Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Search Engine Optimization

101 Basics to
Search Engine Optimization

A Guide on How to Utilize Search Engine Optimization for
Your Website

In this book, we will look at what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, and the
ways in which it can be used. Through this book, we will provide you with the
basics on using Search Engine Optimization in order to improve traffic flow to
your site.

By many people, SEO is considered to be a part of search engine marketing. It
is often used when people are describing a process for improving the amount of
traffic that goes to a website from various different search engines. Many site
owners will engage in using SEO in an attempt to obtain qualified visitors to their
site. The quality of these visitors will often be measured by what specific
keywords they are using in order to reach the desired result they want, such as
making a purchase, or it could just viewing or downloading a particular page on
that site. It may be that the visitor just requests some further information, or they
sign up to a newsletter.

Search Engine Optimization is a marketing strategy which can often generate a
good return for the site. But what must be remembered is that search engines
are not actually paid for the traffic they send to a site from a natural (organic)
search. Plus, they will regularly change the algorithms that they use for these
searches to be carried in an effort to improve the results for people using their
search engine. In fact, there is no guarantee that using this system is successful
in either the long or short term for any website. Because of this, SEO is often
compared to traditional forms of PR (Public Relations), while PPC (Pay per Click)
advertising is more closely associated with traditional forms of advertising.
However, even if you do find you have increased traffic to your site because of
SEO, if your site is unprepared for this increased traffic, it may in fact be
detrimental to your site, as visitors will go away feeling dissatisfied and will not

But though SEO can be considered as a marketing tactic which is a law unto
itself, it is often considered to part of the bigger picture by many industry experts.

Chapter 1
Why Use Search Engine Optimization
SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as already previously mentioned, is a sub
section of search engine marketing.
Unfortunately, with SEO, there are no shortcuts, and if you are looking for a way
to get quick and easy results, then this isn’t it. But instead, you will need to carry
out some hard work, especially in relation to the actual content of your site.
Also, you will need to have plenty of patience, as results do not happen
overnight. So if you are looking to improve the search engine position of your
site, you should consider this very early on when looking at using SEO.
However, what are important are the following points:-

Good Content

This is probably the single most important point you should remember when
doing SEO, especially if you want your site to be found on the web. Although
your site may be technically perfect so that the search engine robots find it, you
will find that it will not help if the actual content of your site is not good.
For the content of your site to be good, it should be factually, as well as
grammatically correct. But this is not really necessary for every site that is on the
web today. However, what is important is that whatever your site is about, the
content actually needs to be unique and specific so that it will appeal to people.
Moreover, it in fact needs to be particularly appealing to those people looking for
information or who want to find your site.

By having good content on your site, visitors will return and eventually these
visitors who return are more likely to link to your site. Having lots of inbound links
is not only great for your site, but for search engine rankings also. It is even
better if those links are from more highly ranked sites than your own.
Also, not only do you need to have good content on your site, you also need to
have fresh content also. If you add new content to your site on a regular basis,
you are giving your visitors more reasons for returning to it. Because of this,
search engine robots will also visit your site more often as soon as they notice
that you are updating it regularly. So what this means is that any new content
you add, will then be indexed much quicker in the future.

Check your Spellings

If your site is written in English, then you are probably aware of the differences in
spelling between American and British English. Where in the UK they will write
colour”, in the USA it is written as “color”, and the same can be said of
optimization” and “optimization”. So if you can, why not set up your machine so
that the spell checker is set up as USA English rather than British English.
Unfortunately, there are many words between these two languages that are often
misspelled, and in fact, the same can be said for many other languages around
the world.

Make sure your Page Titles are Descriptive

If you make your page titles as simple, descriptive and relevant as possible, it will
make it easier for the search engines to know what each page of your site is
about. This will then allow people to scan through the search results they get,
and are able to quickly determine if your document contains what they are
actually looking for. Also, it should be remembered that the page title is also
what is used in order to link to your site from the results provided by the search
As a result of this, it is important to ensure that the title on the page is one of your
most important elements of your site. In fact, some people will argue that this the
most important part of any site above all other things.

Use of Real Headings

This is where you need to use h1-h6 (header tags) elements for your headings.
By using graphics for your headings you are able to use any typeface you want
(but search engines will not pay much attention to this). Even if you do use the
alt attribute to specify an alternate text for heading images, this is not anywhere
near as important as using real text in a heading element.

But if you are unable to use real text, then look at the various image or flash
replacement techniques that are available instead. However, be aware that there
may be some risk involved in doing this. As image replacement involves hiding
text, it is quite possible that you may be penalized by search engines for doing
this. But at present, this kind of risk seems pretty slim.

Ensure that your URL’s are search engine friendly

It is important to use search engine friendly URL’s, as opposed to dynamically
generated ones that have a query string (which lets the server know which data
to fetch from a database). Unfortunately, there are many search engine robots
which have difficulties with this kind of URL and they may well stop at the
question mark, and so not actually look at the query string.

By using a search engine friendly URL; you are helping both your ranking and
users of your site. Many sites have seen an incredible improvement just
because they have changed the URL scheme on it. However, the modification
and rewriting of a site’s URL can be a little tricky.

Getting Linked

There is no easy or sustainable way in order to solve this but for one. The really
only good way to ensure that your site gets linked is to ensure that it contains
good content. For any site on the web, incoming links are very important,
especially for Search Engine Optimization. In fact, you may find that this is the
hardest part of SEO for you to implement.

But many people have found that incoming links are less important, especially
where you have more specific and unique content on your site.

Make it Accessible to All

This is as important as all things previously mentioned. It is important that you
make your site accessible to those who are visually impaired, as this will help
search engine robots find their way around it also. It is important to remember
that Google is blind, so even if you are not bothered whether blind people use
your site or not (which we all should be in today’s world); you still need for it to be
accessible. What this means is that you should use real headings, paragraphs
and lists, and avoid using anything which may interfere with the search engines

Be Careful when making a Submission

Although this is often overrated, submitting your site to directories and search
engines can actually be useful. This is especially important if the site happens to
be new and has not as yet been picked up by Google and many of the other
search engines that are around.

But if you do want to look at submitting it to some directories, you may want to
consider using Yahoo Directory and Open Directory Project and some directories
specific to your topic (for example, if you have a blog, try submitting to But you will need patience, as it can take several
weeks for any submissions to be processed unless you pay for it to be listed.

Do not try to fool the Search Engines

Never use such methods as cloaking, link farms, keyword stuffing, alt text
spamming or any other dubious ways. Although they may work for a short time,
you not only risk getting your site penalized, but it could actually be banned from
search engines altogether.

As search engines like their results to be accurate, they just do not take kindly to
people trying to trick them.

Avoid the use of Frames

Although it is possible to provide workarounds that will allow a search engine
robot to crawl frame based sites, these will still cause problems for any visitors
who find that site through a search engine.

What happens is that when someone follows a link from a search result to a
frame based site, they will end up on an orphaned document. This will, in most
cases, create confusion for the user, as in many cases, vital parts of the site will
be lost, such as navigational links.

Browser Detection – Be Careful

If you have to use some kind of browser detection, then make sure that it does
not break when a search engine spider or any other unknown agent comes
along. Unfortunately, if the spiders can not get in, then your site will not be

As stated at the beginning of this chapter, we have provided a few basic
guidelines in relation to SEO. But there is much more that can be done in order
to increase your site’s visibility with search engines.

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