What Is Search Engine Optimization And Why You Should Care by Deanna Mascle
Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is simply adding certain design and content elements to your web site, blog, and/or RSS feed to make it more attractive to search engines.
If you are interested in generating traffic for your web site, blog, or RSS feed then you must spend some time working on SEO. Of course, you can ignore SEO and depend on other methods of traffic generation but this can be very expensive and time-consuming. Of course, SEO can be expensive and time consuming as well but if it is done right it will not only enhance the appearance, usability, and usefulness of your site, blog or feed in the short run it will also increase traffic and revenue in the long run.
Search engine traffic is the best source of long-term free traffic. If you are looking to attract visitors to your new online store featuring dog sweaters then obtaining a good listing on Yahoo could deliver 1800 visitors searching for dog sweaters and another 2000 searching for some other variation of key words including dog sweater. Google could deliver even more and MSN could make a healthy contribution as well.
If you ignore SEO then you will still get some search engine traffic, especially if you employ other marketing efforts, but it will be a paltry trickle compared to the flood of visits you could receive from proper SEO. Taking some time to ensure your site is properly optimized for search engines will eventually result in higher rankings for the search terms you target with your SEO efforts. The higher your site appears in search engine listings then the more visitors you will receive.
All search engines have a set of rules, often referred to as algorithms, that are used to judge the importance, also known as rank, of a web page for a specific word or phrase, also known as keyword. Software robots called spiders continually crawl the web and report back to search engines with the results. Once your site has been crawled by a search engine, the site will be included in that engine's index of web sites and eventually ranked according to the individual search engine's rules.
Obviously you want your site, blog or feed to be spidered, indexed, and ranked quickly but it is best to have your site optimized before it is spidered as once it is indexed and ranked you may need to wait for a return visit to register the improvements. It is OK, and even desirable, to continue to add to and improve your site after it is spidered but you should wait to attract the spiders until after your site is ready.
There is a great deal of misinformation regarding how to get your pages spidered and indexed quickly by the search engines. You could spend a great deal of time and money chasing down the secret tools and tips that abound, but there really isn't a secret. Some search engines provide a facility that you can use to submit your site details to them, but this method often takes a lot of time to work. The fastest and most effective way is to have a highly ranked website, preferably one related to your site's topic, provide a link back to your site. When the spiders crawl the highly ranked site, which may happen every day or at least within a week, they will find your link. Spiders discovering your link on a prominent site will temporarily classify your site as important and follow the link to crawl your site.
The factors that influence a web site's rank within a search engine index are closely guarded secrets and the rules frequently change. Just to make things even more complicated the factors vary from search engine to search engine.While you can spend a great deal of time and money studying SEO there are many free articles and discussion groups available but concentrating on a few simple issues will likely produce the results you need without further investigation.
Content is king when it comes to search engine optimization. Your site should have several pages of original content centered around the primary topic of your site. Pages or blog posts should have at least 200 words. Regularly adding pages or posts will keep your site relevant and interesting to search engines as well as visitors.
Don't overlook the use of tags within your site as well. These tags include meta tags, title, header and anchor tags. Your key words and phrases should be reflected in these tags as well as the content you place on your site.
Search engine optimization is an important part of internet marketing but it doesn't have to as complex and expensive as some folks make it out to be. If you generate a clean, attractive site with unique and relevant content then the search engines will like it. If the search engines like it then they will tell their visitors and your traffic will rise.
About This Learning Center Article Deanna Mascle publishes the free newsletter Establish Your Epresence which offers Articles, Resources, and Tips about Internet Marketing and Ecommerce. Learn more at Establish Your Epresence