A newbies Guide to Search engine optimization
For the uninitiated, SEO can be a little overwhelming at first. In addition to trying to figure out if you can actually manipulate the rankings of websites in search engines, you also need to navigate the claims of different websites (less then half of which are from North America) that all claim to give you a #1 ranking in Google for $500. Here is a brief overview.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. This differs from search engine marketing (SEM) which deals with paying search engines to include you in the paid sections of their search results pages (SERPs). The higher a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive. Over 26% of the people click on the search result show by search engines. For any given search, only 1% of Internet users will click on the 10th listing. As with everything else in business, being number #1 is critical.
Search engine companies generally offer SEO as a stand-alone service or as a part of a broader marketing campaign. SEO often requires changes to the HTML source code of a site, and as a result, SEO firms generally have HTML programmers and other technical people on staff.
Another class of techniques, known as black hat SEO or Spamdexing exists in the marketplace. These type of services try to “trick Google” into giving their clients top rankings. These black had SEO firms use link farms, keyword stuffing and article spinning. Search engines aggressively crack down on these firms, and as a result, they comprise a much smaller segment of the SEO landscape then of years past. Google is particularily aggressive on removing spammy sites from their search engine rankings. As a side point Matt Cutts (the leader of the anti-spam unit) will give home made cookies to anyone that can find porn sites in the search engine results pages (unless the search was for porn – in that case, showing websites with porn is completely acceptable).
If you want a concise, all purpose checklist of how to do SEO, it’s worth viewing the document created by Google: www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769
When conducting SEO there are only four things that you need to do well.
People search for information on Google by typing keywords into Google. The first step in any SEO campaign is to figure out what people search for when they look for the products and/or services that your company is offering. If might sounds simple, but it’s not. To use an example, every day, people end up at Kisscafe.com after typing in move then 1,000 different phrases into Google. Every high traffic website is the same. It’s important to determine the exact phrases that people use. But don’t worry; Google has tools that you can use. Their Adwords tool is among the best.
We’ll complete a keyword analysis for you. We’ll consider over 1,000 keywords and find a manageable number of keywords that many people are search for. Like the real world, we find keywords (demand) that few websites are optimized for (little competition). In this way, we patrol the waters for underserved keyword markets.
On Page SEO
Create a high quality website and pay attention to on-page SEO factors. The most important of these on page factors are page titles, meta tags, internal linking, anchor text, and alt tags for images. It important that you go through your site with a fine tooth comb and fix any errors or shortcomings that might be preventing your website form being ranking prominently in the search engines. It is a time consuming task. So, feel free to give us a call and let us help you out.
Writing Good Content for your Website
95% of the time people visit websites, they’re looking for content. Pretty pictures and fancy flash are nice, but at the end of the day, it’s the content on your website that will draw people to in and keep them coming back for more. More then anything else, the success of your website will depend one the quality of your content and the ability of people to find it. Content is crucially important and we strongly urge you to read our content creation best practices document. In this document, we cover all the key things that you need to know to write the kind of high quality, relevant content that websites need to thrive.
Backlinks (or back-links [UK]) are incoming links to a website or web page. In the search engine optimization (SEO) world, the number of backlinks is probably the best indication of how popular or relevant a website it. The rationale is as follows.
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important".
If another websites has linked to your website, it must be because someone at that website thinks your website is pretty good. If 1,000 other websites link to you, then there must be 1,000 other people out there that have websites that all think your website is good enough to link to. In other words, a PageRank results from a "vote" among all the other pages on the World Wide Web about how important a page is. A hyperlink to a page counts as a vote of support. A page that is linked to by many pages with high PageRank receives a high rank itself. If there are no links to a web page there is no support for that page.
All backlinks aren’t weighted equally. Backlinks from authoritative sites on a given topic are highly valuable. One quality backlink from a respected site can be worth as much as 100’s of links from less respected websites. Another important factor is the anchor text of the backlink. Anchor text is the descriptive labeling of the hyperlink as it appears on a webpage. Search engine bots (i.e., spiders, crawlers, etc.) examine the anchor text to evaluate how relevant it is to the content on a webpage. Anchor text and webpage content congruency are highly weighted in search engine results page (SERP) rankings of your webpage with respect to any given keyword query by a search engine user.
So, that’s it! It might sounds complicated, but it’s not. Our advice? Let us help you. Think of SEO as your online marketing. We’ll help you put your best foot forward on the Internet.