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What is Search Engine Optimization?

Last Updated: 01-Feb-2010

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be defined as the process of altering the content or structure of your web site so that it ranks higher in the pages of search engine results while a specific key word is being searched. The higher the website gets ranked the greater the probability of the site being visited.
How does Search engines work?
The search engine runs a "spider" through all the web pages traveling through the hyperlinks between the sites and going through the content and collecting information on each page and prepares an index. The spider then returns the information to the search engine. Now, when a particular key word is searched, the search engine displays only those pages which the spider thinks match the key words the most.
Why is SEO necessary?
Most people arrive at a website after conducting a search. Therefore, SEO becomes necessary because your site is unlikely to have any visitors unless it gets shown on the results page, letting people know about its existence.
Good SEO practices
Search engine optimization is not just about having spiders crawling your web site but also about making the viewer spend time on your web site preferring it to several others that also came up in the search.
The SEO process can be started by constructing a nicely structured web site using good design practices. In addition to that, some other ways of making a web site friendlier to search engines are:
Title Tag
The title of your web page is of primary importance to the search engine and it should be precise and brief. Most search engines consider very long titles as spam, so the use of conjunctions and definite articles should be minimized in the title. The company's name followed by a few words about your services would make an ideal title.
Meta data
Putting keywords in meta data plays a key role in search engine optimization.
However, having an attractive meta tag 'description' is more important as it appears as the description in the search results page. The description should be kept precise, informative and appealing to capture the attention of the visitors thereby motivating them to visit your web site.
Copy (main text)
The following points must be kept in mind before writing the content for your web site:
  • The site should be free from grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and should have a readable font with good use of color and graphics.
  • The content must be presented in an interesting way to hold the attention of the visitor.
  • Paragraphs should be short and crisp and words per line should be around 10 to keep viewers focused on the web site.
Another rule is to adjust your web site's layout in such a way that more important phrases are found at the beginning of the page as search engines consider words at the beginning of the page to be of greater importance than the ones found towards the end.
The easiest way to get a high page rank is to have several web sites providing a link back to your site. The number of pages linking to your website is considered a recommendation by search engines. Some search engines like Google give more weight to links from popular and respectable sites. This can be done by trading links with other web sites thus earning your web site a higher ranking and adding some traffic to your site.
Once these guidelines are followed the web site should have a both a good layout and decent rankings on search engines. This will help in attracting your target audience and also be helpful in motivating the visitors to perform the actions to help achieve your marketing goals.
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