Search engine optimization (SEO) is the act of optimizing a website (in terms of code, content and links) to increase traffic from major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
What Do Search Engines Look For?
Search engines index content on the web with computer programs called "bots," which move through websites by "crawling" from link to link. In order to provide the most useful search results, search engines assess pages in terms of:
Relevance: The relevance of content on a site depends on how closely it matches a search query. A site's content is considered more relevant when the queried terms appear in the title or headings of the content and HTML tags.
Popularity: A website's importance is measured by the number of times other sites link back to it. These are called backlinks, and when they come from a highly respected site, like the New York Times, for example, they carry more weight.
Six Ways to Boost SEO
There are lots of ways to improve how high your site ranks on major search engines. Here are a few to get you started:
- Add Unique Content to Your Site
Brainstorm keywords that your audience might use to find you. Anytime you add content to your site — blog posts, product descriptions, an "About Us" section, etc. — it should be rich with those keywords. Unique, quality content also gives other sites reasons to link to you, and building backlinks is part of the popularity factor search engines pay attention to.
- Place Keywords in Key Places
Those same keywords should appear in your page titles, headings and subheadings (in terms of content and code). However, that doesn't mean you should cram them anywhere you can. Use them where they're relevant, and if they aren't relevant in certain places, replace them with words that are.
- Structure your site's pages properly
Display links to pages on your site that search engine bots might miss otherwise. Structure your site's pages from broad to specific, and try to keep them no more than three clicks from the homepage.
- Add Links with Strong Anchor Text
When linking to relevant sites, tell your readers where you're sending them. The anchor text (the wording displayed in a hyperlink) should closely match the URL you are pointing to. For example, here are two ways to link to http://macrogirl.com/html/marketing_your_site.html :
Strong anchor text:
Check out Macrogirl’s tips for optimizing your website.
Weak anchor text:
Check out Macrogirl’s tips for optimizing your site here.
- Submit Your Site to Search Engines
Included with your macrogirl contract is submission to major search engine’s free “suggest a site” programs. As owner of the site, you can request that other search engines visit your site. See a comprehensive list of search engines. Small businesses with physical locations should also sign up for free business mapping. See item 12 on Marketing Your Site.
- Make an effort to get backlinks.
Getting other websites to link back to your website is one of the most important factors to improving your rankings on search engines. How do you get backlinks? There are several ways, including writing content and posting on other people’s sites, mentioning your webpage on popular social communities, and participating in online forums in your industry. “Backlinking” can often be time-consuming and difficult, but it’s a critical step that needs to be performed.
Search engine optimization is not a one-time thing but requires the on-going efforts of both you and your website designer. More about SEARCH ENGINES....