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What is Search Engine Optimization

Posted On 17 Sep, 2007Views : 3902 Previous | Next 
Search Engine Optimization is a process of increasing traffic naturally to a site through major search engines. There is no hard and fast rule to be followed, as hundreds of variables affect traffic. There are number of techniques that are used to help rank well in the search engines. Before proceeding we must be aware of the following terms :

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
HTML is a language to create web pages. It uses text and symbols less-than (<) and greater-than signs (>), each symbol tells a browser how to display the text. It is written in the form of labels (known as Tags).

HTML Tags

Following are important HTML Tags i.e.

  • Title Tag
  • Meta Description Tag
  • Meta Keywords Tag


Title Tag
Title Tag is the title of the document, it is what the user will see at the top of the browser window. It must be meaningful and should have keywords rich description because most of the search engines give the most relevance to keywords in the title tags within the Web page. It should not be more than 60-65 words.


Meta Description Tag
Meta Description Tag has introductory information about site for search engines listings e.g.

Meta Description Tag belongs to the head section and it should come before keyword and after title tag. It is an important tag because some search engines consider this information as summary of site and rank the site based on this information; also as this information is visible to visitors so it must be specific and concrete to attract them. Generally, it should not be more than 150 characters otherwise the important information may be left out of the visible area. Keywords should not be repeated more than 7 times. Use meta tags on all pages.


Meta keywords tags
Meta Keyword Tags contain information about important keywords in a particular webpage. It should come after Meta Description Tag. In 90’s it was a good source of judging a site content but nowadays as search robots has become more sophisticated, the importance of Keyword Tag has lessened a lot, now more emphasis is on the volume of incoming links from related websites, quantity and quality of content, technical precision of source code, spelling, functional v. broken hyperlinks, volume and consistency of searches and/or viewer traffic, time within website, page views, revisits, click-throughs, technical user-features, uniqueness, redundancy, relevance, advertising revenue yield, freshness, geography, language and other intrinsic characteristics.


Cascading Style Sheets or CSS
An addition to your HTML, a web site’s “cascading style sheet” contains information on paragraph layout, font sizes, colors, etc. A cascading style sheet has many uses as far as search engine optimization and web site design are concerned.


ALT Text
Also known as ‘alternative text or alt attribute’. An HTML tag (ALT tag) used to provide images with a text description in the event images are turned off in a web browser. The images text description is usually visible while “hovering” over the image. This tag is also important for the web access of the visually impaired.


Algorithm
A set of rules that a search engine uses to rank listings in response to a query. Search engines guard their algorithms closely, as they are the unique formulas used to determine relevancy. Algorithms are sometimes referred to as the ”secret sauce.”


Domain
Refers to a specific web site address.


Keywords
Keyword is the word that visitor of a website on the search engine (google, yahoo etc.) type to find information on a particular topic. If you writes ‘heart attack’ to collect information on this topic, then heart attack is the keyword.


Link Popularity

Link Popularity refers to the number of sites linked to your website. It is a vast term and is extremely important method of improving a site’s relevancy in search engines. It has three main types i.e.


Internal Links
Incoming Links

Outgoing Links

Internal Links

Internal Links refers to number of links to and from pages within a site. If a site has more than a dozen pages then it should have a site map because a site map provides a concrete information about the whole site which makes easier for search engine spiders to find and index the most important pages quickly especially the pages buried deep within the site.

Incoming links
Incoming link refers to links from other related sites. Further, there are two types of incoming links i.e. Links from site that you control and Links from sites that you don’t control.


Outgoing links
Outgoing links refers to links to other related sites from your site.
The importance of Link Popularity can be known from the fact that When two sites are equally well optimized for search engine performance on any given keyword phrase, the search engine will generally rank the one with more link popularity above the other.


Link keywords
Since keywords play a major part in determining the relevancy of a web page; so it is very important to name the internal and external links carefully. It is also essential that they are included in link text.


Link exchanges and farms
Link farms are networks of heavily cross linked pages on one or more sites, with the sole intention of improving the link popularity of those pages and sites. All of the major search engines consider such links as spam, so stay clear of these types of links.

Page Rank
Page Rank is the numeric value assigned to each page on the web. It usually varies between 1 to 10. The most popular page has PR10 and the least has PR0. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. Also, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines how important the vote itself is. Google calculates a pages importance from the votes cast for it. How important each vote is taken into account when a pages Rank is calculated. PageRank was developed at Stanford University by Larry Page hence the name Page-Rank and later Sergey Brin as part of a research project about a new kind of search engine. The project started in 1995 and led to a functional prototype, named Google, in 1998. Shortly after, Page and Brin founded Google Inc., the company behind the Google search engine. While just one of many factors which determine the ranking of Google search results, PageRank continues to provide the basis for all of Google's web search tools.


Ranking in search Engines
It is true that important and high quality sites receive a higher page rank but important page means nothing to a user if it does not match his query. A site may have hundreds or even thousands of different rankings, determined by all the possible search terms which can be constructed, as well as by the number of other competing web sites using the same search term. A site’s ranking for a given search term in one search engine will probably be different from ranking for the same search term in another search engine. Suppose your business is of garments and shoes. Your site may be ranked in position 24,743 with "garment" as the search term – one major search engine has over 50,000 listings for "garment". "shoes" has about 6,000 entries. "garment and shoes" has only about 40 entries. "garment, shoes and accessory " on the other hand has only 2 entries. You should now appreciate the importance of multiple word search terms, and of ensuring that these appear in your web site’s text. Location can be a good discriminator, so do consider having your business address on the web site.


Organic Search Listings
Organic Search Listings are results based on keyword within a web page. These are generally found on the left hand side in search and are not influenced by direct financial payments.


Pay per Click Advertising (PPC)
Pay Per Click advertising is an effective and targeted form of online advertising. PPC allows you to drive down costs by only paying for when interested visitors actually click through to your website.


CPC
Acronym for Cost Per Click, or the amount search engines charge advertisers for every click that sends a searcher to the advertiser’s web site. For an advertiser, CPC is the total cost for each click-through received when its ad is clicked on.


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Benefits of search engine optimization
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Do's and Don't of Search Engine Optimization
Points to remember before building a web site
Google Page Rank
Tips to improve google page rank
Robots and Robots.txt file
How to use NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW and NOODP


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