Every website owner is looking to get the maximum number of visitors. The idea is that more visitors will bring in more revenue from the site. This revenue can come from advertisements placed on the site and from direct or indirect sales from the site. People use search engines like Google or Bing to find things on the web but they rarely go deeper into the search engine results than the first page. Research has shown that the higher in search results a site appears the greater the number of visitors to that site. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes use of several techniques to improve a site’s position in the search results.
SEO works by manipulating the factors that the search engines use to rank websites. Rankings are based on the content of the site. Search engines look at site content to determine the focus of a site then establish rankings based on this focus.
The search engines look for “keywords” in the content.
The more often a specific keyword is used the more focused the site is on that keyword. When a user searches for a specific word or phrase the sites that focus on that word or phrase more perfectly are given higher rankings.
There are some other factors and search engines tend to keep their actual algorithms under wraps. Each major search engine uses slightly different algorithms to determine rankings.
Another factor in the rankings is the number of external links to the content on the site. This is often more important in the rankings than the keywords. Anytime a visitor to a site links their own site or blog to content on the visited site the link is detected by search engines and improves the site’s ranking.
Such links are often called “natural links”. When a site is popular (with a lot of external links) the ranking in the search results will be high. The best way to get true natural links is to have truly interesting content on the site. The most popular sites have top quality, frequently updated, content that people want to share with their friends. Search engines love natural links.
Because search engines prefer to deliver useful, accurate results they do not like to be manipulated to give any site an undeserved high ranking. Programmers design algorithms that detect blatant attempts to artificially enhance rankings. They want their rankings to be based on the actual usefulness of the sites they rank and not on manipulation. SEO companies and search engines are in a not-so-secret war. SEO specialists develop techniques that enhance rankings while the search engines build algorithms to detect manipulation efforts. Modern search algorithms are quite sophisticated and much harder to influence artificially.
SEO specialists have determined how some search algorithms work and manipulate the search results to a certain degree. One method is by writing content that has a specific percentage of a certain keyword. Too high a percentage of a certain word or phrase will be detected as a manipulation and will be ignored by the search. SEO writing rides a narrow line between manipulation and detection.
The natural links that are so important to search engines are much harder to fake. There are sophisticated techniques that can artificially create natural-looking links to fool the searches. At one time it was possible to set up a site with the sole purpose of linking to other sites to manipulate search rankings. Search programmers learned to detect these and the idea no longer works.
There are a couple of techniques that site designers and developers can use to improve rankings. Narrowing the focus of the site and delivering high quality, interesting content. A narrowly focused site will appear higher in search rankings when users search for specific keywords. For instance, a search for “medicine” will return millions of results. Searching for “holistic medicine” will return a lot fewer results.
The sites that are focused on “holistic medicine” have fewer sites to compete with for top rankings. By designing a site and including content that narrows the focus to more specific keywords or phrases, developers can achieve high rankings and target specific audiences.
There is no effective substitute for good content. When a site has high quality, interesting content visitors will want to share it with their friends. Nothing is better for search engine rankings than true natural links driven by real content. The content should be presented in an attractive way so site design is important as well. Regularly updating the content is very important, too. Updated content is detected by search engines and improves rankings as compared to static sites that are never updated.
With thousands of commercial sites using SEO techniques to achieve higher rankings the competition is fierce. Any site that does not use basic SEO techniques will fall behind quickly. The basic tools are virtually free: a nice, attractive design; narrow focus and quality content. Ignoring these basic factors in the design or redesign stage will limit the success of any site.
It is also important to keep a site fresh with new quality content that people want to share.
This is one of the techniques that SEO companies use.
Top SEO organizations have professional writers to produce quality articles with focused keywords. Using social networking to promote a site is effective too. A Facebook link to content on a site is sometimes looked at as a natural link. Implementing some basic strategies during the design phases of website development will prepare the site to be search engine friendly. Using keywords that indicate the site’s focus in the title and meta-description tags will go a long way toward helping search engines categorize the site. This is a free SEO tactic that anyone can use. It is important to remember that the visitors to a site are the reason it exists, Develop content for visitors first then add to or modify for SEO – keeping in mind that the content must remain interesting and readable. Without visitors a site is of no value irrespective of how SEO-friendly the site may be.