Search Engine Optimization
You have created a business website and now you need to attract customers, but how do they find you? Unless the customers already know your site the most common way they will find you is using a search engine like Google and Bing. These search engines use complex algorithms to find and rank websites and display them in the visitors search results.
Most people only look at the first couple of pages in the results, the higher a site ranks the closer to the top of the results page it will be.
To help improve your sites ranking you need to know what the search engines are looking for and make sure to include this on your site.
This is what Search Engine Optimization is for.
What is SEO
Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is the method used to ensure that the pages on a website are seen by the algorithms used by search engines and given a high ranking in their search results.
The key to a higher ranking is making sure your pages have the elements the search engines algorithms are searching for. Sound easy but the algorithms used by search engines like Google and Big are very complex and are changing all the time. SEO is a long term effort and it requires a lot of work, patience and consistent strategy.
How do Search Engines work?
Search Engines are the libraries of the internet, they are continually collecting information about every page on the internet so that visitors can find exactly what they are looking for. They use complex sorting systems called algorithms to convert all the information gathered into useful results.
Search Engines look for key phrases entered by a visitor, they match these phrases to sites with the same key phrases and rank them according to relevance to the searchers request. For example if you go to Google and type “cheddar cheese”, you expect to find sites about cheddar cheese. If you find a website about carrots you might not use Google again. Search engines want to deliver most useful websites related to your search because it is good business.
If visitors find what they are looking for they will repeatedly return to this search engine for future searches, increasing traffic to the search engine and the search engine’s companies stock will go up.
A high placement in these search engines can drive tremendous growth. You can leave this to chance, or you can use SEO practices to increase your rating.
What do algorithms look for:
The algorithms used by search engines are very complex and change frequently but fortunately some of the main items are known.
- Words Matter – Search engines look at every word on the web. If a search is for shoe repair the results page will list every page about shoe repair
- Titles Matter – Every page on the web has a title, some times the visitors can’t see it because it is in the long text of the URL. Search engines pay close attention to page titles because they often summarize the page content.
- Links Matter – Links on pages are usually seen by the search engines as a recommendation telling readers the linked site has good information. A lot of links on a page can look good. Links from trustworthy sights are given more weight in the algorithm. And every link to a trusted site improves your site’s authority on the subject.
- Reputation – Sites with lots of fresh content and quality links can search rankings. Pages that do not have content added regularly can be seen as poorly maintained and get lower rankings. Add content to your site on a regular schedule. But don’t be afraid to add more in between. The more content added the better.
Knowing What Helps a Site Rank
SEO is a very complex and detailed subject, search engines look at so many different factors for each site and assign a rating based on programmed parameters. The more you know about what search engines are looking for the better your pages ranking.
There are many books and websites dedicated to helping refine your site’s SEO and there are free plug-ins available that will check your site’s content.
Here are a few that I find helpful: