Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very important part of any
site marketing strategy. SEO is also one of the
most widely discussed and debated web
marketing topics of discussion
Let's begin by getting on the same page with regards to the definition
of Search Engine Optimization, also known as "SEO".
SEO refers to an entire process the objective of
which is to improve a web site's ranking in the major search engines
for specific keywords and phrases. The process includes:
- Selection of the best keywords and phrases related to your web
- The integration of those keywords and phrases into the content
of your site.
- The application of a number of technical procedures that tie
the above together.
Remember, the objective is to optimize your site in order to assist
the search engines with aligning your site with Internet users that
are performing web searches using those same keywords and phrases.
Let's take a closer look at the key elements of this process...
Keyword Selection - Choosing the best keywords
and phrases is the cornerstone of a comprehensive optimization
strategy. One of the most common mistakes made is to target the
wrong keywords and phrases. Many web site owners simply make assumptions
about what keywords and phrases they think people will punch into
the search engines when looking for their products or services.
The majority of the time, making assumptions instead of performing
a thorough analysis of what terms would be ideal based on some facts
leads to dissappointing results A proper analysis will provide you
with the following essential pieces of information:
Once you are armed with the facts you can proceed with selecting the
best keywords and phrases for your own Search Engine Optimization
efforts. Those are the ones that strike a balance between being used
most frequently and being targeted by the fewest other web pages.
This is because is it is much easier to get high rankings in the search
engines when there are fewer other web pages competing for the same
keywords and phrases.
- Exactly what words and phrases related to your website's subject
matter are actually being entered into the search engines by Internet
- How frequently are those words and phrases being searched for
on the engines compared to one another?
- How many other web pages appear to be targeting the same terms?
If you decide to tackle the optimizing of your site yourself there
are a couple of excellent online resources that will assist in your
research for the best keywords for your project.
The "Search Term Suggestion Tool" at Overture.com
is a free tool that is somewhat limited in terms of its functionality
but is helpful and... Free!
A more powerful and comprehensive suite of keyword research and analysis
tools are provided by WordTracker.com.
The service they provide is not free but is very affordable and will
prove to be an excellent investment.
Web Site Content - Once you have completed your analysis
and have selected the best keywords and phrases for your site the
next step is to include them in the main content pages of your site.
Your carefully selected keywords should be sprinkled generously throughout
the body copy (text) of your site's pages. They should not be repeated
over and over again relentlessly but rather, used as frequently as
practical without adversely affecting the quality of the content or
readability of the page.
Technical Steps - There are a few things that can
be done as part of the programming, design and assembly of the site
that will assist the optimization of your site for the search engines.
Some of the most important of them are:
- Page Names - Whenever possible, the name that you give each page
on your site should be relevant to the content of that page and include
the keywords you are targeting for that page. Use hyphens or underscores
to separate the words.
- Page Titles - Each page on your site should be labeled independently
and the title should be relevant to the content of that page and include
keywords you are targeting for that page.
- Meta Tags - Although declining in importance with many of the major
search engines they do play a role and should be utilized according
to current guidelines. Of particular importance is the "Description"
- Image ALT Tags - You have the option to include descriptive text
that will be visible to anyone that holds their mouse over images
on your web pages. The text should be relevant to the image and its
purpose on the page. You have written a good ALT image tag if the
text is helpful to anyone viewing the page but was unable to see the
image itself. Whenever practical, work your keywords into the alt
The list of steps above is by no means complete but they are considered
by most experts to be some of the most important technical steps that
should be taken as part of a comprehensive to improve the search engine
rankings of a web page.
List Your Site - The process for getting your site
listed in the major search engines varies depending on the engine
in question. Many of the larger ones, such as Google for example,
do not allow you to add your site to them yourself. Instead, they
add your site automatically over time after their automated web-surfing
"bots" visit your site and "read" it to determine
what it is about and how to rank it vs. other pages for certain keywords.
These bots most often get to your site by following a link to it from
another site (more on linking below). Some do allow you to "add
your site" to them by completing an online form. Some allow you
to do this at no charge others require you to pay. Still others will
allow you to list your site for free but provide an option to have
your site listed with them more quickly for a fee.
It is very important to also add your site to the relevant cateogories
in the major "directories" on the web such as DMOZ,
and others. Not only do Internet users visit them to look for web
sites in a categorized fashion but many of the search engines use
the listings in the major directories to generate their listings and
Link Building - Arguably one of the most important
and cost-effective methods of driving targeted traffic to your site
and enhancing the rankings of your site. This refers to the process
of getting the webmaster of another site to place a link to your site
from their own. Sometimes this is done in exchange for the same from
you. The effect of a link building strategy is improved exponentially
when the site you are exchanging links with is related in some way
to the subject matter of your own site. There are two major benefits
to this. The first is that visitors to the other site that click on
your link to visit your site will be more qualified and highly targeted.
The second key benefit is more directly related to the SEO of your
site. Some of the most important search engines count a link to your
site from another to be a sort "vote" for your site's relevance
and importance. More weight is given to links that are located on
sites that the engine considers relevant to the subject matter of
your own and the perceived "importance" of that site, which
again, is related to the number and quality of related links pointing
to that site. An ongoing link building campaign should be part of
any web site
marketing strategy and Search
Engine Optimization effort.
IQNetCom Corp, a full service provider of successful e-business solutions
owns and manages this site. IQNetCom provides the entire range of
services needed to launch and maintain a successful online presence
and can help you achieve improved search engine rankings.
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