Search Engine Optimization
What exactly is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via un-paid organic search results as opposed to Search Engine Marketing or SEM which deals with paid inclusion. Typically, the higher a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a web site web presence.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work and what people search for. Optimizing a website primarily involves editing its content and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.
Higher rankings in the natural listings (organic listings) of search engines will get your web site more exposure to your target market if positioned correctly. However, a first page position in a search engine result for a particular term does not ensure success. There are many factors to consider when positioning a web site within the search engines and their directories, including site design and architecture.
Factors for Long-term Success in the Natural Rankings
Target Marketing - The first step in search engine optimization is to determine and analyze your target. Ponder the demographic, psychographic and geographic attributes of your "bread and butter" sales to determine the specific target market you should reach out to with your web site. All of your marketing efforts should be dedicated to this target market. Do not spread your marketing efforts too thin to be the "master of all trades." Doing this produces ineffective results in the search engines. You may feature all your "trades" on your web site, but focus on and target the "bread and butter."
Analysis and Research - If your web site already exists, it will be analyzed for current search engine positioning, as well as your competitors' success with the target market. Research on keyword search terms will be analyzed for counts per month, price competitiveness and relevance to the target market. The current keyword density of the pages within your site will also be analyzed and then tweaked after research is complete.
Web Site Optimization - The next step in SEO is to optimize your web site with your strategically selected, targeted keywords. These keywords are chosen based on the research of actual searches done in the search engines. Then the chosen keywords are incorporated into the body text, title tags, text links, image ALT tags, and META tags of each page of your web site.
Example: If you sell water fountains in Houston, you would like for the search term " Houston water fountain" to appear in all of these places. Just be sure you have enough content so you don't look like you're "stuffing" keywords.
Web Site Architecture - The design of a web site is very important to search engine spiders/crawlers. If the spiders/crawlers cannot read the web content, because it is all one graphic image or uses Flash, this will hurt your search engine marketing strategy. A minimum amount of text should be available on an optimized page, helpful graphic images should be supportive of the text, HTML code tags should be set up on every page, etc.
Unique Content - It is very important that all content on your web site be unique and rich in your targeted key search terms for SEO. Content that is copied from another site will hurt your site's ranking position in the search engines. PDFs, articles and newsletters all perform very well because they usually contain keyword-rich content. Visible, relevant and quality text used throughout the site will help you succeed in the search engines. A site that's updated frequently with new content will also encourage search engine spiders to re-visit the site frequently. Articles and press releases are a great way to continually add new content.
Submission of Your Web Site - A web site optimized for search engines must be submitted to the spiders/crawlers to be spidered and distributed across the Internet through several outlets. Once the site has been submitted, search engines will have records of pages that have been indexed.
Link Popularity - If your web site has many relevant quality sites linking to it, then its "page rank" will be higher than most, and the search engines will deem it more valuable than one with a lower "page rank" of relevant information.
Avoid link farms - Natural, ethical web site optimization and constant updates will ensure your long-term success in the search engines. A good web site optimization strategy paired with a strong pay per click campaign will help you increase your exposure, and therefore your sales!
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