Search Engine Optimization – SEO – Explained

While you may have put in all the hard work to build a great looking, utility rich websites, there is a very high probability that it will loose its visibility among the millions of webpages out there in cyberspace. The answer to this may well lie in search engine optimization or SEO, which is the process of improving the quantity and quality of traffic to your website by improving its search engine rankings. The concepts of SEO are gaining importance as research indicates that a vast proportion of internet users find sites through search engines. What is more, most Internet users do not browse beyond the top 30 search engine results and simply type in a new search term if they can’t find a relevant site.

SEO campaigns are one of the most cost-effective marketing means and provide superior return on investment (ROI). Besides, they improve website/brand visibility as well as credibility and deliver targeted traffic, thereby increasing sales. Other tangible benefits include better usability, accessibility and cross-browser compatibility.

Here is a basic overview of the various steps in a typical search engine optimization processs:

Keyword Selection – Keyword selection involves researching and shortlisting the search words and phrases under which you want to be found. Keywords are absolutely critical as they are a determining factor in how your website ranks in searches. Keywords should be relevant to your website as well as your audience and be based on what your target audience is most likely to search for on search engines. For instance, a mobile phone website could have the following keywords: mobile phone, mobile phones, mobile phone review, latest mobile phones, best mobile phones, new mobile phones, cheap mobile phones, free mobile phone tools, free mobile phone ringtones etc

Site Analysis – A site analysis evaluates the search engine friendliness of your site and highlights possible search engine barriers. Some common roadblocks for search engine robots include an all flash or all image front page, redirection on front page, pop-up ads, broken links, frames and java script navigation

Content and Page Optimization – Now that you have short listed relevant keywords and phrases, you need to ensure that your website’s written content has the right density of keywords and also that they are placed appropriately. This is especially important as search engines judge the quality and relevance of a particular site, thereby it’s ranking, by the density and placement of keywords. Commonly uses keyword placement strategies include inserting keywords in the HTML title tag, in the URL, in the page titles/headline, in the initial part of the first paragraphs and in the top half of the page. Page optimization includes developing sitemaps and alt and meta tags.

Linking – Link building or getting other websites to publish links to your website is one of the most important steps in promoting your website. The reason for this is that some of the major search engines, such as Google, ascertain your link popularity while ranking you. Important factors that search engines look for include whether the link appears on a relevant site, the site ranking of the website containing the link, whether sites are affiliated to each other and whether a page appears in a directory listing. The easiest and most common way of linking is approaching and requesting the website that relates to your site.

Site Submission – This is the simple process of submitting the site to the major search engines and directories. Directory listings are important as these will improve the page rank. Directory listings can be free, paid or a mix of both. Free listings will usually require you to add a link to their directory on your website both.

Review and re-optimization – After submitting your site, you need to regularly review your search engine rankings and site traffic reports and if need be, tweak your site to improve its rankings. This could include adding new keywords and content and increasing your link popularity.

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