Search engine optimization is a term often used to describe an array of techniques aimed to boost ranks when people search for a given keyword or key phrase. Many web site owners often spend money and time building a web presence. Unfortunately the most important step is often overlooked: how can you be found?
Years ago it was fairly easy to design a site, write content and submit it to a directory or two. Odds would be that the search engines would rank the site well for keywords related to the copy present in the web pages.
Furthermore, as the search engine technology and the number of web sites was not what it is today, using keyword repetition and many questionable tactics such as creating many domains with the same content, pretty much assured prominent positioning.
The reality of today’ s search engine marketing has changed dramatically. Any web site owner needs to work hard to be found for any popular term in Google, Yahoo! or MSN search. The stakes are high because more and more people use the internet to find goods and services.
If you do not have an web presence and plan to get into the online arena, you have a disadvantage: Google in particular will not rank a new domain very high. As the web site “ages”, ranks will improve.
Older domains with an established presence are in better shape to achieve good results sooner. I will describe some of the most important factors involved in reaching top positions in the search engines.
-Clean code: Search engines like a well coded site: please to dot use Word to design a web page. It creates “dirty” html code. Be also careful with WYSIWYG editors. Some put proprietary tags that are search engine unfriendly.
-Content: I can not emphasize enough how important it is to write extensive content so that the search engines recognize the site as relevant to the people who search for a particular keyword.
-Tags: Make sure the title and description tags contain the keywords you want users to look for.
-Linking: Linking refers to other sites linking to one. This is a very important factor; search engines count links as a “vote”. The reasoning is that if site A links to site B, then site B must be useful. Links can come from important directories such as Yahoo! or Dmoz. They can also come from other relevant web sites. For example, if you sell paintings a link from an art school or a gallery would be important. Please do not exchange links with questionable sites such as link farms. Link farms are directories that exist for the sole purpose of gathering links with no valuable content. Make sure that, when possible, links to your site contain anchor text with the keywords being targeted. Post articles about your services and products and include a link to your site. Many reputable article sites will appreciate your content. Publish online press releases.
These are some of the most important factors for search engine optimization. I will describe now what should never be done because it can lead to a search engine ban on a site.
-Do not stuff meta tags with the same keywords. It is a sure way to be penalized.
-Do not hide keywords by using the same or similar color text as the background.
-As I mentioned above, do not exchange with questionable sites.
-Do not use “cloaking” software to serve “ad hoc” pages to the search engine spiders.
-Do not create multiple domains with the same content. You will be found out and search engines will at a minimum ban all the duplicates.