What is Search Engine Optimization?
by F. Terrence Markle
It is no secret that search engines are the number one traffic generating method for driving visitors to the different web sites. Search engines are very useful in helping people find the relevant information they seek on the Internet. The major search engines develop and maintain their own gigantic database of web sites that can be searched by a user typing in a keyword or keyword phrase in the search box.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of studying the search engines in an effort to determine how to get your web site to rank high on user searches. Depending on the statistical information reviewed, search engines account for over 80% of the visitor traffic to web sites.
Within the search engine category, Google accounts for most of the search engine traffic. The other top search engines include but are not limited to: Yahoo, AOL Search, Overture, AllTheWeb, MSN Search, WiseNut, HotBot, Teoma, and Ask Jeeves. You can register your web site with the various search engines but it is a demanding process and takes time.
Visitor traffic from the search engines can be obtained through organic (natural) or pay-per-click (PPC) search results. The non-paid organic search results are the list of web sites (generally 10 per page) returned when a user searches on a specific keyword or keyword phrase. Keyword is the word or phrase that is typed into the search engine's search box. The PPC items are the paid advertisements for a specific keyword or keyword phrase and listed on the same page as the organic search results.
You are telling the search engines what your web site is about when you employ SEO tactics. Search engine optimization involves the layout of your web page so that it is very easy to navigate and read. In addition, you must skillfully place your keywords in your web page in a manner that conveys the information that is being searched for by your visitor. The keywords should be placed in the Title tag, Meta Description tag and at the beginning of the Body tag sections. Search engines look for relevant and original content in your web page that is relative to the your site’s keyword theme.
Search engines find out about your web site through your submission to the search engine or through a link to your site from another web site that has already been indexed. The search engine uses a spider (i.e., a computer program) to index (i.e., classify and include in the search engine database) your individual web site pages. The spider is often referred to as a crawler. These spiders follow links from one site to another site and create an index of information for inclusion in the search engine database on each web page they visit. The spider is more likely to index a static HTML web page higher than one generated dynamically.
You can make your web page more search engine friendly by reducing or eliminating any flash animation or graphics in your home page. Design each page of your web site so that the keyword or keyword phrase information being searched for by your visitors can be easily found. You need to convey the central message or theme of your web page to your visitors.
In addition, your web site should have a site map. A site map displays a visual model of the pages within your web site. It enables your visitors to navigate through your web site that has more than one page. Each listing in your site map should be an active link to enable your visitor to click on the link and move directly to that specific section of your web site.
It will take a lot of concentrated work to achieve a top ranking in any of the search engines. Rank is the position in the search engine results page that a web site appears when someone searches for a specific keyword or keyword phrase. The typical search engine results page has 10 positions for web sites returned as the result of the user's search.
Copyright (C) 2004 F. Terrence Markle – All Rights Reserved
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