Why should I care about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Why should I care about SEO?

You’ve heard the phrase “Location, location, location!” and its importance when shopping for business real estate. The same applies to the placement of your website on search engine result pages. According to research, the higher your site is listed as a search result, the more traffic you’re going to get.

Quality traffic means increased revenue and more publicity. Search engine traffic can lead to an organization’s success or failure.

The goal of SEO is to land your website in the top few pages of search engine’s results page. This is not easy. It takes a lot of time and constant tweaking to increase your search engine rankings.

To assist you with the process, Search Engine Visibility guides you through optimizing your website for search engine inclusion. Search Engine Visibility analyzes your site by applying various rules based on what search engines see when they visit your site. Search Engine Visibility reports the results of the analysis, and suggests measures you can take to improve the optimization of your site.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving internal and external aspects of a website, or Web page, to increase its organic visibility for search engines. SEO involves editing the website’s HTML code and content to make it more search engine friendly, and then promoting the site to increase its relevance on the Web.

Once search engines are alerted to your website’s presence, they scan the code and content of your site and index the information. Search engines analyze the website content to determine when and where your website displays on a search-engine result page.

The page content (text displaying on a Web page) should be inviting, comprehensive, and — within reasonable limits — contain as many of the site’s keywords as possible.

Some search engines, including Google®, pay particular attention to the number of websites linking to your website when determining the importance and ranking of your site. These external links are called back links.

 

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About some Key SEO Terms

ALT Tags — If your browser cannot display an image from a website, then the ALT tag displays the description of the image as text. ALT image tags also make it possible for the visually impaired to understand the images on your website. The ALT tag should be only a few words describing the content of the image. ALT tags contribute to the keyword count on the Web page. So, using relevant images with appropriate ALT tags can increase the overall keyword count on your page.

Backlinks — Links to your page from other sites on the Internet are called backlinks. Search engines use links to indicate general popularity. Search engines take into account where the link is coming from, which page it’s pointing to, and what the actual text of the link says.

Black Hat — In SEO, black hat SEO refers to using deceptive techniques to fool search engines into ranking a site higher than it deserves. These techniques are usually short lived. Search engines are constantly updating their ranking algorithms to eliminate the effectiveness of black hat practices. Search engines ban sites that use black hat techniques.

Hidden Content — This is another technique common among black hat SEO. This practice involves placing content on a Web page that is hidden to normal Web viewers, and is only visible to search engines. The hidden content artificially increases search result rankings. Search engines have gotten very good at detecting these type of techniques. Using hidden content can cause your site to be penalized, including exclusion from search results.

Keywords — Chosen words and phrases that describe what your Web page is about. These keywords are the actual terms people search for in the search engines that relate to your web site. Once you identify the keywords, they should be placed in the Keywords meta tag.

Link Bait — Content that is posted to a web site with a controversial or inflammatory title or content, that is intended only to draw links and traffic. Most of the time this is used as a derogatory term for content that has no value except to get people angry or excited enough to link to or visit the content.

Link Farm — This is another black hat SEO technique. It involves setting up multiple sites whose main purpose is to contain links to other sites. This technique tries to take advantage of the relative importance search engines place on links. Changes to search engine algorithms have been made to detect and devalue these sort of links, rendering them useless from a ranking perspective.

Meta Tags — Contains data that describes your page to other systems, such as search engines or RSS feed readers. This information about your Web page is invisible to the typical user. Some of the common meta tags from a search engine standpoint include keywords, description, and title tags.

PageRank — This is a proprietary measure used by Google to indicate how much authority a page has, based on incoming links (backlinks) from other sites on the Internet. The outwardly-visible PageRank number that Google exposes through its tools no longer has much real-life bearing on rankings. However, it’s still well known and some people mistakenly focus on this number to improve on their search results rankings.

Pay Per Click (PPC) — Sponsored listings on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). These links are contained in a different colored background on Google. These links are not actual search results, but instead are paid listings. The search engines are paid every time people click on these links. While they are paid listings, relevance may still play a part in how high on the page these listings show up. Running some PPC ads can be a good supplement to an SEO campaign.

