Thursday, October 15, 2009

Basic Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term with which just about anybody in business on the Internet is familiar. If you have not heard of SEO and the benefits knowledge of it offers as it applies to your website, and if you do not know how to get started doing it, TODAY is the time to begin!

Perhaps a vast majority of website, Internet and Google-search-savvy people are aware of the importance of SEO and engage in weekly, if not daily, exercises in an effort to gain eyeballs for their business-based websites. It is my belief that for every one who knows how and performs consistent SEO efforts three do not. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe not.

My readers probably all are SEO savvy to a greater, or lesser degree, but if only one of gains some valuable information from this article then I'll believe it was well worth the time to research, write and include links to potential SEO answers.

SEO? What is that?
Things you can do in the designing of, placement on and adding to the code of your website page(s) that help get your site the attention of search engines. These engines include Google, Yahoo! and MSN (Bing - currently the fastest-growing search engine on the Web according to Website Magazine).

SEO also includes things you can do beyond website page(s) content and code to improve your ranking among search engines and improve results when potential clients are looking for services you offer.

Maybe you are already being crawled by SEO "spiders" (software that searches and logs websites and pages). One way to determine if you even exist, as far as Google is concerned is to go to Google and do a search, entering "" without the quotes.

Creating an SEO "optimized" website and pages
Things you need to know about and use include: key words, domain name, title tag, description tag, headers, body content and links in text. You will need to research, using Google perhaps as your initial search engine to locate information already on the web regarding these elements.

You can start by researching for viable, effective and valid key words at:
• Google
You will need a free Google account if you do not already have one.
• Keyword Discovery
• Word Tracker

Plan your key word usage in all areas on your website page(s) but do not get carried away - lists of repetitive key words will drive search engine spiders away, not attract them. Judicious usage is key to use of these elements.

Website page(s) code includes meta tags, description tags and key words tags. Headers, unique formatting (making subheads bold or italics), and text links inclusion in your body copy also need to be planned for effectiveness and use. Include links in your body copy text that not only take visitors to other pages within your site, but other websites as well. These links, and reciprocal links you arrange between your website and others on the Internet, will help in your SEO efforts.

For example, in this article I might include a link to another of my blogsite articles: such as What Focus is Right for Website?, or to another blog site I read, know and trust, such as In the Viewfinder by Jay Michael.

Another thing to keep in mind is that graphics and images may not be recognized. You need to identify where your images are and in addition to the graphic, find a way to enter text that either identifies the photo or graphic, and/or includes key word content. Also, some people set up their browsers to NOT download website graphics, so the text description offers information they otherwise would not have.

When you have done this there are websites that can help you see just how effectively you've applied these elements to your website pages. I will share some of those later in this article.

Things to do outside your website pages
Speed things up a bit with various search engines by contacting them and submitting your website(s) and/or page(s). It is easy to do, and takes only a little time. Sometimes it takes awhile before your efforts here take effect, but it will work for you in the long run.

The top rated search engines, of course, are MSN, Yahoo! and Google. There are a host of others as well, some independent of these, others integrated with the top three. Do a search using any or all of the top three to identify other search engines you might want to submit your websites to.

In addition to doing reciprocal link swaps with other websites, you can also do something more by submitting your site and business information to Google's Business Center program.

Consider submitting to web directories and social networks
You can submit your website to Exact Seek, Dmoz or Jayde as well and possibly gain a boost to your ranking, as well as drawing more traffic to your sites.

There there's the ever-popular Twitter and Facebook social sites.

Check your results
Finally, when you have done all these things and are ready to see how well it has worked out for you, go to some of the sites that offer you a way to analyze and evaluate your SEO efforts. Keep in mind that some of your activities - search engine and directory submissions may not occur overnight, or even in a week or two. Be patient, keep doing SEO, and keep checking the results with searches and using these sites.

Good luck with your SEO exercises. And remember: If you market, you will make it! © 2009 Earl Chessher

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