Why Search Engine Optimization?
It has been said several times, and it will continue to be said for years to come. The Internet has changed the lives of so many people, and it has done so by introducing a whole new ecosystem wherein one might live. Some may not have noticed it so much because they are content with the way their lives are, and they simply use the internet as a source of data that they can pull information from at any time. For others though, especially the pioneers, saw the internet as a way to make their lives and their businesses grow bigger. Those pioneers were the ones who came up with the concept of internet marketing.
So where does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) play into all of this? Well, if you are to equate it to the real world, SEO is your internet equivalent to your advertisers who try to get the world’s attention and place it on a particular product. To understand it clearly, it would be good to know first how one would launch an internet business and what it would need to survive. Here are the steps for an online business launch, simplified as much as possible:
- The business is planned – just like a regular, physical business wherein you choose a location to set up shop, planning has to be done for the creation of an online store. This includes, of course, the products and services that you provide, as well as your sources for these products.
- The website is launched –to conduct business online, you will need an online store. That will be the function of your website. With the online store, you will be able to display your products, provide descriptions of each product, show pictures of the items in great detail, and get payment information as well as delivery details whenever a purchase is made. Pretty simple so far, isn’t it?
- You increase your traffic – not the number of cars that head to your store. Similar to that, but in internet terms. Internet traffic refers to the number of visitors that you get to your site. Of course, to get a lot of business, you will need to get noticed first, and you will know this by the number of hits that you get on your websites. If you have five hits or visits in a day, how will you get to sell more than five of your products?
SEO is what needs to step in to increase the traffic to your site. You see, right now the internet is dominated by search engines, because these are the ones that can scour the internet, index billions of websites that are present, and categorize, alphabetize and rank them. You cannot go through each website looking for a piece of information manually. It would be like going through piles of documents six feet high in a room the size of a football field. It would take forever. The Search engine organizes all the websites, and when you click on the search, it would show the best results that it has found in a matter of seconds. All are based on the word or phrase that you typed in the search field.
So how do these search engines work? That specific information is not about to be released. If it is ever leaked, that would only be worth something for a few months, because search engines constantly change their algorithms to make sure that the results they get are truly the best results that the user is looking for. The more accurate their results are, they then become the favorite search engine, which in turn will mean that they get more business coming from webmasters and other members of the internet world… but that is an entirely different story altogether. Let’s stay focus on Search Engine Optimization.
The goal of Search Engine Optimization is to make certain that the site you have will appear on the first page of the search engine’s results when a keyword matching your service or product. The higher you are on the results page, the higher the chances you have of your website being visited. Several techniques can be done to ensure that you do appear high on the results page, but there are three that stand out and are used up until today. These are:
- Focusing on a keyword or key phrase – a lot of websites and search engines offer help (paid, of course) regarding this part of SEO. When catering to a search engine, you would want to appear on the results when words or phrases related to your product or service are searched. What you need to do though is identify which of the keywords or phrases are commonly used, and then concentrate on getting those phrases onto your website. Getting a wrong keyword or phrase would mean not getting as many searches or visitors as you would want. Getting the right ones and working them properly would translate into huge traffic.
- Providing great content – you will read this a lot on websites that provide SEO information and service: content is king! If you have done your research and chosen your keyword or phrase, then you can start providing content with those chosen words or phrases repeated several times. Dedicating a page to say nothing but those words or phrases over and over again would not work though, since the algorithms of search engines have a way of looking into the content and seeing if it makes sense or not. If you have great content, then that means you will get ranked higher on the search results page.
- Building Trust through Backlinking – one thing that search engines look for in the trust that other people have in your website, and they measure this through the number of links that lead back to your website. Let us say that you own a website that sells shoes. In it, you have a blog that speaks of foot care, shoe care, and many other topics that are great for shoe users and collectors. Since people trust you, other websites will then refer to your blog, even on their websites. They will show links on their sites, and those links would lead to your site when clicked. These are the backlinks, and search engines can count how many lead back to your website. If you have loads of backlinks, then you are a trusted site, and you will be rank high on the search engine results page.
