Simply put, search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of getting your website ranked in the top 10 or 15 search engine results. Putting it another way, it’s how you get found on the internet.
Do you currently have a website? If so, I’m sure you’ve been bombarded with people guaranteeing to get your website in the top 10 search results for a price. Take my advice here. Don’t fall for it.
If you don’t have a website, you probably are confused about what SEO is, or why it even matters. I know I was.
Well, it matters a lot. Read on and you’ll see why.
There are lots of search engines. The three biggest are Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I’m going to confine my discussion to Google because it’s the grandaddy of them all.
The mathematical formulas search engines use to search the web are called algorithms. These algorithms are built into tools called crawlers. Crawlers do just what the name implies. They crawl through websites and content, then catalog them using keywords and phrases.
In the internet’s early days , people thought if they packed more keywords into their websites, a search would return mores hits. The more hits, the more popular the page would be, hence a higher rating. Ten years ago they were correct.
This is why hucksters tell you they will get your websites into Google’s top ten list for a fee.
It also made for some weird looking copy with clumsy search phrases just stuck in whether they made sense or not.
Google has changed, big time. Now its algorithms look at more than 200 criteria to rank a web site. When I found this out, my first thought was, “Holy cow! How can I keep track of 200 ranking criteria?” Well, the good news is you don’t have to.
Google now relies more on original content than keywords. You can even search Google by voice now (just click the little microphone in the search bar).
The first rule is build your pages for the visitor, not the search engine. Your first concern is providing informative content to your visitors.
That said, there are considerations when it comes to the placement of keywords. Go back to the list of keywords you developed and find the “seed word” that describes your business. (If you already have a website, you can use the following to see if there are any flaws in the design). If it works, make sure that keyword is in your domain name.
There is a tag called a “meta tag”. This is a brief description of what your website is about. It shows up after your name in the search engine results. Most search engines cut the sentence off after 60-65 characters including spaces. My advice is to keep it under 60 to be safe. Try to get the keyword as close to the beginning of the sentence as possible.
For instance, my meta tag is: “Internet Marketing - A Plain English Guide”. 43 Characters. I could have said, “A Plain English Guide to Internet Marketing”. It sounds better, but the keywords “Internet Marketing” are now at the end. Search engines rank them higher if they’re at the beginning.
Next use that keyword in the title of your home page. Also make sure it is used liberally in the sub heads and body text on the page. A word of caution. Don’t force this. If you use the keyword too many times, Google recognizes it. Then your page winds up being downgraded.
Remember, you can also use multiple keywords on a page. More that 10 is not recommended, simply because it becomes difficult to get them all in.
These techniques are also applicable to all the other pages on your website.
In summary then: