12.25.08 —Discover The Answers To The Top 10 SEO Questions
Owning any type of online business will strongly benefit from a few SEO techniques. However, everyone and their brother has advice on how to do it. All this 'expert' advice can make the simple task of optimizing your site incredibly confusing.
Here are some straightforward answers to the most common SEO questions.
1. What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. A search engine is a tool many internet users use to find sites that are relevant to their needs. The three biggies when it comes to search engines are Google, Yahoo and MSN. There are however, hundreds of search engines available to internet users. Search engines work by sending out spiders to crawl through the World Wide Web and gather information. If you have the information they're looking for, in the places they are looking, they'll find you and place you in their results when a person is looking for your information.
The task of understanding what search engines are looking for and putting it in the right places on your website and in your content, is the essence of search engine optimization. So now you might be asking what do search engines look for and where do they look for it? The answer is keywords and links. Keywords in your html coding, keywords on your webpage content, keywords in your content, and the number of incoming links you have to your website.
2. How important is SEO?
Let's just put it this way. What's better a few visitors who stumble upon your website or hundreds of visitors that go to your website with the direct intention of learning more or making a purchase?
With more and more people searching and shopping online, getting on the first page or two of the search engine results can mean the difference between keeping your day job and becoming an internet millionaire.
3. What are text links?
Links are just one of the tools you can use to increase your search engine optimization. The more quality links you have, the better your search engine ranking will be. Text links are links that contain only text. Wikipedia is a great place to examine internal text links. The links are contained within a sentence and when a reader clicks on them they are taken to a different page on the same website. The kind of text links you're looking for will be text links that will take readers from your article, ebook, or web copy to your website.
An excellent tool to generate incoming links is to write copy for online audiences like article directories, blogs, and ezines and insert text links in the copy. Webmasters will link to the content and thus to your site. Additionally, when you allow free reprints of your copy provided the links are maintained, you're encouraging links to your website.
4. What are link farms and link exchanges?
Search engines don't accept just any old link. The link has to be from a relevant and quality company. This means you don't want to participate in link farming. If a search engine suspects your links to be lacking, they'll actually penalize you. Link farming or link exchanging is essentially the process of exchanging reciprocal links with Web sites in order to increase your search engine ranking. A link farm is a Web page that is nothing more than a page of links to other sites. Stay away from link farms. When you generate a link from another site, it had better be relevant and coming from a real web site.
5. What is duplicate content?
The definition of duplicate content is web pages that contain substantially the same content. Search engines will penalize you for this. How do you avoid duplicate content? Don't publish the same article in several locations. There are many tools available online to help you re-write your content so that it is 30%, 40%, and even 50% different. However, the best way to avoid duplicate content is to simply write new content.
6. How do I find the right keywords?
There are several steps to finding the most profitable keywords. The first step is to generally do a bit of brainstorming and come up with a list of keywords you think people will use to find your products. The next step is to research supply and demand for those particular keywords. Supply means how many other websites are using those same keywords and demand is how many people are looking for those particular keywords.
The key is to find keywords with high demand and relatively low supply. There are many effective and useful keyword tools to help you find this information and to generate keyword ideas. Once you decide on a few keywords, it may be useful to do a bit of testing before you commit to them.
7. How do I optimize my web pages?
Placing your keywords in the right location is a good start to optimizing your web pages. Search engines look to the headings, subheadings, domain name, and title of your website. They also look in the content on your page and primarily focus on the first paragraph.
Try to get a domain name with your primary keyword included. When you include your keyword in your URL it tells the search engine spiders immediately what your site is about.
Title Tag. Your title tag is the line of text that appears on search engine results pages that acts as a link to your site. This is a crucial element of your webpage as it describes to your visitors what your page is about.
If you view your source code, your title tag will look something like this: <TITLE>Search Engine Optimization Tips</TITLE>
Keep your title tags brief, descriptive, up to date, and keyword rich will help to increase the relevance of your site in the eyes of the search engines, as well as giving your potential visitors a good idea of what they can expect from your site.
Meta Tags have lost their importance to the search engines however it is still helpful to place your keywords in your meta tags. In your source code they look something like this: <META NAME="description"
8. Do I need to submit my site to the search engines?
The simple answer is - no. Search engine spiders are always out there doing their job and collecting information. Every time you update your website, add content, or change your keywords, the search engines capture the information and record it. However, if you want to be listed on a directory, like the DMOZ Open directory project, then you will need to submit to those.
9. What are spiders?
Search engine spiders are also called web crawlers or bot. They're basically automated programs which scan websites to provide information to search engines often for the purpose of indexing or ranking them.
10. How does content help my SEO?
Content is one of the best tools to improve your search engine ranking. It is a great place to emphasize keywords, encourage linking to your site, and increase traffic. The key to content is to make sure you're offering quality content and you're updating your website and your content frequently. Content can be provided in many forms including:
* Forums and chat rooms
* Case studies
* How to guides
* e-books and much more.
Originally published in the December 25, 2008 Entireweb Newsletter.