Organic SEOCut Through The Fog
Photo: Carol Harper Stout
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Search Engine Optimization
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is probably the most misunderstood and confusing aspect of web development. On the other hand, it also plays a vital role in the overall success of a website.
Search engines build an index of web pages much like a book is indexed. Just imagine trying to locate a specific word or phrase in a book without the aid of an index. Same goes for the online world. You look in the index (in this case, Google, Bing or Yahoo) for a term or phrase and you’re presented with a list of web pages containing the items you searched for. SEO techniques are used to try and get your web page closer to the top of the pile of pages presented as a result of a search.
People are lazy creatures and having your web page in the top 2 or 3 positions of the pile almost ensures a visit to your website which is what this is all about. If your web page is on the 3rd or 4th page of the pile, the chances of getting much traffic on your website is reduced significantly.
SEO comes in a couple of variations; Paid and Organic. Paid SEO is basically advertising and different from what we want to focus on which is Organic SEO. (this is also known as “White Hat SEO”)
If you bring up the term with business owners, the usual reaction is a groan or a frown. Here’s the problem, SEO is a complex subject AND there is so much misinformation about it. On top of that, there are all kinds of people out there who claim to be “SEO experts” and are promising to get your website ranked at the top of Google. One of the tactics we see a lot is directed at newly registered websites. You get an email that introduces the individual and proceeds to tell you they noticed your website is missing some crucial things that are keeping it from ranking very well. They tell you they can make your website rank right up there at the top of the search rankings. You should be wary of anyone who makes promises like that – in fact, RUN. All these things make for a whole lot of confusion and frustration. Let’s cut through the fog.
Why is Organic SEO so confusing?
The 3 main search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) all utilize different algorithms to deliver their search results. Not only are they different but they are evolving almost constantly so it takes some effort to keep up with them.
You would think it should be easy – create a website, put it on the internet and you’re done. People will flock to it cause it’s a pretty great website, right? Wrong! It’s really tough to get a brand new website to show up in the search engines. The emphasis these days is on links. The rationale is that if there are a lot of quality websites linking to your site, then you must have a worthwhile website and you’ll start getting noticed.
Copywriting plays a big part too. Making sure your content is written in the most advantageous manner to your intended search “audience” is almost an art in itself.
Something else that affects your ranking is the search terms you are trying to rank for. Too Generic and you’ll be competing will millions of other websites. Too specific and people may never search for that search term. You need to evaluate your demographics, products, search terms, location to come up with the right search terms. That may have to be repeated many times in order to get your rank to move.
Where To Begin
The foundation of any serious SEO effort should begin with research of the business or organization that will reap the benefits (or absorb the failures) of the SEO. Much of the headlines about SEO center around link building but even the best network of links will fail if the links point back to an inferior web design.
Your Ranking Matters
That’s right. Your position in searches matters. An increase in your rank can mean a corresponding increase in your business. Organic SEO is the best way to move up in the rankings.