Search engine optimization (SEO) involves designing, writing, and coding a website in a way that helps to improve the volume and quality of traffic to your website from people using search engines.
Effective SEO techniques help you get more potential customers to your website. Websites that have higher rankings (i.e. presented higher in the search results) are identified by a larger number of people, who will then visit that site. Ensure that you define your market first before engaging in SEO techniques.
How search engines work
Search engines have four functions tracking, indexing, relevance, calculating and rankings, and the results are used.
For your business (product or services) to rank on a search engine, you use your website and each of the pages on your website to achieve your goal. Search engines index all the information on your website so that searches can work more efficiently.
Search engines make these databases run by periodically crawling the Internet. Search engines use secret algorithms (mathematical formulas) for the value they place on elements such as input and output connections, keyword density and placement of words within the structure of the site, which determine the influence of your SEO ranking.
The latest trend in search engines and probably the future of search is far from the search approach for keywords based on personalized search.
If a person clicks on certain search results, search engines like Google, Bing and others take this information to gather important trends and customize search results based on specific interests.
How is SEO Relevant to Small Businesses?
According to research, the majority of online consumers use a search engine to look for products, services or business information.
The majority of web traffic is driven by the following search engines: www.google.com (the most commonly used search engine); www.yahoo.com, www.MSN.com, and www.ask.com (Source: Rand Fishkin, Beginner’s Guide to SEO, 2006). Targeted visitors to your website are more likely to result in new customers and increased sales.
As a small business, your marketing budget is likely limited. However, there are some cost-effective SEO techniques that you should be aware of (e.g. editing your web pages to ensure you have good quality content and the right keywords).
These techniques will bring more people and the right kind of people (i.e. potential customers) to your website. Using effective SEO techniques can put your business on a more level playing field with larger companies.
By carefully considering your budget, timelines and your marketing need you can choose SEO techniques that will give you the most value for your money. SEO is a long-term process.
However, you can work towards improving your website’s ranking by taking small steps over a period of time. Get an easy-to-navigate website here.
Types of Search Engines
Crawler-Based Search Engines
(e.g. Google and AltaVista)
Search engines are complex software applications that are automated to survey (“crawl” or “spider”) the Internet to find websites. A Search Engine crawler is also referred to as “robot” or “bot”.
Implications for SEO
These search engine ‘bots” generally index sites based on their content and links (i.e. how many websites link to your website). Therefore, quality and organization of content and link popularity are critical to optimizing your website. Changing the content of your web pages will affect the order you are listed in the search engine. The crawler will eventually detect changes in your website
(e.g. Yahoo Directory and Business.com)
Human-powered directories are directories that are compiled by human reviewers, who review, examine and evaluate short descriptions of websites provided by people who would like their websites listed online. Reviewers rate the content of submissions using criteria that are generally not known to the public
Implications for SEO
Changing your website will not automatically have an effect on how or whether your website is included in this type of search engine. For these type of search engines, you generally have to pay a fee to have your website reviewed by an editor before it is listed in the directory. Submission of websites to web directories is a possible SEO strategy as it can increase links to your website (i.e. link popularity).
* Note that many current search engines present both crawler-based results and human-powered listings. For example, Yahoo! provides both a crawler-based search engine and a directory service (searchable separately from the crawler-based search engine).
Crawler-Based Search Engines
Crawler-based search engines consider many factors when indexing websites. Search engines are designed to try to find and rank the best websites (i.e. most usable, most informative, most credible).
One of the most important ways for a search engine to rank your site is to consider the number and quality of websites that link to your website. In addition to the number of websites that link to your website, a search engine might also consider the credibility of the website that is linked to your website.
A link from a trusted news source, for example, will carry more weight than a link from a spam site (i.e. low-quality website).
The exact methods used by crawler-based search engines on how they rate content for rankings is not public knowledge. In addition, these rules change over time. There are, however, some common techniques that can help you optimize your website to increase traffic to your site.
Search Engine Optimization Techniques
SEO involves a wide range of techniques, some of which you may be able to do yourself and others that will require web development expertise. Techniques include increasing links from other websites to your web pages, editing the content of the website, reorganizing the structure and organization of your website, and coding changes.
It also involves addressing problems that might prevent search engines from fully “crawling” a website. As was mentioned, one of the most critical ways to improve your website’s ranking in the search engine results pages is improving the number and quality of websites that link to your site.
Google PageRank is a system for ranking web pages used by the Google search engine. PageRank assesses the extent and quality of web pages that link to your web pages.
Because Google is currently the most popular search engine worldwide, according to comScore Inc. (Press Release, June 2008), the ranking of your web pages received on Google PageRank will affect the number of visitors to your website.
Culled from: www.innovationpei.com/ebusiness
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