SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”, meaning optimizing your site for search engines so that the content of your site is represented to both a human reader and a search engine in a similar manner. It may also entail optimizing or gearing your site toward specific keywords representing your main activity of business. The main purpose of this optimization is to bring relevant traffic to your site
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All SEO efforts are concentrated around bringing more visitors to a website and an important aspect of the website optimization is adapting the content so that it includes the correct keywords and making sure that their density is consistent with the topic of the site.
When an end user employs a search engine, they input words or phrases that define their search query. The search engine will then provide a results page where websites featuring the terms used have a higher chance of occupying the top positions.
Of course, many other factors weigh in when a search engine computes a website’s ranking for a specific search, but ensuring that your website features the correct keywords is one of the most important steps in optimizing your results page performance.
The first stage of keyword optimization is selecting the appropriate keywords by focusing on possible search terms or phrases used by potential customers. The goal is not only bringing as many visitors to the site as possible, but attracting more potential customers. A large number of end users are already looking for a specific product/service or piece of information. Webmaster’s goal is to offer it by using the right keyword to describe it and advertise it.
Most chances are that the perfect keyword for your website is in fact, a phrase. Usually, the one-word searches are very generic and the end user is not looking for a specific product, but rather browsing. This is why a longer search phrase may imply that the user is a potential customer, determined to purchase the good or service he is looking for.
The keyword selection is done mainly using reverse reasoning, asking yourself, what words would a potential customer use to look for the information or product you are offering, considering that they don’t know your brand name or your website?
Once a range of keywords is selected, a good insight into the market is provided by running searches for the keywords, and analyzing the competition, the listings at the top of the search results page. Evaluating their performance and marketing strategies is very helpful in developing your own tactics in order to emphasize your competitive edge.
The amount of paid advertisement present on top and to the right of the organic results can also provide an insight into the value of the market and the profitability of the keyword.
As soon as a keyword cloud is formed, the content on the website can be adapted, or built around these keywords. An important part of this optimization technique is creating distinct pages for various keywords, instead of squeezing every possible keyword on a single page.
The keyword density is also essential in SEO success. There must be a balance between using the keywords often enough and using them too frequently. The lack of a sufficient keyword density may hurt the site’s performance in searches, while a high density may get the site penalized by the search engine for poor quality content.
The most popular tools in keyword research are listed below. All of these services are paid, except Google’s Keyword Planner. They allow researching for keywords and provide various statistics, such as average monthly searches and the difficulty of the keyword market :
- Google‘s AdWords Keyword Tool – now replaced by Keyword Planner
- Wordtracker‘s Keyword Demand
- Moz Keyword Analysis
- Raven Tools Research Central
- Advanced Web Ranking
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, that is defined as an assembly of techniques, tools and strategies used by webmasters in order to increase the number of visitors to a website by attaining a high ranking position in the search results pages of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.
The technique is focused on obtaining traffic from ‘organic‘ aka non-paid listings on search engine’s results pages. The paid search ads displayed at the top of the Google search results page, for example, don’t count as organic listings.
The SEO techniques are built around the mechanism used by search engines to evaluate and rank results displayed for a specific search, as well as the preferences of the end-user.
Every search engine uses an algorithm in order to evaluate the relevance of a website to the search query of an end-user. This algorithm computes various factors such as keywords, structure, reputation and allocates a ranking that is reflected in the position of a website in the search results page for a specific keyword.
Webmasters are interested in improving their websites so that the content is relevant, of high quality and most importantly, easily accessible and pertinent to the subject for search engine crawlers.
The web crawlers are Internet bots that regularly visit websites and make copies of them for the purpose of web indexing. Every search engine is storing an up-to-date version of every website and depending on the content and its pertinence, displays is as a search result listing.
SEO includes a wide range of activities and tactics that target both on-page optimizations, as well as off–page enhancements.
The keywords used in the text displayed on the website are of crucial importance, as they help the search engine fit the content in a larger context and determine the topic of the website.
The structure of the site is also essential in making the website crawler-friendly and enabling the search engine to browse and process the content.
The marketing side of the SEO is also very relevant and it involves promoting the website on social media and through classic marketing methods in order to increase the visitor flow.
Another important element of search engine optimization is increasing the number of backlinks for a website. When another site includes a link in their pages, it is considered by the search engine as a recommendation, and therefore increases the reputation of the site being linked and its position on the search results page.
The methods employed in SEO are varied and can be divided into white hat, black hat and even gray hat SEO, depending on the integrity of the tactics applied.
The white hat techniques focus on optimizing the website through quality content and backlinks acquired through performance and pertinence and not in exchange for pecuniary rewards. The results gained using white hat methods are long-term and not as immediate as the ones achieved through less wholesome methods.
On the other hand, black hat techniques may provide fast results and substantial improvement, but in most cases, are short lived.