What is Search Engine Optimization or SEO?
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a series of activities undertaken to improve ranking of a web site when using web search engines such as a Google or Yahoo. It is not simply about registering web sites with search engines and loading web pages with meta data.
Why is SEO important?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is as important as choosing right print or electronic media to promote your product or service. Creating a web site without SEO is like buying radio ad time without consulting the market information provided by radio station. How do you know that your money is being well spent? How do you know whether you are reaching your target audience?
SEO is a critical part of web development. Without effective SEO resources dedicated to web development may be wasted because that information is not reaching its intended audience.
Common mistakes made
So we've established that SEO may be a good thing, then how do we go about it? First lets look at some common mistakes that people make:
• Build it and they will come – Simply uploading your web site to a web server won't put your site in Google's top ten.
• Loading up on meta tags – Meta tags are pieces of information such a keywords, description, author, location, etc. that are added to head of a web page to improve web searches. They are a useful addition to any web page and will help your site with search engines, however many people rely on them too heavily as THE solution.
• Missing or poor page titles – A page title is part of head of a web page and can be seen by user in title bar of web browser. It is a really important piece of information that helps search engine robots index your site and is visible in a search engine search results page. Page titles like “Home”, “Welcome to Adobe GoLive 6” , or “Welcome to our Web site” are not going to help you very much.
• No content – Contrary to popular belief, hardest part of developing a web site is putting together content. Web sites consisting of slogans and catch phrases and short on content won't be as effective. Meta tags don't replace well written content.
• Search engine registration – Some people may register their site with Google or other search engines. This is only a start.
• I hired this firm that guarantees our ranking! – Most of firms that promise top placement will optimize your site for keyword phrases no one would look for. Of course they can promise top position for that precise keyword phrase; but will anyone ever search for exactly that phrase? Not likely!
• Don't use Heading tags – With common use of cascading style sheets (CSS), many web designers stopped using heading tags such as h1, h2, etc. to structure their web pages. What they don't know is that when a search engine robot indexes text on a web page it places greater importance on text found within a heading tag. This is just one example of how structure of web page can affect a web site's ranking.
How do we optimize a web site for search engines?
Effective search engine optimization involves a number of steps. The following is approach that Documédia uses when advising our clients:
Step 1: Keyword analysis and creation