Search Engine Optimization: The Basics

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Search Engine Optimization: The BasicsSearch Engine Optimization is the process of getting one's website to rank highly among the search engine's free organic listings. To do so, search marketers will implement specific elements into a website's code, template structure, and content in hopes of creating a site that is not only "search engine friendly", but also one that is relevant for chosen keywords.

Search Engine Optimization: The Basics

Search Engine Optimization (often abbreviated as SEO) is the process of getting one's website to rank highly among the search engine's free organic listings. To do so, search marketers such as myself, will implement specific elements into a website's code, template structure, and content (in addition to a few off-site techniques and strategies) in hopes of creating a site that is not only "search engine friendly", but also one that appears relevant for the keywords chosen.

The ultimate goal behind search engine optimization is to rank the optimized website highly in the search results so that it may attain traffic from specifically those people interested in learning about or purchasing the products and services the site sells.

Now, without getting too in-depth and discussing the many strategies and techniques we search marketers utilize in our SEO efforts, I'll stick to the basic key ideas. When it comes to basic on-page SEO, there are 2 simplistic goals:

Goal #1: Get Found and Indexed

Providing every opportunity for search engines to find, crawl, and index your website's pages is important. This is the first part of any successful search engine optimization campaign... simply put, if the search engines can't locate or index your website's pages it can't display them in its results. Some general indexing techniques include:

  • Submitting to Search Engines
  • Setting up a Google Sitemap Account
  • Setting up Yahoo! SiteExplorer Account
  • Getting Links from other Relevant Websites
  • Making your Website's Navigation Search Friendly
  • Creating an Alternative Text-Link Navigation
  • Creating and Embedding a General Sitemap Page
  • Ensuring that your Robots.txt files are accessible

Goal #2: On-Page Optimization

Proving to the search engines that your web pages are really about what you say they are is important. This is probably the hardest part as search engines go to great lengths to ensure that their ranking system isn't gamed or tricked (spammed). However, once the search engines find your pages, never assume that they are going to be able to read, understand, and decipher it accordingly. Take a proactive effort and see to it that search engines tag/label and categorize your pages correctly in their index.

In order to convince the search engines to rank a web page according to the keywords that you've chosen for it, you must ensure that each of your page's keywords are accurately implemented throughout key areas of that page. Some general areas include:

  • Page Title
  • Page Meta-Description
  • Page Meta-Keywords
  • Headline Tags
  • Alt-Tags
  • Several Times throughout the Page's Content

Essentially what it comes down to is if you're claiming that a page is about say "ford mustangs" than you need to use the term "ford mustangs" on the page and where search engines can read it.

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3 Comments:

  1. No "real" SEO submits to search engines. Only those that look to make a profit off of people's ignorance. Just go to Digg and Digg your site. You'll get listed with 24 - 48 hours.
    Once the engines find you the come back on their own, no reason to re-submit either.

    This is just a pet peeve of mine.

    Just my 2 cents
    By Anonymous Mr SEO on July 17, 2007
  2. It is true that search engines will in most cases find and index a website on their own and without the use of the submission process. Add a link here or there, or, as you made mention, Digg yourself and the search engines will be crawling and indexing one's website shortly after.

    However, submitting to search engines does serve a purpose (and I'm not talking about re-submitting every month or whatever... just once when the website launches). First of all it is a proactive step in the right direction... which in this case is to be found. Why sit around and wait for Google or Yahoo! to find your website when you can send them a personalized invitation?

    And secondly, most website owners/merchants aren't as technically savvy as you and I (kind of the reason I'm putting down these posts in the first place.) Configuring Google Sitemap protocols and utilizing social networks like Digg is a huge undertaking for a n00b... submitting to Google or Yahoo! is an easier process that everyone can understand, and it does essentially the same thing.
    By Anonymous Karl Ribas on July 18, 2007
  3. I agree Karl. I see so many people being taking advantage of.

    Even at SES in NY. I saw a company offering monthly SE submissions.

    I tell people it is a sure sign that the company doesn't know what they are doing. Just an FYI for the n00bs
    By Anonymous Mr SEO on July 19, 2007

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