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ARE YOU PUZZLED ABOUT SEO? What about the businesses who offer to get your website ranked highly with search engines? After seeing an abundance of ads for SEO specialists, I was beginning to wonder if there were some new tricks of the trade. We all know that web-technology changes rapidly and there have been adjustments to the method used by Google, Yahoo, Ask, and Bing, to foil spamming keywords, while supplying appropriate results to a search string. However, these services operate on some basic principles that you can employ on your site to achieve good search engine placement.   Article Heading Image

Search-portals provide an index to the evolving encyclopedia of information known as the world-wide-web. You need not be concerned whether or not your website will be indexed by search-engines. It may be surprising to learn that all web-pages of all websites are indexed by the search-sites. Their robots are constantly updating previously indexed pages and adding new ones as they become available online. There are also data-mining businesses that will archive versions of websites over time, which means more than everything on the web is available to searchers. The search objective is to have your information found and enable people to find what they are looking for specifically.

You can experiment to see how results differ between search-sites by searching for the same text string. Given a level playing field indexed results should be in alphabetical order, but the results are based on individual search-site criteria that assigns priority to supply index listings. In general there are three major factors for ranking results; page content quality, page popularity/traffic, and the number of external links to that page.

Herein lies the single most challenging issue for search return placement. Like businesses have similar content and sales points. Large businesses have enough resources to pay for placement around the indexed hits, which is one fast solution to marketing websites, yet there are many businesses that cannot afford to do that. Google's Ad-Words offers a method to bolster traffic with their pay-per-click service, but that pits similar businesses against one another financially, and will still return a herd of results without guarantee that your site will be on the first page.

• Website ranking is a quick process
• SEO costs too much
• Search Engine Optimization is too technical to understand
• Once SEO has been done, it's done
• Buying SEO software will take care of my needs

In case I didn't mention it, content is the most import aspect of web-pages. Content includes; the html meta-data, page text, alternate descriptions for images, which together provide at least four ways to document things. There is no point repeating the same descriptions with the same word order for these containers, just as it is advantageous to offer more than one perspective on a subject. The deeper the content, the more authoritative the page becomes. Avoid getting bogged down in technical explanations that do not directly assist the visitor in making a decision. There is no legitimate way to fake authenticity for content. Strong, sensible, easy to comprehend writing will lend credibility and user satisfaction to your presentations, and critical to effective web design. Give people what they need and want relative to your specialty. Provide content that is compelling to your audience.

It is important to know that pure flash websites have significant SEO limitations. Basically content descriptions have to reside on the home page and cannot adequately cover the scope of a business as indexed by search-sites. As a flash site is navigated, the content will change, but it is not in a form that search-engines can catalog because it is one html document, so it is better to compose individual html pages if site rank and maximum exposure is your goal.

Although keywords meta-data may have a slight affect on page ranking, they are passe, and pointless if not directly related to page subject. Spamming keywords is a good way to ruin your site's reputation with search engines, Site analysis bots compare keywords to resident text on the same page for legitimacy. Adding keywords may work for alternate word order combinations, but unnecessary if page text is written in a thorough fashion.

Page popularity can strongly influence search-site ranking. The amount of traffic a page gets is another way of saying how popular it is. Highly visited pages are ranked highly regardless of presentation quality, and a good indication that people experience something that resonates with them nonetheless. Of course the better the presentation, the more likely that people will find it helpful and make it popular.

Another major consideration for page rank takes into account how many external links there are to a page, which is another way to evaluate that other people find it of value.

A generic search-string such as "auto insurance" will return over 84 million hits, which like many other two-word combinations leaves with too many choices to sift through. This article talks mostly about how to be found, but more sophisticated search techniques like "advanced search" will yield more accurate results. Adding a zip code to your search-string will return local results over global results. Placing quotes around a search-phrase will provide results for that exact combination of words on a web-page. With such a limited number of words in a given language, it is clear that searchers need to develop techniques for finding what they want more efficiently.

The essential purpose of a great web-page is to draw distinction to itself, so invest some energy into finding unique things about your business that separate it from the crowd. What is your unique-seller-advantage? Is there a unique product characteristic to focus on? Endorsements are also helpful particularly when they come from famous people. Good supporting graphics add excitement and best when they assist in illustrating a point, or bringing insight to text that will have less interest by itself.


– – Mark Smollin

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