What is SEO

In a fair world, those websites with the highest-quality content would be ranked as the best sites, and they would receive the most traffic. But the Web doesn’t work that way. While actual page content is important, it isn’t the only determining factor. There are ways, fair and unfair, to manipulate search engines to get better results. This is the art of SEO or Search Engine Optimization. It is getting more traffic to your website by helping it do better in search engine return pages or SERP.

How Search Engines Work

To understand SEO, we need to know how search engines work. When a search engine explores your website, it isn’t a human being doing it. It’s a computer program called a web crawler, robot or spider. The web crawler will scan a page and add it to its database. If a keyword is requested in a search, it will return those pages that are relevant to that keyword. The results are sorted according to relevance and page popularity. Now how can the web crawler judge which are the most relevant pages? It relies on a set of rules programmed into it by human programmers. For example, it may judge by keyword density or how often that keyword occurs in the page; or it may judge by link popularity – the number and quality of inbound links to that page.

Search Engine Optimization takes these rules and grafts web page design around them. By designing your website in such a way that you (hopefully) get higher page ranking, you’re telling the machine: “Hey, this website has high quality content so give it a good ranking in your SERPs.”

White Hat and Black Hat SEO Techniques

Basic “good” or white hat SEO techniques focus on keywords and their proper use. You need to know the popular terms for your website topic. For this you can use keyword suggestion tools and your own familiarity with the topic. For a topic about SEO, possible search terms may include “what is SEO,” “search engine optimization,” “how to get more traffic,” etc.

These keywords must then be placed in strategic areas, typically the page title, headers, links and the article body. A general keyword such as “Search Engine Optimization” should be balanced with more specific phrases such as “do I need SEO” and “what is SEO” if you hope to stand out from millions of other pages.

Search engines also have what’s called link analysis. If you can get quality links to your site, you better its chances of getting more traffic. You can get links through word of mouth, article submission to e-zines, social networking and advertising.

Avoid black hat techniques, as they will only lead to a bad reputation, suspension by search engines, bad karma or worse. Such techniques include keyword overuse or keyword stuffing, link farming or buying paid links, and duplication of identical pages. It would earn only short-term success at best, and at worst can get your site banned. Most successful websites have found success using pure white hat techniques and hard work. There’s no reason why you can’t do the same.

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