The term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) describes the process that effect your sites visibility, or, to put it another way, the position it shows up on the search engine results.
If you have a website that is all about how to grow climbing roses you would want that site set up so that when someone types ‘how to grow climbing roses’ into Google’s (the largest search engine of all) search bar it appears on page one of the search results. Even better, of course, would be if it was high on the page or even at number one.
Why is this important?
It is all about traffic. By traffic I mean visitors to your site. The more traffic the greater the likelihood that you will make sales. Just to drive the point home a recent report showed that page two of Google’s search results get less than fifteen percent of total clicks and the top three positions on page one get around sixty percent of clicks. Indeed the site in number one position will enjoy about thirty five percent of all clicks. Strictly speaking Google ranks individual site pages rather than entire sites.
How can you get high rankings?
Google’s own ever changing, formula, or algorithm, for determining the relevance of a website page is the subject of great debate and while Google does divulge a great deal of information concerning it, the precise way it is applied is somewhat mysterious. However all that you need to understand is what the search engines are trying to achieve and how that can help you.
Relevance, Relevance, Relevance!
I have already used this word and it is all important. To put it in a nutshell, the search engines want their customers, people searching online, to have a happy experience and this means that they should be able to find something online that satisfies their quest for information as accurately as possible.
To use our earlier example, if someone types ‘how to grow climbing roses’ into the search bar then, instead of a web page appearing high on page one of the results that is about gardening in general that what is right up there is a page that is specifically focused on how to grow climbing roses.
You should never try to deceive or “spam” the search engines in any way in order to obtain high rankings. They employ some very smart people and attempting to outwit them is a policy not to be encouraged.
Some SEO Basics…
It would be impossible to provide an entire seo course here but I can give you what are probably the most important things you need to take into consideration.
Your site must contain original and relevant information. For now the search engines can only read copy and therefore you need lots of it, highly focused on the topic of every site page. Your keyword is the topic of that page.
To use our example again, the website page would have the url yoursitename/how-to-grow-climbing-roses, the page title (H1 tag) would be, yes that’s right, how to grow climbing roses and that phrase would represent about 2% of the copy on that page.
If your site has links coming into it (back links) from other websites that, for seo purposes, is a big plus. The higher those other sites are ranked the better. You can obtain back links by, perhaps, posting comments or articles on those sites that include a link back to your site.
This is only a tiny fraction of the steps that you can take to improve your search engine rankings.
Employing seo tactics to get traffic via high search engine rankings has the great advantage of being a free technique, except, of course, you may put a high value on your time.