Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the volume and improving the quality of traffic to a web site through search engines using organic or algorithmic search results. Typically, the higher the site is presented in the search results, or the higher the “ranking,” the more likely it is that searchers will visit that site. SEO can also target image searches, local searches and vertical search engines.
SEO uses a deep understanding of search engines to increase a site’s relevance to specific keywords, to remove barriers to indexing and crawling methods of search engines
Black Hat vs. White Hat
Black Hat SEO techniques, also called spamdexing, attempt to redirect the search results to target pages using principles that are considered unethical by the search engine companies, because they work against the search engine in terms of service.
Search engines are trying to give their users the most relevant pages for their searches, while black hat techniques attempt to get a web site to the top of search results regardless of whether it’s the best or most relevant web site for that particular search. Often Black Hat techniques lead to sites being blocked or banned by search engines.
White Hat SEO techniques are generally longer lasting techniques and work with the search engine’s service principles. White Hat SEO techniques can be more work, but the results are well worth it.
Regardless of what tools a developer chooses to enhance SEO results, keep these principles in mind when you select them.
- Content Rich Site
Fresh, quality content is what drives SEO rankings in the short and long term. The content needs to have relevance to searchers, and needs to keep the call to action (phone us, order here) fresh in the mind of viewers.
Keyword stuffing and articles designed only for ranking will create initial movement, but will not draw customers to the site, and will not keep them on the site. In fact, finding a site full of useless articles is likely to have the reverse effect and drive traffic away.
- Keyword Phrases in Links
- Link through High Ranking Sites
- Quality, not quantity, in design and relationships
Creating relationships and driving cross traffic is best done with well-crafted links and linked relationships.
In addition to creating internal links and absolute links within the site, linking through to other sites and convincing them to link to you will support the SEO process. The bottom line in creating SEO results is text, links, popularity and reputation. Linking with industry sites and bartering links with other quality sites are great ways to build a relationship of SEO support.
Adding quality links that have been created to include keyword phrases and lead to the information that visitors are seeking adds much more than just meaningless links added simply to fill the site.
- Title Tags
- Sticky Landings
- Flash, Frames and Ajax
- Service Limits
- Call to Action
- Focus Each Page
- Text, Text and More Text
- Power Blogging
No matter how much is spent on SEO or how slick the SEO tools, the website must support the perception of the searchers.
A well-designed website can make a significant difference in the success of the SEO campaign. It starts with the title tag, so give each page a unique title tag and include the keyword phrases.
The landing page design is critical. It needs to have a reasonable percentage of keyword phrases, it needs a strong call to action (what you want the customer/visitor to do) and it needs to appeal to the visitor enough to get them to stick on the page long enough to see the benefits, services and products and complete the call to action.
The use of Flash, frames and Ajax on the landing page creates an all-or-nothing read for most search engines; if you must use these technologies, be certain to include text below it or wrapped where the search engine can find it.
Some service providers and service systems for web sites block domain name recognition, making it difficult for the site to be picked up by the search engines. Be certain that everything about the site, including related services, supports the SEO process.
Remember the point of SEO is to convert visitors to customers. Keep the call to action clear for visitors. Phone numbers, products and services and connection to sales teams and technical staff to resolve questions are essential to the process. These elements need to be clear, precise and easy to find. The call to action message must be clear, concise and in line with the perceptions of the searchers. If the searcher has located this site with the “free web template” keyword phrase, only to find that this is a paid product site, the conversion will not happen, and in fact, the searcher will feel duped.
Each page of the website is a unique opportunity to connect to visitors. Focus each page on a specific keyword phrase; make each page a different focus. This will reinforce the entire concept of the site, making it more likely to connect with motivated searchers.
Text is critical; wrap images and videos with textual descriptions. Add alt tags with keyword phrases to images. Do not neglect a single opportunity to connect the text, keyword phrases and search engines, including links, images and videos.
Blogging and social networking are critical elements of the Web 2.0 world. Using the client’s CEO for blogging creates a powerful SEO tool.
Don’t underestimate the power of social networking, viral marketing and new Web 2.0 power sites in the SEO process. Sponsor quality sites, including .edu sites to build reputation and quality points.
- Ranking Checker by SEOmoz.com
This SEO tool allows the developer to check rankings for up to five keywords per day at no charge, and keeps an archive. Archived rankings can be downloaded as comma-separated files.
If the keywords checked are varied each day of the month, the developer can research 150 words per month.
- Google Analytics by google.com
This analytical tool, provided for free by Google, offers detailed reports on traffic behavior, content visitation, funnel information and more. The tool shows the developer what Google sees, including crawling rate, crawling speed, backlinks and the PageRank of the site’s highest ranking page.
- MultiRank Checker by iWebtool.com
MultiRank is an SEO tool that allows the developer to cross check up to 10 domain names at one time for page rank. Results can be cut and pasted from the table.
- Fiddler Web Debugging Tool by Fiddlertool.com
Currently requiring the .net framework and only available for Windows, this tool debugs the site with the same scope as $50 competitor tools.
The capacity to analyze the background communication between servers and browsers is one of the strongest elements of this tool. Better at analysis without freezing up than some of the other free debugging tools, Fiddler is an essential resource for the SEO professional.
- SEO Analyzer by Sitening.com
This tool generates a report with a detailed list of SEO components that might need closer examination within a site. The easy-to-use interface makes the process painless, and the site ranking helps the developer know to what extent the site needs reworking.
SEO, like all other forms of marketing, requires strategic planning, daily upkeep and a view to relationship building within the target brand desired for the client.
Your SEO campaign is a vital marketing project to assist the success of a web site. Since building traffic is the key source requirement for any site that needs to sell, SEO analysis for an entire site is necessary to make sure the search engines index the site pages.
Once the idea of grasping how to produce highly useful content is achieved, the SEO plan then steps in to make the whole thing relevant by making the site attractive. Content-rich sites with carefully chosen titles and keywords are loved by the search engines.
For businesses to survive in today’s competitive climate, it becomes clear as to why an SEO plan is necessary. It is the most important aspect of a web site marketing campaign. Any site can be designed to look hip and cool, but if nobody knows it exists, it’s like opening a shop on the moon.
It’s vital that the site’s target audience knows of the existence of the web site. By using blogs, back linking techniques and rich quality content with optimized keywords, traffic will increase to the site, and therefore so will the sales.
Google eventually finds your site through its search algorithms, though you shouldn’t just wait for that. Get an SEO plan into practice. Learn how to generate link building campaigns through writing content for blogs, for example. Build a site aimed at exciting the target audience so they keep coming back.
Make it as easy as possible for people to find the web site.
Think about how you found the vast number of sites you use daily. Was it through a search engine? Was it via a blog or possibly a column on a site? Odds are that it was through a combination of these. Spamming is not necessary to make this happen; don’t follow that dark path. It’s simply about exposing the facets of the web site in as many high ranking places as possible. It’s a bit like the difference between opening a shop on an inhospitable mountain and opening a shop on the main street.
I wish you all the best with your SEO efforts.