In very basic terms, SEO or search engine optimization is the process of improving the traffic going to your web site through the various search engines.
When people search for things on the Internet or World Wide Web they go to the the search engines like Google or Yahoo, they type in what they are looking for and they are given pages of results in the form of web sites that have the relevant information. For example, if people are looking for “dirty blue widgets” they are given search page results that will have some or all of those terms in their web site design and web site content. The searcher then clicks on each web site link given and determines if this is what they are looking for or not.
The search engines use programs called spiders to crawl or move through “web” looking for every piece of information available and then send it back to its search engine home to be indexed and cataloged according to the text, keywords, keyword terms and images found. In general terms then, if you are discussing or selling dirty blue widgets from your web site you want people to know that. You want your web site to show up in a search for “dirty blue widgets”. It is important then, to be sure that the search engine spiders that do visit your pages know that your website is about that keyword term. You need to optimize your site to stress that fact to these spiders.
There are a number of things that you can look at to ensure maximum optimization:
o using specific, relevant keyword[s]
o proper keyword density
o using related keywords
o using your keywords in the right places like your URL, meta tags, title tags, heading tags etc
o linking properly within your web site pages
Those are some very basic things you can do within your web site pages, this is known as on-site SEO. You also need to look at off-site SEO which consists of incoming or back links to your site. Think of these links coming in to your site as votes. The more that people vote, the more importance the search engines place on your web site and its content. The more relevant the links are the better. In other words, links form other sites that have also highlight “dirty blue widgets” will count for more than a site about peanut butter. There are a number of things that you can do here:
o directory listings with a link back to your site
o articles in article directories or other web sites with links back to your site
o forum postings with a link back to your site
o comments on blogs with a link back to your site
o link exchanges
o buying links
o creating content that people want to link to. Sometimes referred to as “link bait”
There are a number of things that you can control and a number that you can’t when it comes to SEO. But basically, you want to make it very easy for people to find your web site. And that means you need to make it as easy as possible for the search engines to find you and know exactly what your web site is all about. Remember that these search engine spiders are programs that visit and help to index your site. They need to have the information served to them in specific ways to help them do their job. You won’t have a live human visiting who can make a judgment call.
On the other hand, your live visitors will come and make a judgment call as to whether your web site is relevant to them or not. They will decide whether your content is compelling enough to stay or buy or not. There is a delicate balancing act in SEO between your electronic visitors and your live ones.
In the next few articles we will go through all of the necessary steps in optimizing your web site for “dirty blue widgets” in more detail.