What is SEO?
The acronym means “search engine optimization” of a website. The Wikipedia defines SEO as “The process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via ‘natural’ (‘organic’ or ‘algorithmic’) search results for targeted keywords.”
If you’ve never heard of SEO, or if you want to ease into this techy topic, begin with my post If You Don’t Know About SEO, Start With Pre-SEO.
What Does This Look Like?
There are numerous techniques to make a website rank higher in search. Here are several visuals — keywords on your web pages and referring links to your site.
Keywords in your website text.
Referring links from other websites to yours.
Get Started Links
Introduction to Search Engine Optimization (video) SageRock. com Discusses “on the page” and “off the page” criteria to introduce SEO.
SEO In a Nutshell (slideshare) Noah Bier This slideshow gives you an excellent overview of SEO. There’s a very cute spider — see particularly slide 19 — your view of your website — and slide 20 — what the “spider” that indexes the page sees.
SEO Basics. Headstand Media “An introduction to increasing your natural rankings in search engines.” PDF of PowerPoint that clearly outlines basic concepts.
SEO Optimization: Top Google Rankings FAST (video) Loudle.com Web 2.0 approach to SEO by creating an “authority presence” on the web, using social news, bookmarking and social media sites to create that presence.
12 Step SEO Methodology — scroll down BruceClay.com Great explanations. A must-read to learn more.
Getting Listed in Search Engines Media College Includes a fistful of links to these topics: How Important is SEO? Search Engine Terminology, Targeting Keywords, SEO Basics, Inbound Links (Backlinks), Choose an Advanced Strategy, Content-Based SEO, Non-Content SEO, Tips & Tricks
Search Marketing Marketing Sherpa “A research firm specializing in tracking what works in all aspects of marketing (and what does not.)” You have to give them your email for the good stuff.
SearchEngineWatch.com Search Engine Watch “provides tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines.”
Search Engine Don’t from the internet service provider Network Solutions
Search Engine Optimization Wikipedia (the dictionary explanation.)
Webmaster-toolkit Fun stuff for a novice to play with. In addition to keyword research and analysis tools, try link checker, DNS lookup, etc.
Google Keyword Tool Check search volume, search trends and generate related keywords for free.
Compete.com for site analytics and web search data on high-traffic websites. Enter the URL of your big-guy competitors, click the “Get Site Analytics” button, and then look down below the graph for their top keywords.
Alexa.com for site rankings, external links, and traffic information on mostly high-traffic sites. Here’s their picture of SCORE Chicago. Just change the URL to yours, click “Get Traffic Details” button and see what they have on you.
In the summer of 2008, the consensus seems to be that labels (called metatags) for page titles, page descriptions and keywords in your website code don’t count for much anymore. Insiders tell me that the title of your page, the one that shows up on the top title bar on your screen, should use keywords. Others say that you should have a couple sentences of description in your code, too. I’m not going to get into this religious debate, so take metatags up with your web developer or SEO consultant.
When all is said and done, build an informative and well organized site to score with SEO. Headstand Media owner Randy Birkey says
I would tell people to focus on their site content. It turns out that anything that you do to offer more detailed, more informative, more authoritative, better organized and more sheer quantity of content to your site visitors, the better it is for your SEO as well.
What’s your experience with the difficult and fast-changing world of SEO? I’m just another small biz webmaster, trying to be “SEO smart” for free. I’ve struggled with metatags on my site, track keywords using basic Google Analytics, work regularly to get external links, and even once purchased cheap, “off the shelf” SEO from an ISP (with no results). Can’t afford the real thing. I’m NOT an SEO expert. Please correct me or talk to me about your struggles with SEO in a comment.
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