SEO Downtown - Search Engine Optimization
SEO Downtown describes the principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that help get free traffic to your website.
I heard the president of a very large media group make the following statement at a ground-breaking ceremony: "A newspaper [building] belongs downtown in every city in America." The statement shocked me, particularly since I was in charge of several multimillion dollar budgets to build some of those buildings. What shocked me in particular was the full realization of its meaning. A meaning that went way beyond location. Being downtown meant belonging to the city; it meant identifying with your customers; it meant branding your voice as the voice of the city.
"Your website belongs downtown." It belongs on the first page of a search engine's search results.
Keyword Research: But how does a search engine find your website? First, someone has to search for something related to your site by typing a few words on their favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Metacrawler, Ask.com, etc.). We refer to those words as "keywords." 'Optimizing' your website means making it easy for a search engine to see the 'relevance' of at least one page in your site to the keywords being typed.
You can also optimize the profitability of your website by selecting specific keywords in your niche. Profitable keywords are those for which people search most often and/or those for which there is little competition.
Once you have decided on your keywords, you can select the most profitable ones and match them to your web pages (or create web pages for them). Different pages in your website should ideally be optimized for different keywords for maximum benefit. Internal SEO optimization consists of creating relevant content for that keyword. A search engine determines relevance by looking at file names, meta tags, page descriptions, headings, and perhaps the number of times the keyword is used in relationship to the number of words on the page (keyword density).
Search Engine Optimization: However, search engines, such as Google, use a variety of criteria to decide who gets placed on the first page of the search results. It is not enough for your pages to be keyword optimized. Search engines may not refer you to their customers unless your website itself has references. For example, a headhunters reputation depends on the quality of the leads he generates for employers. He has to interview you and then, he has to check your references before he refers you.
Search engines do the same. They look at your website and, if they are impressed, they go looking for your "references," that is, links on other websites pointing back to you and recommending your site to their visitors. A search engine regularly 'spiders' or 'crawls' the web looking at sites and recording all their outgoing and incoming links. Just like an application for employment puts more value on business references than on personal references, so also the search engines look for quality links coming from sites related to yours. Knowing how to find and create those quality links is also part of search engine optimization.
What is SEO and how does it work?
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