Posted Thursday, October 28, 2004
Details what search engine optimization is, how it can help you and provides an introduction to the basics.
Search engine optimization, put simply, is the process of making a site rank higher in the search engines for terms that are appropriate to that site. For example, a site about blue widgets could be made to rank higher when somebody types "blue widgets" in to the search engines.
Many readers of this article will have come across search engine marketing, positioning and ranking articles which have failed to work for them. For this reason many are, understandeably, not made fully aware of what SEO (search engine optimization) can really do. Often, the information they have tried has been from old articles - the most frequent myth is that it's all about the meta tags you choose. When SEO is done with the real working techniques (unlike the meta tags), then people find that the traffic driven is of extremely good quality and highly related to their field.
For example, take our blue widgets site. Everybody coming to the site is actually looking for blue widgets. We're not wasting our time trying to sell blue widgets to people who want to buy red widgets. Your money, or effort, to get search engine traffic is therefore more effectively spent.
To get this traffic involves understanding many things about the search engine. It's beyond the scope of this article to tell you everything (or it would be a book or two!), but to help steer you in the right direction here are a few of the most effective strategies:
1. Pick keywords that are related to your site and which are related to what you want your visitors to do. It must be something that you would search for on the search engines if you wanted to do whatever it is you want your visitors to do. Choose a phrase (e.g. "blue widgets") over a word (e.g. "widgets") and try to find areas where there will be many searches but little competition.
2. Put your keywords/phrase at the beginning of your title tag on your page. Keep your title tag short and to the point.
3. Take advantage of the H1...Hx header tags and put your keyphrase in your headings.
4. Make sure your keyphrase appears in the first few paragraphs. Preferably towards the beginning of the paragraph.
5. Get links. The text that people use to link to you is important, it is best if it includes your keyphrase. Try hard to get links from sites where the kind of people you want to visit your site would be looking.
6. Forget FFAs, Link farms and so on. Not only do the search engines know how to discount those links but they also bring very little targetted traffic.
There's so much more I wish I had space to write, but hopefully this has served as an introduction and eye opener for you.
About the Author
Chris is the owner and administrator of (http://www.searchguild.com/) , an enthusiastic and friendly community of people interested in increasing traffic to their web site.