Search engine optimization is not difficult to understand. You don’t have to be a mathematical wizard to get the basic idea. Website optimization is simply the art and science of building web pages that provide the most relevant answers to the various queries that people make when they use a search engine.
The person who is making a query wants an answer to her question, and the search engine is trying to provide the best answer. Your job, as a website manager, is to provide web pages that will satisfy the person making the query and the search engine as well. Search engine optimization is not about tricking the search engines. You can get away with a trick for a short time, but if you are in business for the long run it is better to base your success on solid procedures. Here is what you can do to satisfy both the end users and the search engines.
1. Find out how your would-be customers use a search engine. What terms do they use when they are searching for your products? This is the $64,000 question. If you target the right words you will get the kind of traffic you want, the people who will buy your product or service. If you target the wrong words you may not get any traffic at all. This part of Internet optimization is known as keyword research. Find out all the different combinations that people use when they look for a website such as yours. The overture.com search term suggestion tool will provide some help or you can use the paid service at www.wordtracker.com
2. Build Web pages based on your keywords and Key Phrases. It is a mistake to think that you can just sprinkle your keywords in the meta tags of any old web page and then get a high position in the search engines. If your page is only tangentially related to the query it will not get a high ranking in the search engines. However if you have written a web page that provides solid information directly related to the search term, then any surfer who ends up there will be satisfied. And, if you present your information properly, this is the kind of page that the search engines want to deliver to their users.
3. The last step in optimization is to present your material properly. The best website promotion tip that anyone can give you is not to cheat in this process. Don’t stuff your keywords into your copy unnaturally or write them in invisible text on the bottom of your web page. If your copy is really about a particular keyword or key phrase, then simply place it in the title tag, the description tag , the headlines on the page and in text link on the page. You can use a keyword density checker to see if you have used your keyword enough. You can also just read your copy aloud to see how you are doing. If it doesn’t sound right, you may have overdone it.
If you do your web page optimization in this three-step way everyone will end up satisfied: the web visitor, the search engines and you.
Donald Nelson is an editor, social worker and web developer. He has worked on the Internet since 1995 and presently runs A1-Optimization http://www.a1-optimization.com , a firm providing affordable search engine optimization, website copywriting, reciprocal linking and article publishing services.