What is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?

What is SEO and what does it mean? SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the process of improving the quality of a website by means of effective optimization techniques and making it more visible and appealing to search engines. If you have a website and want customers to see it, SEO is very important. SEO is a great way to increase the traffic of a website.

We search for something on Google, Yahoo and other search engines on a daily basis. We normally visit the websites that are at the top of the list in search engine result pages. Have you ever wondered why some of the websites rank better than the others? It is because of powerful search engine optimization implemented in those websites. The objective of search engine optimization is to make your website rank high on the major search engines. When your website is at the top, you get more visibility, which leads to more traffic to your website.

How Search Engines Function

Search engines perform several activities in order to deliver search results.

First, they go out hunting for websites on the internet; then they crawl the website’s pages. This is performed by software called crawler or spider. These spiders or crawlers find new websites and pages by following the links on a website. Once a page is found they read the content of each page and also check for images. Then they analyze each webpage extracting words from titles, headings, or Meta tags. Next step is to index its content. The indexed page is stored in a database. The data stored will be in encoded format in order to save space.

When a user makes a query on a search engine bar, the search engine searches the index and returns the results that are relevant to the searcher’s query. There may be millions of pages that contain the same keyword or phrase. It uses an algorithm to decide in which order to display the results. Regularly updated websites with unique content are given better positions on SERPs (search engine result pages). Users study the results and click on the websites of their choice, mostly the top ranking ones. This is how a search engine works.

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SEO Optimization Techniques that Work

Using Relevant Keywords

To obtain a good page rank it is important that the content of your website is unique, fresh and original. Choosing the right keyword is another important factor. Choose the keywords that ideally describe the content of your site. After you have chosen your keywords, the next step is to have good keyword density for your targeted keywords. The recommended density is 3-7%. The preferred keyword density ratio varies from one search engine to another. Now you have to insert these keywords in areas like page title, page URL, heading, body text, and the ALT and Meta tags.

What Happens after Keywords Are Selected?

In order to get your site ranked high for the selected keyword, SEO search engine optimizers will perform work that falls within two major categories: On-page optimization and Off-page optimization.

On-page optimization is what is done on the pages of a site to maximize the performance on search engines. That is, on page SEO deals with making your pages readable to spiders. Here is how you can optimize a website using on-page optimization techniques:

  • Create proper content with keyword density of at least 0.6 – 2% for the targeted keyword.
  • Create meta tags and header tags
  • Create alt tags for images
  • Include keywords in first paragraph
  • Create title tag for the link
  • Include keywords in the file names
  • Include targeted keywords in URL
  • Highlight selected keywords as bold or italic
  • Build strong internal link structure
  • Proper HTML and code
  • Avoid duplicate content
  • Image and video optimization
  • Site’s loading time and HTML page size
  • Optimizing 404 page when page access error occurs
  • Implementation of 301 permanent redirect
  • Implementation of Google Analytics
  • Presence of privacy policy, disclosure and disclaimer page
  • Add social sharing buttons
  • Create a sitemap that links to each page of your website

Other, advanced on-page optimization techniques include:

  • Canonical tag implementation
  • Robots.txt creation
  • .htaccess validation
  • Usage of no follow attribute for affiliate links
  • Tracking HTML code errors through W3C Markup Validation
  • Include “thesauric” and search engine proven synonyms
  • SILOS

Off-page optimization is what can be done off the pages of a website. Off-page SEO is a way to build backlinks to your site and make it rank well in search engines. Here are some ways to build backlinks:

  • Search engine submission
  • Directory submission
  • Social bookmarking
  • Article marketing
  • Video submission
  • Social media optimization
  • Link exchange
  • Press releases
  • Forum posting
  • Guest posting
  • Forum/blog commenting
  • RSS feed

Optimizing a website should be a continuous process. So website designers and developers should make sure that they follow these techniques and make your site appear on top of the search results. Hiring a search engine optimization company can save your valuable time and effort. With affordable SEO packages and plans, they can increase your website traffic and thereby help you get more business from your website.