Search engine optimization (SEO) is a growing topic of discussion for individuals, corporations and small business alike. As the amount of content available on the internet has increased, search engine optimization has become a prominent internet marketing tool that magnifies content’s relevancy. Search engine optimization is the process used to increase the number of visitors and the quality of traffic to a website through ‘natural’ or ‘algorithmic’ search results.
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo all use unique algorithms that scan sources of information on the internet to match your keywords to content providers. The most relevant sources, as identified by the search engine algorithm, are displayed first, in descending order on the results page. The websites that are listed first receive the most traffic and consequently form the largest web presence. A larger web presence equates to more advertising revenues and sales.
As a side note, external investors use the amount of traffic a website generates as a component in the company’s valuation (valuation is based on a dollar value per ‘eyeball’ – a unique monthly visitor). Simply put, the more traffic, the more an online business is worth.
Search engine optimization is often done either in-house or by SEO consultants. However, using a few simple and free of charge techniques, any individual can increase the rankings of their business or personal website.
The first method of SEO is to use the appropriate keywords. Using the right keywords is the most important aspect of SEO. Google provides a free keyword tool that allows an individual to discover which keywords are used most often to research their business or content niche.
After your due diligence, the next step is to strategically place these key words throughout you website. Specifically, use the key words in titles, menus, and most importantly the URL. Search engines places heavy emphasis on the URL-title matching. This is important to consider when selecting a domain name. Common SEO practices also tend to favor placing keywords and variations of those keywords (making them plural, using synonym, etc.) once in the beginning and at the end of the article as well as two to three times throughout the text. The correct placement of the right keywords is an easy technique to move your site higher in the search results.
However, be careful to not use the same exact word too often throughout the article, as search engines may classify this as spamming. Also, remember to write the content for the readers and not the search engines. Providing premium content that people want to read should be your overall goal. So make sure that while applying this SEO technique, you do not disrupt the reader’s experience – including incorrect grammar, sentence structure, repetition, etc.
Another method of SEO is to use tagging. Adding a tag to an article increases the likelihood of favorable rankings by search engines. To add a tag, simply place a categorical header before the title of the article. For example, if you have an article titled Viral Marketing Tips, create a header such as Business and Entrepreneurship: Viral Marketing Tips. These tags should use keywords found through similar research methods as before. For more ideas, take a look at dir.yahoo.com or delicious.com and see how these sites use tags.
A third technique is called linking. Just as you may have links to external sources in your articles, you must have links to your site on other websites. Often if your content is found useful by a reader, then you can expect some sort of back links. However, do not be afraid to get in contact with other website’s authors and simply ask them to place a link to your website. Offer a trade; place a link to their site in return for a link to your site. It is a win-win for both parties. The more links there are to your site, the more traffic you can expect. Also, place links on your social media accounts, blogs, and forums. Any individual can create a blog with free sites like Word Press and Blogger.com. A company experienced in creating SEO friendly blogs and websites in Las Vegas would be of great help.
All in all, search engine optimization is a free, and with practice, nearly effortless marketing tool that will make an immediate impact on the volume of your site. The practice takes some fine tuning, but once mastered, it is an invaluable tool for every website and online business operator.