SEO is an abbreviation of Search Engine Optimization. This is the process of structuring a web page so that it is found, read, and indexed by search engines in the most effective manner possible.
This makes your web site and its content attractive, relevant and visible to search engines and web searchers.
Why is this important? Consider what it would be like if no one could easily find your place of business, or even your telephone number. Most businesses could not continue for long in such a situation.
The same thing can happen with your web site if people cannot easily locate it. Traffic volume, if it existed at all, slows to a crawl. Potentially valuable customers never even know you are there.
“Wait!” you say. “I had a web site created, and the address is included in all of our advertising. Why wouldn’t people be able to find it?”
Certainly, existing customers or those who are already familiar with your company should be able to find your site without any great difficulty, but this may not be the case.
Can you be sure that every potential customer has been reached by your advertising? What about the people who don’t read the magazines or newspapers where you chose to place advertisements?
Did they hear the right radio station? Did they watch the right television show? Did they get one of the thousands of brochures you mailed?
So, what about the search engines? Those people could just enter a few words into a text box, click a button, and voila! There is a link to your web site. Aren’t search engines wonderful?
Yes, search engines can be wonderful, and the scenario above can happen, but not without some work. This is where SEO comes in.
A case in point
Let us consider first a web site that I know of which is extremely difficult to find. This particular site is for a fine restaurant in the community where I live.
I didn’t know the address of their site, so I went to Google.com, entered the name of the restaurant into the text box, and clicked the search button.
Many links were listed, but none seemed to have anything to do with the restaurant. To the search terms I added the name of the city where the restaurant is located.
Here were links that did pertain to the restaurant, but they all seemed to be links to news articles and reviews, not to the site of the restaurant itself. What was wrong? Did they actually not have a site?
Luckily, one of the news articles did mention the web site address. It is a very beautiful site, pleasing to the eye and ear. It was created as a Macromedia Flash presentation which is embedded into a single web page.
Why did I have so much trouble finding it? I think it might have something to do with the fact that the creators of the site don’t seem to understand SEO.
How does a web site get into search engines’ listings? The major search engines use computer programs (commonly called robots or crawlers) to follow links from one page to another and retrieve the contents of each page.
The contents of each page are indexed and added to the search engines’ databases.
How the search engines work
How are the pages indexed? How do the search routines really work? Only the operators of the search engines know for sure, and this is generally very closely held proprietary information. The process is continually improved, as all useful computer software is.
The information that the operators of the search engines will release, combined with the results of research into why certain pages are at the top of the list of results of certain searches, help us in our process.
Using this information, we can make a reasonable determination of what techniques can be used to enhance a web site’s visibility and effectiveness in the search engines.
Through an analysis of your existing or proposed web site, we can recommend and implement changes that can dramatically improve your site’s chances of being found.
Some of these changes may alter the actual content of what is displayed on a page. Many of these changes, however, have no effect on what a user sees when visiting your site.
So SEO can really help you. Why not take it a little further and get your site listed for all kinds of searches. that should really bring the traffic in, right? It just might, but probably not for very long.
When using various search engines, you may have noticed that some search results have little, if anything, to do with what you were looking for. Some of these pages may even redirect you to another web site altogether.
The owners of these pages have one goal: to get you in the door (so to speak), no matter what lies or cheats they have to use to do it.
What not to do
The following search engine optimization techniques are often called spamming, and should be avoided at all costs:
- automatically generated doorway pages;
- cloaking and false redirects;
- keyword stuffing;
- hidden text or hidden links;
- pages loaded with irrelevant words;
- duplicated content on multiple pages;
- misspelling of well-known web sites;
- unrelated and centralized link farms;
- other methods that try to trick search engines.
These and other similar techniques, while sometimes effective in generating an increase in traffic to your site, quickly fail.
Imagine putting a “Detour” sign in the street in front of your place of business, forcing traffic into your parking lot. Yes, your parking lot is full, but how many of those people actually wanted to be there?
How many of those people will want to shop there after witnessing such a trick? How long will it take the local police to remove the sign?
The same thing happens to web sites that use such nefarious techniques. People are brought to a site where they had no intention of going. Do you think they will stay to shop?
When the operators of a search engine discover these types of tricks, they will often remove the site from their index entirely.
How do you rank?
The next time you use a search engine, look for your own site. What words would someone search for that should bring them to your site? Is your site listed in those search results?
SEO is the tool that can be used to insure that your site is listed as close as possible to the top of the relevant search results.
Without SEO it will be as if those customers drive by your shop without even knowing that you are there. Should SEO be important to you? You can bank on it.-
by Dan Johnson