What Is Search Engine Optimization

If you have been reading articles on how to market your website, you may have encountered the term, “SEO,” multiple times. You may be asking, “What is SEO?” First, SEO is an acronym that stands for “search engine optimization.” The term is most often used to refer to strategies that can improve how a site ranks in the major search engines given certain keywords or a cluster of related keywords. It can also refer to how a website’s listing appears in the search engines, i.e. how the title is shown and how the summary is shown. Some search engine optimizers also pay close attention to how a site performs with “long-tail keywords,” i.e. longer phrases that don’t get searched as much but added together can produce a good amount of traffic to your site. The inclusion of LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing), i.e. synonyms for more popular keywords, are also considered part of good SEO.

When you read articles about SEO, you have to carefully consider the source. This is because SEO is a term that is interpreted different ways by different people. In some cases, the interpretation includes only legitimate and worthwhile practices, as seen through the eyes of the major search engines like Google and Bing. However, in other cases, this term is used to describe methods that can actually get your website penalized in the major search engines. Thus, you need to make sure the source you are reading is offering legitimate SEO tips that will improve your search engine rankings, not hurt them.

When some people see the term “SEO,” they immediately think of spam. However, while some people do use the term in this way, certainly not all SEO is spam. In fact, some of Google’s most well respected engineers, like Matt Cutts, have publicly talked about SEO being a good thing because it helps legitimate sites get found better in the search engines which enhances the user experience. At the same time, of course, Google’s engineers are constantly updating their search engine to weed out sites that use spamming techniques.

Just like there will always be bank robbers, there will always be spammers who attempt to artificially manipulate their search engine rankings using what they call “SEO.” Please understand, however, that this is not the same thing that Matt Cutts and others are referring to! Methods used to trick the search engines into artificially ranking sites higher than they should be are not SEO — not really. These spamming methods are often referred to as “black hat” methods. Examples of black hat “SEO” methods include paying for links on low quality sites to artificially increase link popularity and keyword stuffing where a particular keyword or phrase is used repeatedly and/or in an unnatural pattern on a page.

Here are some examples of good SEO, i.e. fully legitimate in the eyes of the major search engines. Make sure your webpages are organized in a way that the content containing your keywords or cluster of keywords is seen first. So, for example, including your main keywords in the title of your main pages is usually a good idea, although keywords do not need to be included on every single page on your site. Here’s another good idea. Make sure your advertisements don’t push the content too far down the page. Remember here that search engines read the left column on a page before they read the middle column and the right column. You find more tips about SEO on http://neueseocanada.com/.

Some legitimate SEO techniques get down to basics. However, as basic as these techniques may seem to you, you’d be surprised how many people ignore them and instead spend the majority of their time on black hat methods. An example of the most basic SEO technique is to make sure that each page of your website can be fully accessed by the search engine “spiders” (this is literally what they are called). You want the search engine spiders, like Google’s googlebot, to be able to repeatedly crawl your entire website and index every new page you add, as well as index any updates you may have made on pre-existing pages. Sometimes things you may consider “enhancements” to your site such as javscripts, flash animations, session IDs, and cookies can block a search engine spider from indexing all of your pages. One quick and dirty way to check this is to view your website through a text based browser like Lynx. This will basically show you what a search engine spider sees. You can also work with a good search engine optimizer to further refine this.

Just remember, legitimate SEO comes down to common sense. If a technique sounds like spam, it probably is. Some SEO methods, so called “grey hat” methods, sit on the fence between legitimate SEO and spam. When in doubt about such a technique, it is always wise to err on the side of caution. Remember, even if the grey hat method hasn’t been picked up by Google yet, it probably will be in the near future when they update their search engine. The best policy is to stick to good solid legitimate SEO.

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This post is written by Larry Smith, the Director of Internet Marketing at Neueseo, who is an expert in Web Development, Online Advertising, SEO and a specialist in the management of Google AdWords Advertising Campaigns.

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