Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website on organic ("natural" or un-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs), by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website. A successful search engine optimization campaign will have, as part of the improvements, carefully select, relevant, keywords which the on-page optimization will be designed to make prominent for search engine algorithms. Search engine optimization is broken down into two basic areas: on-page, and off-page optimization. On-page optimization refers to website elements which comprise a web page, such as HTML code, textual content, and images. Off-page optimization refers, predominantly, to backlinks (links pointing to the site which is being optimized, from other relevant websites).
YOUR ON PAGE TEXTUAL CONTENT IS KING!
Anyone who owns a business is on a constant lookout for the best ways to market and promote their business. There are the usual means of marketing like phone books, newspapers, radio and television. They all have their place, but they are not very targeted, usually the ad cost is fairly expensive, and the phone book and newspaper advertising is becoming obsolete. Certain things can be done like getting demographic information to make it a little more targeted. But, these forms of advertising largely depend on their numbers. There is also word of mouth advertising which has its place, and should definitely be pursued. But, when paying for advertising it is best to look for the most targeted advertising possible for the least amount of money. And, the most targeted available currently is by using the Internet and search engine optimization.
When discussing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with clients I ask them to put themselves in the place of their customer. "How would your customer search for your business using Google?" Be specific as possible. This process is an education. For an example I have a client who is a plumber and his response to this was that one of the keyword phrases he wanted to get found for was "drain repair." He felt that "drain repair" would be how potential customers would search for his business. So together we Googled "drain repair." Google returned 69,700, 000 results for that search term. Now add the city that your serving - for example "drain repair cottonwood" and Google returned 262,000 search results. Big difference! I reminded him that "Content is Key in SEO" so how can we beef up his content?
One of the main things you need to consider when performing search engine optimization is the actual content of your website. The search engines actually read the content on your site and file it away for later. Then whenever someone searches for a term they will go through what they have read and decide which site best fits for what the searcher needs. For example one of the search terms Wowsers Web Design wants to get found for is "Tucson Web Designer." The initial content helps the search engine spider figure out a theme of the site or page. So, if the spider determines a certain page on your site mainly deals with car headlamps it will keep that in mind. Then whenever someone searches for car headlamps it will figure out which site is most relevant to that term to place as number one. There are more factors that go into it when determining which site to rank first, but the content is one of the big ones.
It is best to build individual pages around each term that you have determined fits the theme of your site. And, you will want to use your key phrases within the actual content itself. You do not want to use the phrase too much because then the search engine will sense that you are trying too hard to force your word into the content, and it may actually penalize you. It can penalize you by lowering your ranking or not even considering your site in the results at all. A good rule is to use a one to two percent keyword density. So, if your content is 500 words, you can safely use the phrase about five times. By using the term that much you will help the search engine understand the content is related to that word without trying to spam the search engine.
Search engine optimization takes work and patience. And, if you use someone to do it for you it can take an investment as well. But, the targeted traffic you can obtain from using it can be quite valuable. If you set it up correctly, you will have something marketing your business for you all hours of the day with little work on your part. And, you will have traffic that comes to you looking for answers or solutions to immediate problems.
Just remember - Content is Key in SEO!
What Search Engines Are Looking For
Search engines want to do their jobs as best as possible by referring users to websites and content that is the most relevant to what the user is looking for. So how is relevancy determined?
- Content: Is determined by the theme that is being given, the text on the page, and the titles and descriptions that are given.
- Performance: How fast is your site and does it work properly?
- Authority: Does your site have good enough content to link to or do other authoritative sites use your website as a reference or cite the information that’s available?
- User Experience: How does the site look? Is it easy to navigate around? Does it look safe? Does it have a high bounce rate?
What Search Engines Are NOT Looking For
Search engine spiders only have a certain amount of data storage, so if you’re performing shady tactics or trying to trick them, chances are you’re going to hurt yourself in the long run. Items the search engines don’t want are:
- Keyword Stuffing: Overuse of keywords on your pages.
- Purchased Links: Buying links will get you nowhere when it comes to SEO, so be warned.
- Poor User Experience: Make it easy for the user to get around. Too many ads and making it too difficult for people to find content they’re looking for will only increase your bounce rate. If you know your bounce rate it will help determine other information about your site. For example, if it’s 80 percent or higher and you have content on your website, chances are something is wrong.