Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Explained
What actually is search engine optimization? There is confusion in the minds of
many, as evidenced by the varied approaches seen within any cross-section of web
sites. A lack of understanding is apparent on the part of many web designers
whose design techniques ensure that search engines cannot penetrate to any
SEO is the art of clarification, with a clear emphasis on the principle that
"form follows function." Thus, it is semantic, pedantic, and language-orientated
rather than a marvel of technical wizardry. The bottom line is that it does not
matter how good your site looks, if no one can find it.
Many designers obsess on form, building sites that serve as monuments to their
creative genius. In an ideal world a site would be designed to fulfill its "function"
of attracting clients and making sales, and its "form" would be a supporting element
in an overall strategy aimed at achieving a "return on investment" for their clients.
SEO is a Moving Target In the past two years the major search engines have
developed a habit of revising their relevancy ranking algorithms, amending
listing options, changing alliances, altering customer base, changing names and
content sources, not to mention buying and selling each other.
There are several immutable laws that, if adhered to, will ensure your site
prospers, and delivers the elusive ROI. The goal is generation of "qualified
traffic" - defined as those who come to you because they want what you offer,
and not by accident.
The Two Approaches to Traffic Generation
The two approaches to raising the profile of a web site, SEO and PPC, are quite
complimentary. Because it is difficult to optimize a site for a very wide range
of keyword phrases, PPC marketing can greatly extend your reach. Optimize your
site for the major keyword terms, and use PPC to target less obvious, lower
volume keyword search terms.
First and foremost in generating traffic is site optimization which, after the
initial outlay, generates "free" traffic from search engines based on your ranking
for particular search terms. This is the "Content is King" approach, and requires
us to persuade the search engine that we have the content most relevant to the search.
Volume and organization is important, and we must ensure that search engines can
index all supporting content.
This may approach may be chosen when you are quite prepared to pay to ensure people
find your site, sometimes because itís cheaper than rebuilding it! You "bid" for
sponsored listing placement, and pay each time a visitor clicks on a "sponsored
link" on a search engine and goes through to view your site.