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Search Engine Optimization Principles

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is one of the more technical parts of Web marketing.

Even if you do all the right things, there is no guarantee that you will get top rankings. Although successful SEO will increase the traffic to a web site, SEO is not search engine marketing, which is primarily pay per click and other website advertising. SEO is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to a web site from search enginesby way of "natural" or "organic" search results.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work and what people search for.

Effective SEO usually requires modifications to the HTML code of a web site. The term "search engine friendly" is used to describe web site designs and navigation that are easy to optimize for Google and the other search engines.

Black hat SEO use methods such as link farms to manipulate the search engines. Search engines spot websites that use these techniques in order to remove them from their indexes.

"White Hat" SEO works for the long-term. Some SEO basics

* You don't need to submit anything ort pay to get into Google, Yahoo or MSN

* A big part of the search engine ranking formula is the quality of incoming links to a website from other websites, along with at least a hundred other metrics.

* If you have original quality content on a site, you have a chance of generating quality links. If your content is found on other websites, you will find it hard to get links. If you have decent original content on your site, you can let authority websites, those with online business authority, know about it, and they might link to you - the result being a quality IBL.

* Search engines need to understand a link is a link. Links can be designed to be ignored by search engines (the attribute nofollow effectively cancels out a link, for instance)

* Search engines find your site by other web sites linking to it. You can also submit your site to search engines direct, but I haven't submitted my site to a search engine in the last 5 years.

* Google spiders this link, finds your site, and indexes the home page of your site, and will come back to spider the rest of your website if all your pages are linked together.

* Many think Google will not allow new websites to rank well for competitive terms until the web address "ages" and acquires "trust" in Google. This is the called "the sandbox theory" filters.

* To rank for specific keyword searches, you generally need to have the words on your page (not necessarily altogether, but it helps) or in links pointing to your page/site. Ideally, a mixture of both.

* As a result of other sites linking to your site, the site now has a certain amount of "Google Juice" (or what I would call "Google Heat(!)" you can share with all the internal pages that make up your website.

* It's not JUST a numbers game. One link from a "trusted authority" site in Google could be all you need. Of course, the more "trusted" links you build, the more trust Google will have in your site.

* Try and get links within page text pointing to your site with keywords in it. Try to ensure the links are not obviously "machine generated" ie site-wide links on forums or directories. Get links from pages, that in turn, have a lot of links to them.

* Internally, always cite your other pages by linking to them within text.

* Linking to a page with actual key-phrases in the link help a great deal in all search engines when you want to feature for specific key-terms. ie "seo scotland" as opposed to http://www.hobo-web.co.uk or "click here".

* Search engines like Google "spider" your entire site by following all the links on your site to new pages, much as a human would click on the links of your pages. This spider is also known as a Robot.

* After a while, all your pages are in Google's index. Ideally you will have unique pages, with unique page titles and unique page descriptions. Don't worry about meta keywords these days.

* Google chews over your site, analyzing text content and links

* If you have a lot of duplicate content found on other websites Google knows about, Google will ignore your page.

* You don't need to keyword stuff your text and look dyslexic to beat the competition. Generally it's good to have keywords in links, page titles and text content. There is no ideal amount of text - no magic keyword density.

* Many SEOs think who you actually link out to (and who links to you) helps determine a topical community of sites in any field, or a hub of authority. Quite simply, you want to be in that hub, at the centre if possible (however unlikely), but at least in it. I like to think of this one as a good thing to remember in the future as search engines get even better at determining topical relevancy of pages.

* Original content is king and will attract a "natural link growth" in Google's eyes. Too many incoming links too fast might devalue your site.

* Now Google knows who links to you, the "quality" of those links, and who you link to.

* It decides which pages on your site are important or most relevant. You can help Google by always linking to your important pages.

* It is of paramount importance you spread all that Google juice to your sales keyword / phrase rich sales pages, and as much remains to the rest of the site pages, so Google does not"demote" starved pages into it's reserves, or "supplementals".

Your Web Page Title Tag

The Title Tag for each page is the most important consideration for effective optimization for the search engines.

Studies have shown over and again that the words in the page's title tag are given higher weight than any other factor on your web page, as long as those words are repeated (in any order) somewhere on the page itself. There will be a maximum of 64 characters displaed.

For example, if your page's title tag is "Clothing and Accessories", the search engines know that is what this web page is all about. Old Navy's web site home page uses "Shop Men's, Women's, Plus and Kids' Clothing" telling the world that they have clothes for men, women, kids, and plus size.

Your Web Page Title Tag is also Important Because...

When someone searches for websites such as yours, the search engine results show your web page title in underlined and the search term in bold if it is in your title. This will only help you if the title is worded in such a way to stop them in their tracks so that they read your page's description.

Your Web Page Description

This is what will appear in the search results beneath the Page Title, but not always. Sometimes the search engine will display relevant text from your page instead. In either case, the search term will be displayed in bold within the text.

The Title stopped the person using the search engine, but when they then read the page's description, it will confirm that this is the right site to click on. There will be a maximum of 128 to 150 characters displaed depending on the search engine.

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