A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
As the owner of a website, it’s naturally desirable to see your site on the first page of Google, Yahoo and Bing. It’s technically not even a difficult task to rank in the top 10, but it is time-consuming and comprehensive and you have to possess the skills in order to make it happen. The entire process of website promotion as a way to increase visitors is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.
We created a wide-ranging guide that will provide a strong base of understanding search engine optimization. You’ll learn how to make your site search engine friendly, find the right keyword phrases to boost traffic, how to buy links and market your company from a unique selling proposition.
Why Is Search Engine Optimization Important?
The search engines (including Bing, Google and Yahoo) like to see when websites receive direct traffic. They like to see that a visitor will come directly to your website looking for products, information or the services that you sell.
In a way, search engines are looked at as a middleman, where they will lead searchers directly to your website in order to fulfill their needs. The search engines are happy to provide websites with highly targeted visitors , and the site itself receives more publicity, incredible exposure and ultimately more revenue.
But here’s the thing…
If your website is not part of the search engine index, or it’s difficult to find even if it is indexed, you’re going to miss out on a phenomenal opportunity because your website is buried deep within the search results instead of being on the first page where it belongs.
The search engines – due to improved technology – become smarter on a daily basis. But search engine optimization’s significance should never be overlooked. If you perform SEO with precision, it will allow will definitely boost your website rankings and bring thousands of extra visitors and potential customers every month. This extra website traffic may be the difference between success and failure in the business world, and it’s why there are so many companies hiring SEO professionals to gain the added edge.
Search Engines: How They Work
The search engines only do two things. They are…
Crawling Webpages and Indexing:
Each of the search engines has their own “spiders”. These spiders are actually automated robots that comb through billions of documents through their interconnected links. It doesn’t matter what kind of docs they are either, because they could be JPGs, PDFs or your standard webpage.
Internet users expect to see instant results every time they look something up on their favorite SE. In order for Google, Yahoo and Bing to provide the correct answer quickly, they created dedicated data centers all across the world. These data centers house thousands of computers and more information than you could ever imagine.
When the spiders find the right pages, they are then decoded and stored on massive hard drives. This way they can be pulled up easily when necessary for a particular search query.
When an Internet user initiates a search, the search provider will comb through these trillions of documents and then display the most useful and relevant information based upon the query. They will also rank each piece of information based upon importance and other factors.
In order to deliver the most relevant content, the SEs will scan for correct keyword phrases within the pages. Although that’s just one factor, there are also a number of other things that influence a page’s relevancy.
Each one of the providers will determine a website’s importance and the information that it shares based on popularity. The more popular a particular piece of content is, the more useful it will be to others and the higher it will rank. Web results providers use algorithms (mathematical equations) to determine popularity. These algorithms comprise of 200 or more different factors to determine where a piece of content should rank.
Better Search Engine Ranking Tips
Even though each search engine’s algorithm will vary and seem difficult to master, they do provide some bits and pieces of information about how to achieve better standings in their results. As far as SEO is concerned, these tips are great and can help you achieve influence in “relevance” and “importance” within the SERPs.
Microsoft Tips from Bing Engineers
Use a URL structure that is keyword rich.
Update your website with relevant, fresh and keyword rich content on a regular basis.
Do not display the text desired to be indexed within images.
Google Tips from Their Engineers
- For each document, create a human friendly, keyword rich and descriptive URL, and only have one version.
- 301 redirects and rel= “canonical” should be used to a dress the duplicate content issue.
- Provide users with relevant, useful and informative original content.
- Title elements and alt attributes should be descriptive and accurate.
- Create websites that have text links and a very clear hierarchy.
- At minimum, there should be at least one static text link, and every webpage should be reached from it.
- Create website content for your visitors and try not to write specifically for the search engines.
- Avoid cloaking – where the content seen by the search engines is different from the content that your visitors see.
How to People Use Search Engines?
When someone needs information, a solution to a problem or an answer, they will use the search engines. They type in a keyword phrase or query into the box on the query page. These phrases are typically of three specific types:
- Navigational related: When these queries are performed, the user is typically looking for a particular online destination. As an example, we mean sites like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
- Action related: This is also known as a transactional query, and as an example, the visitor will desire to listen to a certain song or watch a specific movie.
- Informational related: the user will perform this search when looking for certain information. As an example, they may want to find “The best plumber in Grand Rapids Michigan” or anything similar.
When visitors type certain queries into the search box, they are then directed to websites that contain the most relevant information. It’s the SE’s desire to provide the visitor with the most applicable websites to satisfy their needs based on the keyword phrases used.
If your website, for whatever reason, is not going to provide search engine users with the information that they need, they will not enjoy their experience. Yahoo, Bing and Google can tell when you did not provide the searcher with the results that he or she desired, and your website will lose rankings because of this over time.
On the flipside, when a user is satisfied and happy with the website and they had a good experience, this will increase the popularity of your website. And as a direct result of this positive experience, the results providers will recognize the value of your site and give you better positioning because of it.
This is the reason why it’s so important to focus on your visitors when creating a website. You have to provide a positive user experience. You should never focus on creating a site specifically to please the search engines. You’ll actually receive better visibility in the results and improve your marketing efforts by pleasing the people looking for the information that you provide.
Here’s another way to look at the importance of the search engines and the results that they provide…
They are directly responsible for vast amounts of offline and online financial activity.
Each year, they achieve a greater level of popularity.
Higher website rankings will increase a site’s visibility by a wide margin.
If you achieve top listings in the results, you appear to be a trustworthy site and rewarded with extra website traffic.
There’s no question that you can achieve the goals and results that you desire once you understand search engine optimization and how to properly perform it on your website. You’ll have a definite advantage over the competition and your site will be a lot friendlier to the search engines.