24 Nov, 2009

Getting started with SEO

Posted by: drobs In: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimisation and is essentially the manipulation of a website or webpage to achieve the highest possible ranking on search engines. Most people focus on the most popular of search engine, Google, but consideration should also be given to Yahoo and increasingly Bing by MSN/Microsoft.

The ultimate key to a successful website is fresh, original and relevant content that is frequently added to and improved. You want a site that people want to visit and return regularly to. You want visitors to tell others to visit your site.

However, unless you have a decent advertising budget, a mechanism to mass publicise your website or a strong existing brand, most have to build their website by getting traffic from search engines. For now we are not going to look at Pay Per Click (PPC) search engine advertising, but will stick with organic, normal search engine results.

The first thing you should do is submit your website with the main search engines so that they know you exist and they include you in their searches/index your website. Click here for links to the submission pages of the main search engines. It can take a few weeks to appear within the search engine results, but normally takes just a few days. If a website links to your site and it is already indexed by a search engine, the search engine will pick up your site without needing to submit your site.

Once the search engines are indexing your site, you need to get the search engine to rank your site higher than your competitors so that you appear ideally on the front page and as close to the top of search engine results as possible.

You need to brain storm to decide the key words or phrases (that people might use to find your site) and then include these within your web page title, description, meta tags and page text. You need to make sure that you don’t overdo things and repeat keywords too much else the search engine is likely to penalise your site.

One of the main ways that a search engine rates websites is by the volume and quality of back links to your site. By this I mean search engines pick up and assess links to your sites from other websites. Be careful though because search engines identify bad sites; normally sites set up solely for the purpose of linking to other sites. Such link farms are deemed to be spam and links to your site from such link sites often incur penalties.  Search engines also pick up if your site suddenly sees a huge hike in the number of links it receives and is likely to penalise as it thinks you have bought links.

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