Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, can be a confusing and daunting task to someone that is wondering how to get their website to the top of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. The gorilla of search engine providers is Google, accounting for close to 85% of the global search engine market share, as of July 2010. In addition to being the largest search engine provider, it is also the most sophisticated and hardest to conquer in terms of SEO.
SEO is many things. It is an art, it is a science. It is logical, it is technical and at the same time it is creative. When applying SEO to your Website Design, you need to be part marketer and part technology geek.
The majority of all Search Engine Optimization is a methodology where you research how visitors are using keyword phrases in the search engines when looking for a particular service. Contrary to what some may believe, not all keywords are created equal. Some will be better at attracting researchers while others are superior at bringing potential customers and buyers.
In the world of today’s search engines, there are two ways for visibility in the search engine results page, better known as SERPS.
- Sponsored Listings: This is how commercial search engines fund their operations. Common examples of these advertisements are displayed on the right hand side of the page as small classified style ads or directly above the main organic search results.
- Organic Listings: Organic search results, also known as natural search results, are listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, and are not paid by the owner of the website to the search engine.
The ultimate goal in organic SEO is to get well placed in the natural search results. You want to choose keyword phrases that will draw people who are interested in what you are offering, whether it is a service or information. If your business sells to the local community, then you need to focus on using community names in your keyword phrases.
There are three major areas to search engine optimization.
- Keywords: Research and decide on the phrases that people are likely to type when they are doing a search. Buyers will tend to use more specific 3-5 word phrases. They will often use manufacturer names and model numbers rather than broader phrases. Develop a written plan with your selected keywords, assigning specific phrases to related web pages.
- On site SEO: Here the keyword phrases are used visibly on your actual web pages. Use keywords and phrases in the META tags, page titles, headline tags (H1, H2, H6), in text of your content, and in the hyperlinks of your pages. It is also good practice to have a keyword rich domain name
- Off site SEO: These are steps you do outside of the website. Getting other websites in your niche to link to your website is a large part of off site SEO. Links should be from relevant websites, blogs, directories and social media. Preferably the anchor text (hyperlink text) will include your keywords and keyword phrases.
SEO is the art and science of generating and increasing traffic to your website from the major search engines. This optimization includes improving internal and external aspects of your site.