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 internal content!
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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Explained

Part 1

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 internal content!

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.

Site Optimization

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.

Pay-Per-Click

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.

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