As defined in Wikipedia, “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume of quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (organic” or “algorithmic”) search results”. It is a method of altering a website in such a way that its contents become highly relevant for both search engines and searchers and it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines.
There are certain basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that help significantly in driving traffic to your website. SEO activities can be categorized as On page Optimization and Off page Optimization methods. Let us take a look at each.
(1) On Page Search Engine Optimization
Do Keyword Analysis & Use Appropriate Keywords
Using the right keywords can make your SEO activities a great success. Keywords are used in web content, meta tags, SEO articles and other suitable places while doing SEO of a website. It is the keywords that are used by your searchers; and search engines too look for keywords apart from other things while returning search results. Search engines robots “spiders” scan your web content for keywords. Hence, it is important to first do keyword analysis to shortlist relevant keywords. For this you can use various tools like Google Keyword tool, Wordtracker and others. You can also think of keywords on your own.
According to search engines the first and the last paragraph of body text must contain important keywords. So, you should position your keywords in the first and last paragraph of the body of the text while doing on page Search Engine Optimization. You can use suitable group of keywords on web pages for best results.
Create Keyword Rich Title Tags
Each page of your website should have a descriptive, keyword-rich title tag.
The title tag code is The title text will come here. and it is placed in the HEAD section of the HTML code i.e. at the very top of the HTML document. The title should be free of filler words like “the”, “and” etc., to the extent possible, while still making it readable and meaningful. Whenever your page is listed in search engine listings, the page title will appear hyper linked on the search engines listings. By making the title a little catchy, you can entice searchers to click on it and hence visit your website. You have to keep in mind that in the search engines listings, this title is your website identity. Hence each web page of your website must have a search engine friendly, relevant and catchy Title tag of about 70 characters.
Meta Description Tag
Meta Description tag is equally important as the Title tag. The code for this HTML tag is <META NAME=”Description” CONTENT=”The description text will come here.”>. This tag is placed after the Title tag and the text from this tag is used to display the short description of the web page when it appears in the search listings. Each web page must have about 150-200 characters meta description tag explaining what the web page is all about. The maximum number of characters of Meta Tag should never exceed 250 characters. Like the Title tag, this tag too must be catchy and must have a marketing tone.Featuring keyword in your Meta title and description more than twice could be perceived as “keyword spamming”. Google reads static, text contents, so it relies on Meta tags to figure out what the page is about when it comes across flash or graphic-intensive web-pages.
Include Keywords in Content
It is very important to use keywords in your web content suitably. Don’t overdo them as it is considered spamming. Making a keyword in the web content a hyperlink will give an added advantage. Making them Bold or using them in text headings and sub headings are also considered significant by search engines. Therefore, it must be ensured while doing on page optimization that the headings must contain the desired keywords and phrases. You can use keywords in H1, H2 and H3 tags so that search engines get more clues about your website theme.
The syntax for Heading Tag is The text/ keyword must come here. Just replace H1 with H2 or H3 depending in the tag you want.
Creating a Site map
Having a site map is very significant part of search engine optimization. A site map is a list of all pages on the website linking each page name to its page. It strengthens the internal linking of the website and guides the search engine spiders too. It also helps the users significantly to find the required sections, especially if the site is very large. There are free tools available to create XML site maps that are used by major search engines to index the web-pages accurately. One such free tool is at http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/. You can upload your site map to your website and submit your XML site map to Google, MSN (now Bing), Yahoo, etc. You can submit your XML site map to Google by signing in to your Google Webmaster account and adding your site map URL.
Use descriptive keywords in ALT Attribute of Image Tags
Alt tag is an alternate text of image that describes it. It is a label that is displayed on image mouse over. These tags also help make your website more accessible to the site-impaired visitors, you can include descriptive keywords in the ALT Attribute of Image Tags. For image searches, the ALT attribute do help to get your images ranked higher. Further you can include your important keywords and key phrases in alt tag for added advantage.
