If you want to be found in search engines, it is important that you add search engine optimization to your action list. In a nutshell, search engine optimization--or SEO for short--is process of making your web pages "search engine friendly."
SEO is a relatively new marketing industry. Although there are many purported experts, most of us who call ourselves SEO specialists are learning. The search engines are constantly in flux, so SEO techniques that worked yesterday may not necessarily work tomorrow. As a result, it is exceedingly important to keep up with fervent pace of Internet, and search engines in particular.
One of frustrations of search engine placement is that your rankings are constantly fluctuating. The key to a successful search engine optimization campaign is creativity, perseverance and practice, practice, practice. Do not try to fool search engines by "tricking" them with unsavory techniques (e.g., keyword stuffing, cloaking, hidden text) because you will risk having your web site lose favor with search engines, or worse, getting banned altogether.
If you are developing a new web site or redesigning an old one, now is a good time to think about search engine optimization. This article will describe process of optimizing your web pages for search engines, as well as highlight some of other components that are important for a successful search engine marketing campaign.
WRITING KEYWORD-RICH WEB COPY
I'm sure you've heard old cliché: Content is king. Well, you know what, it is! Although Internet is graphic-rich, it is a text-based medium. Information is what your visitors are seeking. If you web site doesn't present information they want, don't forget your competitor's web site is only one mouse click away.
Search engines need copy to know what your web site's theme is and how your site should be indexed in their directory. If your home page consists solely of a Flash movie or an image map, there will be nothing for search engines to index. Flash is cool, but it is not so cool when your web site doesn't come up in search engine results.
So, how do you write keyword-rich copy?
The first thing you need to do is identify keyword phrases that are important and relevant to your web site. For instance, how would you describe your company, products and services? More importantly, how would your visitors describe your company, products and services? Although answer may seem like a no- brainer, it really isn't, because you need to think outside of box. You need to get into your visitor's head and think like your visitor. What search terms would they use to find your web site?
A good place to start your keyword research is by looking at your log files. What search terms are your visitors using to find you? Armed with this information, you can begin researching popularity of those terms. Researching your keywords is a very important task, because if you target wrong terms, your traffic will suffer. Although your site may rank number one for some obscure term, if no one is searching for that term, your site will not be found in search engines.
There are a number of handy tools available online to help you begin building your list of relevant keywords. Overture (formerly Goto.com) offers a Search Term Suggestion Tool on its web site that will not only tell you how many times a particular keyword phrase was queried in past month, it'll also present you with a list of alternative terms to consider for your search engine optimization campaign. http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
In addition to utilizing keyword suggestion tools to research your keywords, I highly recommend brainstorming keywords with your co-workers, employees, friends and family members. Better yet, ask your clients and customers what terms they would use to search for your web site. Brainstorming keywords will teach you a lot about how others think and use Internet to find information.
Once you have identified your keywords, you will need to integrate them into body of your web page. Your sentences need to be intelligible and grammatically correct. Don't forget: Your web copy will be read by human beings, as well as search engines. If your web copy doesn't make sense, your visitors will hit their back button never to return again. Bad web copy will defeat whole purpose of your search engine optimization campaign.
WRITING YOUR META TAGS
The most important tag in header section of your web page is title tag. The title tag is displayed in bar at top of your browser window--above toolbar. Many webmasters do not use title tag properly. For example, their page will be titled "Home" or "Welcome," or worse yet "untitled," because they don't include a title at all. The search engines place a lot of relevance on words contained within title tag, so be sure to include your targeted keyword phrases when writing your title tag. This tag is generally limited to 60 characters, so choose your words with care.
The next important tag in header section is description meta tag. This tag is used to describe your web page. Like title tag, many of search engines will extrapolate this information to summarize your web site. Again, be sure to include your targeted keyword phrases.
The third and least important tag in header section is keywords meta tag. Because of abuse by unscrupulous webmasters, keywords tag is ignored by many of search engines. Even so, some do use it, so it doesn't hurt to include it. Like your title and description tag, choose your keywords carefully. Do not include keywords that are not included in body of your web copy or irrelevant to theme of your site.
Much is said about link popularity, but what is it exactly?
A few years ago, people were joining "link farms" to increase their link popularity, but today that is frowned upon and can actually be detrimental to your quest for higher rankings in search engines. Now emphasis is more on quality of links pointing to your web site versus quantity.