applicable directories. Providing a back link on as many directories as possible is an important part of a link building campaign.
  • Post comments on blogs. Commenting on blogs that somehow pertain to your business's service or product is a great way to speak to online users who are specifically interested in your trade or industry. Be sure to add quality comments and include a back link to your site.

There is no point in building a website unless there are visitors coming in. A major source of traffic for most sites on the Internet is search engines like Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Altavista and so on. So, by designing a search engine friendly site, you will be more likely to rank well in search engines and obtain more visitors.

Do not present important information in Flash movies or in images. Search engine robots can only read text on your source code so if you present important words in Flash movies and images rather than textual form, your search engine ranking will be affected dramatically.

Use meta tags accordingly on each and every page of your site so that search engine robots know at first glance what that particular page is about and whether or not to index it. By using meta tags, you are making the search engine robot’s job easier so they will crawl and index your site more frequently.

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