Create Search-Engine-Friendly Navigation
Java Script and Flash are not read by search engines very well. Therefore, care must be taken to supplement Java Script and Flash menus with regular HTML links at the bottom of the page to ensure that a chain of hyperlinks exists that takes a search engine spider from your home page to every page in your site. Navigation system using HTML frames should not be used as it can cause severe indexing problems. HTML frames helps web developers to present HTML document in multiple views i.e. independent windows or sub windows. Using HTML frames, multiple HTML documents can open in same browser window.
(2) Off Page Search Engine Optimization Activities
Link building is one of the most important off page optimization activities that help in improving website rankings significantly.
When you attain a link pointing towards your website from other sites, it is considered as a vote for your website. Google which is a major search engine, takes into account the number of incoming links to your website also called “link popularity”. Google takes into account both the quantity and quality of incoming links, page content, etc while assigning Page Rank. Compared to the links from lower traffic sites, the links from trusted and popular sites creates great impact in ranking higher.
For link building, you can find websites similar to your topical contents and request for a reciprocal link to your site. For this purpose, you need to add an additional Links or resources page where you can add links of websites that agree to add your web link in return. This is called reciprocal linking. Some softwares like seoelite and Ibp have automated feature which would search related websites and ask for back links.
Submission of your website to search engines and directories
Submitting your website manually to various key search engines and directories is another important off page optimization activity that helps your site rank higher and divert traffic to your site. Search engine submissions must be done once all on page optimization activities are done. This will help in indexing of your website by the search engine it is submitted to. Each search engine has a search engine submission page where you can add your website URL and click Submit or Add URL button whatever is given. For example, you can submit your website to Google at http://www.google.com/addurl/.
A directory on the other hand is a hierarchical listing of sites sorted category-wise and sub category-wise. There are some free directories while others are paid directories. Links from good directories helps a lot. Each search engine directory has a submission form where you need to enter your website title, description and URL. For example, http://www.seo-sources.com/submit.php.
SEO Article Writing & Submissions
This is one of the best, most effective and most important off page optimization activity. In this, you need to write informative articles using relevant keywords. Once you write such articles, you need to search for article directories where you can submit these articles and add links pointing tow your website. This way you not only improve web presence of your website but also benefit from back links. Similarly, you can also do blog postings and Press Release writing and submission. Some popular article submission websites are EzineArticles.com, Articlesbase.com and many more. See the list of best 30 article directories on the net. Visit rentacoder or scriptlance to get hold of some professional writers and post a project on to their site for free.
Press Release Writing and Submission
Press releases are a great way to enhance online visibility of a website. They enhance the credibility of the company or website significantly. A press release can be written on any newsworthy topic like launch of new site, introduction of new products/services, discount offers, awards, etc. Try and use some relevant keywords in the press release. Once it is written you can submit it to popular PR submission websites like Prlog.com and many more. Like articles PRs also help in attaining back links.
Social networking and Social Media Optimization
Social networking and social media optimization is yet another kind of off page optimization activities for website promotion that is being frequently and popularly used nowadays. There are basically four ways of social networking, such as, blogs, social networking sites, social bookmarking sites and forums. Although distinction between all these social networking tend to blur and at times overlap each other, yet social media helps promote your website by driving direct traffic, generating awareness and producing links to your site.
Create a Business Blog
If you create a business blog on your website and host on your own domain with excellent content and regular industry comments, it is of immense help in increasing your site’s “PageRank”. The basic thing in business blog is it should be consistent and there should be valuable content postings. This can be time consuming and require lot of dedicated efforts.Join Social Media Communities
As an online search engine optimization strategy, you can join some online communities for business like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You can place a link to your website in your profile. This not only helps you attain link but also increases web presence. Also when other people mention you, link to you or bookmark you, it greatly increases your website Page Rank. You can also be active in social bookmarking communities where members share with each other information regarding websites, articles or news items of their choices. The bookmarking communities include Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon and Google Bookmarks. Spiders of search engine scroll over these sites searching for new and relevant links.