What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization is the art of getting high placement and rankings on search engines. Higher placement means your website will come up higher in the results pages. More web traffic will be driven to a site with high rankings. More traffic means more money.
The main search engines are Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search. SEO is primarily concerned with gaining high placement on these engines. Other search engines and directories include: Alexa and DMOZ Open Directory Project. The list goes on and on.
Google is the most used search engine. Thus, you should spend a majority of your time optimizing your site for the Google search engine. Google uses PageRank to rank individual pages based on a combination of content, keywords, linkbacks and updates. Linkbacks are how many other sites are linking to your site or pages. Google monitors sites for updates — the more often your site is updated, the higher your site will rank.
Google Page Rank
Your Google PageRank (PR) can vary from 0 to 10, or N/A. PR of 0 means your site is in the PageRank system, but it has virtually no linkbacks and weak content, keywords, and few updates. PR over 5 is good. PR 8+ means your site is doing everything right and traffic is flowing in. If your PageRank is N/A this means your site is not even in the PageRank system. This likely means your site has poor content, keywords, linkbacks, and updates.
Improving Your Content
The content of your site determines not only if your site will show up in search results, but also it’s position or ranking. If your site is about widgets, you better have a lot of content, information, data, and articles about widgets. If your site is about the stock market, your site may include a brief history of the stock market, company data, stock prices, and stock broker information. However, your site does not need many different sections or areas of focus. The depth of the content is important. A 10-page article will usually contain more search engine relevant content than a 1-page article.
Keywords are associated with search queries. You need to choose keywords that are relevant to your site, and that complement your content. Keyword density is also important. Keyword density is the amount of times your keywords appear in your content. This can be calculated as a ratio. The higher the density, search engines think your site has more relevant content.
Linkbacks are other sites that link to your site. For example, 10 different stock market message boards link to your article about “Beginning with $5000” for new traders and investors. If these 10 stock market message boards are indexed by a search engine — for instance Google — your site (or your article) will have 10 links to your site. The more links, or linkbacks, your site has, the higher your site will place on search results pages and in the Google PageRank system.
Update Your Site Often
Updating your site on a regular basis is extremely important. Search engine robots will contstantly scan your site. One thing the robots look for are changes to the site — new articles, new sections, updated news, new downlods, etc. Differences to the site — changes, updates — show that your site is actively used.
The following sites can help you improve your search engine rankings or see your current rankings.
- URL Trends – displays a lot of stats from various search engines and social networking sites, as well as showing your sites past history.
- Alexa Traffic Rankings – see how much traffic your web site receives
- Check your Google Page Rank