Search engines are not as highly secretive as one would think. Although they keep their algorithms hidden, they give tips to get your website noticed. Here are three tips that Google, one of the leading search engines provided for persons who need to manage and optimize their websites.
- Fill in your website information fully and concisely – each web page has a title, a domain name, and a meta tag that can be filled out. Google advises that these are to be filled out with correct and understandable information as all three are scanned by the search engine. Those that are fully understandable will be chosen to be part of the higher portion of the search results rankings.
- Identify your images – websites are to be multimedia items, meaning that they would have text, pictures, and even videos in them. Whenever you have an image on the web page, be sure to name the image with a descriptive title. This would at least give the search engine an idea as to what the image is, and make it count as part of the great content that is on your website.
- Have great content – what was said previously? Content is king, and this will be used to see how great and reliable your website is. Having a blog on your site would mean that you could update your content frequently and fill it with informative articles regarding your product or service. It would also be a place where you can provide updates on new products, sales, and other announcements that would be diverse from the webpages on your site. Keep updating your site, and you will be noticed.
Remember that Google is not the only search engine in the world. There is also Yahoo, Bing, and a few others that may not have gotten the fancy of the global market. However, all of them have the potential of bringing traffic to a website, so do not look down on any of them.
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing the site itself. All attention is focused on the site (as opposed to looking at off-page factors such as link building). If you’re starting from the very beginning with your optimization work, on-page SEO will initially require you to conduct a site audit and assess the suitability of the nuts and bolts of the site. This includes looking at elements such as the title tags of each page, estimating keyword density and keyword placement, examining URL structures, checking that ALT tags have been used, revising image file names, cleaning upcoding, revising meta details, and most importantly, auditing your site content.
When checking the content of your site, you must ask yourself how relevant it is for the keywords you want to be ranked for i.e. Have your keywords been used, are they used in prominent positions? Are you using keywords as anchor text to link through to other pages? Most importantly, is your content relevant to your target audience? One of the biggest mistakes made when revising content for SEO purposes is forgetting about the end-user. The last thing you want to do is create page after page of information stuffed full of keywords with little or no interest for the reader. Wow, your reader with fresh, well-written content, and the conversions will follow.
Equally important, when conducting an optimization campaign is the off-page SEO linked to your site. As you would expect, the off-page elements of a site are more difficult to control. Off-page factors essentially mean the links back to your site. Within those inbound link counts, the search engines have their list of requirements, just as they do for the on-page SEO. Your inbound links must be plentiful as they are used as an indicator of how good your site is, they must be from relevant sources to direct interested traffic to you and they must use your keywords in the anchor text (the actual text of the link).
Inbound linking and off-page SEO is a breeding ground for black hat techniques such as using link farms, doorway pages, and link churning. Avoid all these and instead focus on generating high quality, highly relevant inbound links from authoritative sources.
Reasons for Why SEO Fail
Most of the Search Engine Optimization techniques fail due to improper planning and they are not meant for long term perspective. Many web developers feel that SEO is not necessarily required to get their web site on top of the search engines. They feel keep updating website on daily basis help them a lot instead of paying heavy prices for SEO specialized techniques. Some of the reasons for why SEO fail are as follows:
SEO techniques contain limited period time and expire soon without meeting the expected client requirement. A right SEO strategy is the one that always helps in creating the right value for your business.
Most of the SEO techniques do not have proper plan and does not understand the customer requirements properly. Some recent reports said that SEO experts are shooting at the dark place to get the business back which is not at all possible.
SEO actions are not consistent and lack in deep participation and perspective of the most of the search engines. They simply build the website links which will never help in the getting the business.
SEO promises of bringing the web traffic by targeting the social website communities which they never do.
The world of Search Engine Optimization is huge, and there are a lot of people who claim to be experts on the subject. However, there is no real expert except for the search engine itself. The best thing to do is to work honestly, keep to the recommended steps, and use more than one way of advertising on the web.