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Search Engine Optimization - SEO Strategies That Work

Aug 20, 2007
Search Engine Optimization is a method used by webmasters to achieve a better ranking in the search engine's listings for a particular website and its content pages. These methods are aimed particularly at benefiting from organic or crawler search engines. Organic searches are natural searches that don't involve pay-per-click advertising. Crawler search engines follow the links on a page from one web page to another, taking note of all the connections.

Unfortunately, SEO (search engine optimization) methods are often misunderstood and misused (even abused) by many Internet marketers. As a result, various SEO methods have come to be classified as either "white hat" (meaning that they are proper and legitimate approaches within the eyes of the search engines) or "black hat" (meaning that they are either deceptive or unethical or frowned upon by the search engines).

There are two primary arenas for search engine optimization: on page SEO and off page SEO. On page SEO generally includes providing good content for visitors, and the proper use of page titles, meta tags, header tags, text bolding, alt tags, keyword emphasis, and outbound links. Off page SEO generally includes such tactics as anchor text, article directories, link exchanges, and back links from site submissions, forum comments, and blog comments.

Let's take a quick look at some of these terms:

Page Titles: these are the words that appear in the upper left-hand corner of your browsers, in the blue bar at the top, that identify the website page you're currently on.

Meta Tags: these are tags inserted in your HTML header code that describe the subject matter of your webpage. There are two common meta tags, one for your keywords and one for a short description of the page. While Google tends to ignore these tags, other search engines will often give them added attention and use them in their descriptions of your webpages.

Header Tags: these are used to emphasize the importance of specific text within your content. They are generally used to highlight your keywords much in the same fashion as a newspaper highlights an article with a bold headline.

Text Bolding: once or twice in your content, if you use bold texting around your keyword, it's believed the search engines will give extra attention to those words.

Alt Tags: these are short descriptive words that are associated with an image on your page. For instance, if you have a web page about water skiing and there's a picture of a little girl water skiing behind a boat, you'll want to tag that photograph with a descriptive statement such as "Water Skiing Girl" that emphasizes your keyword "water skiing."

Anchor Text: these are the words that are emphasized in linking back to your web page. For instance, you could link back to your water skiing page with anchor text that simply states the URL of the page (let's say, http://yoursite.com/waterskiing.html) or you can push your keyword for that page and use "water skiing" as your anchor text.

All of these are legitimate approaches to search engine optimization, standard white hat approaches. At the end of the day, by using search engine optimization to help those visitors who come to your web page to quickly understand and interpret your content, you not only serve them better, you also make it easier for the search engines to send them your way. Relevance is the key to assuring the traffic that comes to your page is the right traffic that for that page.
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