Search engines are the primary way most people find web sites, but web site designers forget to think of this when they create their sites. Often, site designers will make the mistake of building the web site first and then contacting a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to make that site search-engine friendly.
What most site owners do not realize is that a search engine optimization is an overall process that blends with the actual content of your website, so your image tags, copy, headlines and page links all play a part in how well your website is received by the search engines who crawl it every day.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is really a process consisting of multiple tasks, and techniques. If SEO is done right should include seven major tasks: optimization, content management, submission, registration, positioning, monitoring, and maintenance.
Let's start by elaborating on current strategies for content management. It's always been important to optimize page content, but it must be done on two levels.
In one instance, you're trying to gain high rankings in the spider-type engines, such as Google, AltaVista, Lycos, etc. On the other hand, you're persuading customers to use your products and services. Therefore writing page content requires top copywriting skills as well as up-to-date knowledge of search engine algorithm trends. It also takes a good amount of time, and pages should be updated regularly.
Gone are the days when people would try to outwit search engine algorithms by methods such as repeating keywords within hidden text or with illegal doorway pages. Now, as never before, search engine algorithms are very complex; they differ widely and are constantly changing. In fact, search engines will quickly spot and penalize people who don't follow their rules.
Although the exact algorithms for each search engine are unknown and are constantly changing, SEO technicians are constantly testing to identify best results. In the past, most algorithms appeared to favor keyword density in various sections of the Web page: the title, the keyword meta tag (if the engine reads meta tags), the first 100 words of Web copy (text), and headlines. The emphasis has moved away from a specific keyword density in favor of what is considered excellent or well-written content. So there's nothing left to do but to optimize your pages correctly .
For optimizing page content, we recommend paying attention to these subtasks: keyword selection, keyword placement and coding, quality copywriting, site navigation design, and link popularity.
Keyword selection. Each page of your Web site contains a variety of content on different topics and subtopics. There are specific keywords embedded throughout your page content that can be identified as strategic keywords. Identify one or two phrases or two or more words from each page as your strategic keywords (multiword phrases work much better than single keywords).
Keyword placement and coding. Place your keywords in all the HTML tags possible throughout the site, including meta tags. Not all search engines read meta tags, so you want to place keywords in as many other HTML tags as possible, including image Alt tags, comments tags, and heading tags. But don't omit meta tags, which can help overcome problems with tables, frames, and other danger areas. Make sure your strategic keywords appear in all critical locations throughout your Web pages.
Copywriting. Your strategic keywords must be reflected throughout the copy (especially in the first 100 words) on all your pages. Remember, the spider engines look for HTML text rather than graphics. Some sites like to illustrate large sections of copy with graphics. Though a picture may be worth a thousand words, search engines do not read graphics. The result is that you'll miss out on making your site more relevant. Beyond that, you need a professional copywriter to produce both keyword-rich and marketing-oriented text.
Site navigation design. Some designers create Web sites with image-map links from the home page to the interior pages. Some spiders can't follow these links and won't be able to index your interior pages, which may be the most descriptive and relevant pages you want users to find. A good fix for this problem is to add to the home page HTML hyperlinks leading to your most important interior pages or to the major sections of your Web site. You can place these links leading to all your relevant content along the bottom of your home page so that search engines will quickly find them. Another good idea is to create a site-map page with text links to all the important areas within your site. If you follow this option, you can submit this page, ensuring that spider engines locate pages deep within your site.
Link popularity. Since many search engine algorithms (especially Google) include link popularity as a variable for determining high rankings, you want to get yourself linked to as many quality sites as possible. You can encourage linking by providing a link-instruction page on your site, detailing exactly how you want the links to appear on the linking sites. It can be a simple text link, a graphical link via a button, or a unique URL link.
From the advertiser's point of view, the obvious advantages of investing in SEO is that you don't have to pay a set fee each time your search result is viewed , as you do, for example, with a paid listing bought on a CPC basis.
The big selling point on paid listings, both pay-per-search and keyword text links, is the position of your listing is guaranteed until your ad contract expires. Search engine listings fluctuate, and advertisers have little control over the position they retain over time. If your client's competitor is bumped to a higher ranking on a search engine, there isn't much you can do about it. But if the client is willing to pay, he can be listed under the same keywords as his competitor.
Is it worth all of this? It all depends on how much you value having a strong Web presence alongside similar businesses that are in a position to capture your potential customers!
Ideally you want to use a firm that can help you write for the search engines, analyze site statistics, have a thorough knowledge of spider-friendly HTML, have considerable experience with SEO in multiple industries, and stay up-to-date on search engine happenings. The experts at Interactive Villages provide all of these services.