Redirect — This is a command that a web server can give to a web browser (or search engine) to tell the requestor that the content has been moved. There are different types of redirect, meaning different things such as Moved Temporarily (302) and Moved Permanently (301). When you move content on your site, you need to check with your server administrator to make sure that the old pages are redirected to the new location using a Moved Permanently (301) code.

Robots file — This is an optional file that you include on the root of your web site (in the main domain name, not in a sub-folder). This file contains suggestions to the search engines including which pages you would not like the engines to include in their index, which pages you would like them to index, and the location of your sitemap file. This file is also used to block search engines entirely.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — This refers to the process of making your web site more accessible to search engines. This can include optimizing the text content of your site to include proper keywords, optimizing the code structure of your site itself, and finding ways to attract incoming links to your page.

Search Engine Result Page (SERP) — The page on which the search engine displays the results of a visitor’s search.

Sitemap — This is a file that lists the pages on your site, along with each page’s relative importance. This optional file can help search engines find all of your site’s pages. You would use this file during search engine submission.

Spider — A spider is a virtual browser program search engines run to crawl through the links on the Internet and compile information about the pages they find to index and rank the content.

Submission — Most search engines have a form you can use or a Web service you can call to submit your website to them. This is nothing more than letting the search engines know that your website is up and active so that they can add your site to your list of pages to index. Submission does not guarantee search engine listing or ranking. Those factors are decided entirely on the individual search engine ranking algorithms.

About Spiders and Internal Links

What Are Spiders and Internal Links?

Spiders — automatic programs used by Internet search engines to regularly crawl the World Wide Web — look for websites and other content to add to the search engines’ databases. They follow the hyperlinks that connect websites on the Internet.

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Search Engine Visibility provides several options for you to help search engine spiders and crawlers in navigating your site with ease. Spiders are crippled when they have no links to follow. If your website has broken or no internal links a spider will likely not go beyond the first link. If your site contains external links, the spider might follow those and leave the site behind.

If, however, all the Web pages on your site are linked to each other with functional hyperlinks, a visiting spider is able to visit every nook and cranny of the site.

HTTP vs. HTTPS – Help search engines see your site as secure

HTTP, or hypertext transfer protocol, is the way a Web server communicates with browsers like Internet Explorer® and Mozilla Firefox®. HTTP lets visitors view a site and send information back to the Web server.

HTTPS, hypertext transfer protocol secure, is HTTP through a secured connection. Communications through an HTTPS server are encrypted by a secure certificate known as an SSL. The encryption prevents third-parties from eavesdropping on communications to and from the server.

An SSL certificate keeps you and your customers safe by protecting the information that’s flowing to and from your website. It encrypts names, addresses, passwords, account and credit card numbers and more so hackers and other online criminals can’t read them.

improving your site’s ranking by External Links

What is SEO, and why is it important?

If you want people to find your site, you need to get it listed with search engines. SEO is the process of making your website more “friendly” for search engines, which helps them categorize it and display it in relevant search results. Optimizing your site can improve its organic search result ranking, making your business easier to find when potential customers search for products and services related to your business.

Spiders representing the Internet’s search engines regularly crawl the World Wide Web to look for websites and other content to add to the search engines’ databases. They follow the hyperlinks that connect websites on the Internet.

When analyzing your site’s external links to websites, search engines will attempt to determine the relative importance of the originating sites. This means that if an originating site offers similar or related content to the one it is pointing to, the link will receive a higher rating than if the content was entirely unrelated. As well, an originating site may be ranked based on the links that are pointing to it, and hence the importance of those links.

You can improve your site’s ranking by linking to relative and highly-ranked quality sites.

Note: In some cases, owning a premium keyword domain name can increase click-through rates on ads, SERP listings and improve your site’s ranking.

Do I need Rich Snippets for my website?

A rich snippet is HTML code that is placed on web pages that ‘marks up’ the page to provide Google and other search engines with explicit pieces of information about the theme and content of any given page. This snippet code isn’t necessarily visible on a page viewed in a browser. They sit in the HTML code ‘behind’ the page content. When used correctly, the contents of your rich snippets appear in the search results along with the title and description of the page.

