Although search engines have been around since the beginning of the Web, many businesses (large and small) are just now waking up to the gigantic benefit search engines provide. What other medium gives you - at absolutely no cost whatsoever - a way to drive unlimited traffic to your site? None. That’s why, once people understand search engine optimization (SEO), they get hooked!
I want to give you some basics to follow in order to help get your site ranked at the top of popular search engines like Yahoo! and Google. I also want to provide you with some exceptional resources so you can further your SEO education in the future.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is the process of creating a Web site that fosters the design, coding, copy, and link-building elements search engines most like to see. Through the process of SEO, you can develop a site (or alter an existing site) so that the engines will move you up to the top of the search results. That means people who are actually looking to find what you have to sell will click to your site before your competition’s.
How Does SEO Work?
There are three fundamental parts to the SEO equation: coding, copywriting, and link popularity.
Coding is the manipulation of your HTML code so that it is clean, uncluttered, positioned correctly, and easily accessible to the search engine spiders and bots. You want to be sure the most important information to the spiders is located up top where they can quickly and easily find it. You also want to ensure that java scripts and other such coding are moved out of the spiders’ way.
Copywriting relates to the text on your site. Search engine copywriting pertains to being able to write in such a way that you include your primary keyphrases in strategic places so that you get the most "points" from the engines.
Link popularity deals with how many sites have links that point back to your site (and vice versa). The theory is, that if others think highly enough of your site to link to it, your site must be of good quality.
When you have a good combination of all three primary elements, you stand a much better chance of ranking high with the engines.
Doesn’t SEO Depend On META Tags?
It used to... a long, LONG time ago. When the ‘Net was first founded, just about all you had to do to get high rankings was to shove a bunch of keyphrases into your keyword tag. Now, however, the engines are smarter. They pay no attention to the keyword tags and very little attention to the description tag. The only tag that carries much weight anymore is the title tag. It is extremely important.
Isn’t SEO Copywriting Just Using Keyphrases As Many Times As You Can?
No! Not only does that put you at risk of spamming the search engines, it makes your copy sound horrible to your human site visitors. What good are high search engine rankings if your copy doesn’t convert those visitors into paying customers?
You need to find creative and strategic places to use keyphrases so that you maintain the balance between natural language and keyphrase use.
How do you learn all you need to know about SEO? From the pros! Here are several resources you can use to improve your education:
High Rankings Forum
Best Practices Forum
Search Engine Watch Newsletter
Search Engine Guide Newsletter
Search Engine Optimization Fast Start
The Step-by-Step Copywriting Course
How To Increase Keyword Saturation
(Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy)
The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Engines
It’s not hype. I can tell you from seeing it firsthand. It’s well worth the time to learn SEO.
With a little effort, you can quickly have your site pulling in plenty of targeted traffic at no cost to you whatsoever.
Diane C. Hughes * ProBizTips.com
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