Search Engine Optimization | SEO

Search Engine Optimization | SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a is a set of methodologies aimed at improving the visibility of a website in search engine results through manipulations in a website’s code, structure, and content.  Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing use complex ranking algorithms that analyze websites and ultimately give a website a ranking for specific search terms.  These ranking algorithms have changed as the internet has matured and will continue to become more complex in the future to provide internet users with the most relevant results according to their search.  The most recent changes to search engine algorithms is to return current and unique content to users.

Content is King When It Comes To Search Engine Optimization

Search engine algorithms have become very intricate and these days it seems that relevant content is the number one way to get your site to the top.  Writing content that includes highly searched keyword phrases, that are relevant to the topic of the site, will tend to increase a site’s traffic better than old methods such as hidden text within a site.  Updating content often and adding new content to a site frequently will improve search engine rankings tremendously.

Search Engine Optimization and YouTube

Video marketing is a great way to not only relate to your customers, but also possesses some tremendous SEO value as well.  YouTube SEO is very strong, especially since YouTube is owned by Google.  Videos tend to rank well in Google quickly. Since more people would rather watch videos than read text, creating a video marketing plan that optimizes the YouTube SEO benefits is a very wise choice.

Search Engine Optimization and PPC

Marketing using search engine optimization strategies has become more and more popular as people have begun spending more time on the internet.  Paid search, also known as PPC (pay per click), can return great results, but it can be very costly.  One recent report shows that U.S. companies spent over $14 Billion on PPC advertising in 2010.  Search engine optimization on the other hand is much less expensive, even free, compared to PPC and provides ‘organic’ traffic to a website through the results returned from a search of certain keywords.  Search engine optimization can be carried out in-house or outsourced through a company that knows of the most up to date and effective practices.

Search Engine Optimization and Keywords

Here are excerpts of an interesting interview between Google’s own Matt Cutts and Karon Thackston of SiteProNews that reveals some basic tips on how to obtain SEO on your blog site:

In Google’s Own Words

KARON: I’ve been noticing a trend over the last couple of years (maybe longer) as far as SEO copywriting goes. It seems the pages that are ranking well are not always using the keyphrases as-is, but are using the individual words within the keyphrases separately. For instance, instead of always using “blue suede shoes,” the page will also use “blue” and “suede” and “shoes” individually.

Can you confirm and/or comment on whether keyphrases always need to be used in their original form and if it helps or hurts to also use the words within the phrase?

MATT: Keyphrases don’t have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonym work so that we can find good pages that don’t happen to use the same words as the user typed.

In general, though, if the words are on the web page (not in a spammy way, of course), that makes our job easier because we don’t have to rely on synonym matches to find good documents.

KARON: Has proximity of the keywords on the page also gone by the wayside? And, while we’re on the topic, is it still best practice to include keywords in certain locations on the page?
For instance:

1. Headline
2. Subheads
3. Alt tags
4. Anchor text link

MATT: People can overdo it to the point that we consider it keyword stuffing, and it hurts. I would just make sure you do it in natural ways where regular people aren’t going to find it stiff or artificial. That tends to be what works best.

KARON: So, then, you’re saying perhaps put the original keyphrase on the page once or twice (to help Google out), and then just use the individual words within the phrase throughout the rest of the copy? If so, that’s what I’ve been suggesting for years.

In light of all the recent changes with Google, would using the keyphrase numerous times (which is what everybody has gotten used to doing over time) hurt the page’s ability to rank? I’m not talking about the infamous keyword density. For years most people have been taught that you do keyword research to find what people are searching for, and then you use those phrases (provided they are relevant) within your copy, within anchor text links, etc., etc. Still true or…?

MATT: Correct, as long as it’s done naturally, not artificially or in a spammy way.

As I’ve always said, “Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines.” It’s just not necessary. The next time you write a new page of copy, test this approach to writing for the engines and see if you get as good (or better) results than before. I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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