It can be difficult to set yourself apart from the rest of the world when it comes to your search engine ranking. Incorporating rich snippet code into your website gives your search results a unique look, and shows the relative content from your site right in the search results. This can increase click-thru rates dramatically.

Rich Snippets are small previews of relevant information on your website that display in the search results when someone does a search. Rich snippets tell the search engines more about your website and what content you have on your pages. When the search engines return a list of relevant results, your rich snippet information will appear and give them a preview of what they can expect to see on your site.

Here are a few examples of rich snippets and what they display:

  1. Authorship — Displays the author’s name, picture, and a link to more articles written by them.
  2. Local Business — Displays address and phone number of your business.
  3. Events — Displays time, title, and location of your event in search results.
  4. Video search — Displays a thumbnail preview of your video in search results.

By adding rich snippets to your website, you are helping search engines deliver more relevant results and making your results stand out. When viewing search results, a visitor can instantly see why your website was included.

Adding rich snippet code to your website increases traffic and lowers bounce rates because visitors already know what to expect when they reach your website. It’s a great way to set yourself apart on the search results and increase traffic to your website.

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Search Engines and Internal Links

Spiders representing the Internet’s search engines regularly crawl the World Wide Web to look for websites and other content to add to the search engines’ databases. They follow the hyperlinks that connect websites on the Internet.

Due to their very nature, spiders are crippled when they have no links to follow. If your website has broken or no internal links a spider will likely not go beyond the first link. If your site contains external links, the spider might follow those and leave the site behind.

If, however, all the Web pages on your site are linked to each other with functional hyperlinks, a visiting spider is able to visit every nook and cranny of the site.

Search Engine Visibility provides several options for you to assist search engine spiders and crawlers in navigating your site with ease. Having working links throughout your site is essential to successful search engine optimization.

Tip: Register the right keywords domain names to get your website discovered on search engines so more customers can get to your door.

 

Don’t Do It!

What is SEO, and why is it important?

If you want people to find your site, you need to get it listed with search engines. SEO is the process of making your website more “friendly” for search engines, which helps them categorize it and display it in relevant search results. Optimizing your site can improve its organic search result ranking, making your business easier to find when potential customers search for products and services related to your business.

Don’t Do It!

Search engines have become very important to the way people use the Web. Of course that means there’s a lot of value to getting in front of all of those millions of potential visitors.

Unfortunately, some people try to manipulate search results, create spam, and try to game the system to make money.

Search engines, however, are very good at detecting and penalizing sites that employ manipulative techniques.

Here are examples of things you should not try to do:

  • Keyword Stuffing — Keyword stuffing refers to identifying valuable search terms, and then shoving those search terms into your content or meta keywords tag as many times as possible, even when the keyword has no relevance to the content of the site.
  • Hidden Content — Hidden content is the technique of displaying content to the search engines that the users don’t see, such as additional keyword phrases. Typically examples include using CSS to display the content way off the viewable area of the page, hiding the displayed content with CSS, or displaying the content in the same color as the background (ie: white text on white background).
  • Link Farms — The importance of links has prompted people to swap links with as many sites as they can find, including sites that are not relevant. Some webmasters create multiple sites of low-value content exclusively for the purposes of interlinking those pages.
  • Buying Links — Some people pay for links on other sites just to try and raise their search engine scores. This method is different than a sponsored link, or an advertisement, as they usually try and pay for these links to display in online content like natural links without any labeling that the link was paid for.
  • Make Pages Just for Search Engines — Some people get so wrapped up in the search engines that they forget all about their users. If a page is over-engineered for the search engines, to the point that it loses value for the users, the users are not going to want to spend much time on your page. Even if they land on your site, they’ll go elsewhere for their business.

What’s the worst that can happen?

