How To Understand the Basics of SEO

Ever since Google introduced its PageRank algorithm to the world, it has been a race among online marketers in getting to the top result or even at least the front page in queries relevant to their website's topic. And so the search engine optimization, or SEO, industry was conceived. SEO is basically doing on-site and off-site work on a website that give it higher ranking and higher visibility on the search engines.

SEO has many facets. You have to look into both on-site and off-site optimization. And it's not only tweaking HTML code, server settings and the like. Sometimes SEO also involves some social engineering and social networking. Here's how to learn more:

On-site SEO.

On-site SEO involves making tweaks and edits to your website's code in order to highlight the most relevant content, and to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site. This includes the following concepts.

  • Use of proper <meta> and <title> tags and use of Header tags. Searches rely on relevant keywords that can be found in a webpage's TITLE, META tags and headers like H1, H2, H3 and so forth. While this is not always the top place to look for keywords, the contents of the <title> attribute are what appear on Google search result pages (or SERPs), and so this is what attracts the users to click.
  • Use of a sitemap. Most websites contain multiple pages and sub-pages. It's always helpful to provide an XML sitemap accessible to Google, so that it can properly index even those pages that are buried beneath other pages.
  • Use of text-readable content. The mistake of many web designers and developers is that they use multimedia too much, but fail to provide text captions and descriptions. Google is not able to index images and flash animation that are not properly tagged or captioned.
  • Use of proper information structure. Google views information on the top of a webpage as more important than info on the bottom. So make sure that the relevant text on your website appears at the top, and not near the bottom. It's also best if you separate your content from the layout with the use of CSS rather than old-fashioned tables and frames.

Off-site optimization.

Meanwhile, optimizing your site from external sources essentially involves being in good link neighborhoods. Google's PageRank computes for your website's quality in terms of inbound links.

  • Inbound links. One basic means of improving SEO would be to have your site linked to from as many external sites as possible. However, Google does not only count the raw number of links. The quality of the inbound links is the bigger metric here. The higher the PageRank of a site or page that links to your website, the better.
  • Link neighborhoods. With search engines, it's not only the inbound links that matter, but also the link neighborhoods that your website is in. Therefore you should be more discerning with the outbound links that your website links to. If you link to sites that are considered bad by the search engines, such as pornographic sites, spammy sites and sites that distribute malware, your site will most likely be penalized.

SEO is a mix of art and science. Because search engine algorithms are ever-changing, the means and methodologies of doing SEO will also vary through time. But the basic and essential things include the on-site and off-site optimizations detailed by the financier.


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