Kathy Jacobs Design and Marketing

Search Engine Optimization Brief Overview

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very large field with many facets and components; I can not do it justice on this one page, nor am I an expert in the field. It is composed of many things, including some of which are mentioned on the Marketing your site page. If implemented well, SEO can give you a competitive advantage over a site that is in the same field or business that is not utilizing the same skills or techniques. The information below is an overview of some of the components of SEO to help you understand why it is important to implement on your website.

The goal of SEO is to give you a competitive advantage by working to get your site to appear higher in the rankings of the natural search engine results pages for specific, targeted keywords so that you will get more targeted traffic to your website. For example, if I sell jewelry, and someone searches for "gold braided ankle bracelet," you would want to optimize a page for this keyword phrase for it to appear on the first page of the natural (non-paid) search engine results.

Keywords

Keywords are the words and phrases that online users will put into a search engine to find goods and services or information. For example, if I am looking for a place to stay while on vacation in Starkville, MS, I might enter the keyword “bed and breakfast Starkville, Mississippi.” If a website does not have these words on them, it will not be returned in the natural search results. 

It is important to research your keywords before constructing a website or when trying to optimize a website. You can look through order information, competitors' websites, websites that are linked to yours, analytics from your website, word tools, and other tools to determine keywords and important keywords for your website.

Code and Design

It is important to consider how your design and code looks to a search engine when optimizing a site. For example, search engines see text, not images, so including a text description of the image in the "ALT" tag is important for search engine visibility , as well as for usability.

The more code you have on a site, the more it obscures the important content. Simplifying code by using CSS and off-page code can help improve the visibility of the content that you want to feature.

Server-side javascript, flash, and PDF files are perceived a little differently by search engines than HTML or other web page coding. Although the ability of search engines to discern content from these is improving, it is an important thing to consider when creating the content of your site.

Link Building

Link building is an important component to promoting your website, links are like votes for your website from other websites. But it is important to get links from the right sites. Getting links from sites that are not related in topic to yours or buying links from sites are not necessarily a good idea. This may take some research to find sites willing to link to yours and to find sites that are related in topic to yours that are of high quality.

Creating Content

Putting high quality, unique content on your site is always a good thing. It can help you to get inbound links if people find the information of use, and it can ensure that you include additional keywords, because the more you write, the more words are on your site.

Directories

Getting listed in quality, authoritative directories is a good way to increase the visibility of your website. Directories must be selected carefully and should be on-topic for your website. Before you pay to be added to a directory, do some research about its incoming and outgoing links, how long it has been around, and more.

I have barely scratched the surface with these descriptions of some of the components of search engine optimization here. To learn more about any of these topics, you should visit some of the pages listed below.