What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a collection of techniques that can be applied to a website to increase the search engine ranking of the site. Search engine ranking is the position that your site occupies when a search is done using keywords that you target on your site.
Why is search engine ranking important?
The higher your site”s position in the search engine results pages (SERPs) the more people will see it and potentially click on your listing, bringing you more traffic.
For example, Google, one of the most popular search engines, list 10 search results per page. Most casual searchers never look beyond the first page of search results.
SEO is important because if you can get your site listed in the Google top ten — on the first page of results– for your search terms, you will get significantly more traffic than if your listing shows up on any subsequent pages.
SEO techniques fall under two broad categories, on-page factors and off-page factors.
On Page SEO
On page factors are all the things you can do on your website to increase SEO. The on page factors usually revolve around keywords, and you use these techniques to let the search engines know what you site is about.
On page factors include things like the use of keyword and description meta tags, the use of the alt tag for images, HTML header tags, keyword placement, etc.
Off Page SEO
Off page factors revolve around backlinks, but also involve the use of keywords. Backlinks are the links placed on other sites that point to your site. Backlinks are also known as “inbound links”, a term which is often easier to understand. Inbound links are those links pointing towards your site.
Steps You Can Take To Improve Your SEO
1. Always use keyword and description meta tags.
For every page on your site you should have meta tags unique to that page. Meta tags are HTML code found between the tags near the top of the page when you are looking at the HTML code. There’s a good reference for using meta tags here: http://www.freelancedesigners.com/tools/meta_tags.cfm.
For the keywords meta tag create a comma-separated list of keywords relevant to your site. Keywords don’t have to be single words. They can, and should, be keyword phrases relevant to the content of that page.
For the description meta tag write a description of your site that would make someone want to click your link.
This meta tag’s description is used by some search engines, including Google, as the text description of your site. So it’s not just for the search engine’s benefit, it’s also likely to be seen by a human and it may be the difference between that human clicking on your site’s link or another site.
Part 2 will cover additional tips you can take to improve your SEO.
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