The search engines have a lot of very smart people and have gotten very good at detecting and penalizing sites that use manipulative techniques, like those outlined above. Don’t try to outsmart the search engines. In some cases your site can disappear from the search engines for months, if not years, depending on the severity of the offense. The best advice is to stay within Google’s webmaster guidelines and build your SEO strategy around sound principles, like having great content and proper meta tags. Remember, the search engine doesn’t have to rank you for anything!

Note: We offer cheap domain registration, domain hosting, email services…plus Search Engine Visibility to promote your business on Google®, Yahoo!®, and Bing® to increase traffic and get more customers.

How Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo…)Read Your Page Content

Drive more customers to your website

Today, most people use the Internet when shopping for products and services – make sure those customers can easily find you. Use Search Engine Visibility to increase your search rankings, and bring more traffic to your website.

Search engines do not see Web pages like you do. They cannot process images, and translate them into content. Search engines crawl your website by reading the code created with HTML, ASP, PHP and other code languages. A page made up mostly of images displays mostly blank to a search engine.

Sometimes, what you see as text on a page isn’t really text. Some people create Web page designs in an image editor program and instead of recreating the design as code, they simply post their image to look like HTML.

This is what your Web page might look like to you:

actualsite

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The problem is, a picture of text isn’t actual text, it is just a picture. And it isn’t visible to the search engine. All a search engine can see is a blank spot where the image is. Here’s how a search engine might see your site:

A similar problem exists for audio and video, as well as Flash® animations. (Flash is a plugin that runs animated content in a website that users can often interact with.) Some highly interactive pages that are completely created in Flash can be practically invisible to search engines.

Having a page on your site with lots of images, or with a lot of flash animations, can be fine depending on your target customer. Image gallery sites obviously want to showcase their images, for example. However, it is not search-engine friendly. So if your business model depends on being found by the search engines, you should think about including a few pages with descriptive text (such as “about” pages or even adding a business weblog to your site). This makes it much easier for the search engines to find and rank your site. Adding text descriptions to images (using alt text attribute) for such sites helps as well.

Web Marketing – How Search Engines See the Web

Drive more customers to your website

Today, most people use the Internet when shopping for products and services – make sure those customers can easily find you. Use Search Engine Visibility to increase your search rankings, and bring more traffic to your website.

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Search engines have developed a lot of sophisticated techniques for weighting and valuing pages on the Web. But they all come down to basically two categories:

  • What does your Web page say?
    The actual text content of your Web page and HTML code. What content does your site convey to the user?
  • Who is linking to you?
    What sort of other Web pages are linking to yours? Do they have the same topic or a related topic?

Content

When you look at a Web page, you see the page displayed on your computer screen. You can read the text, look at the images, and figure out what that page is about.

Search engines don’t see Web pages the same way a person does. In fact, search engines cannot actually see at all, at least not visually. Instead, they read the HTML code of the Web page, and the actual text that it contains.

All the search engines can read is text. They also can look at the HTML code (which is also text) of the site to try and get some clues about what that text means or which text is most important.

Search engines can sometimes use the HTML code to get some clues about other elements on the page, such as images and animation. For example, search engines can look at an image tag and read the alt text attribute, if the page author supplied it, to get an idea of what the image is.

img src="cowpicture.jpg" alt="Picture of a cow"
However, this is not a replacement for actual text content.

Links

Web links from other sites are also important clues that search engines use to figure out what your page is about, or how important your page is for a particular search query. In a search engine’s view, a link from one page to another is basically a “vote” for that page.

If you have a page about cows, and a local farmer’s Web page links to your page from their website for more information on the topic of cows, that is an extra vote for your page.

More links = more votes.

Not all votes are equal votes, however. Most important is how relevant the link is. For example, a link from a page about video poker software doesn’t have much to do with dairy products or cows, so a link from that page to your website about cows does not count for very much at all, if anything.

Some Web page owners put a lot of time and effort into chasing down links from other Web page authors, swapping links or trying to get listed on directories or have articles posted to sites like Digg or Reddit. This can be helpful for your site, but you have to remember to focus on your own page content first. If your Web page doesn’t have much value to other site authors, they are unlikely to link to it.

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