Search Engine Optimization November 14th, 2008
Inevitably, no matter where I am; whether it be at a dinner gathering, a public event, or even a party, once people find out what I do, I get the same question; “How do I get ranked high in search engines?”
I have written this article with the above question in mind. To seasoned SEO strategists, this article is going to be rather elementary. Next time I get asked how sites get ranked high on search engines I will pull out a business card with this URL on it and say, “Next topic!”
So for Tom at the dinner party I was at last week, for the man with the black hat I met in the bank line the week before, for that cute girl I met in the shopping line on Monday and Eric my Toronto based hair stylist; (ok, no male should have a hair stylist, I meant barber!) here is how search engines decide where to rank your website.
There are two main factors;
On page SEO relates to anything you can do to your existing website to make it more readable by search engines.
Search engines care about content. After all, information is the lifeblood of the internet. The goal of your content is to keep it uniquely your own, and not do anything with your website code to prohibit search engines from reading that content.
Some good examples;
Sounds fairly straight forward right? Yes! Probably because it is. Remember; there is no 'voodoo' magic in getting your site ranked. Sites like Google simply want you to extend the courtesy of making your content easy for them to read so that they can go through it easily and determine how relevant the content is when people do a search.
– Site map – Search engines love it when you have a page on your site which tells them all of the pages they should expect to crawl. This is called a Site Map
There are many more elements, but I don’t want this SEO primer to get boring for you. To wrap up ‘on page’ SEO, in most cases all search engines want you to do is not make it difficult for them to extract the text on your page. Once you are sure you have clean code, just try to forget about search engines and write your content for the visitor.
To read a more in depth article about search engine optimization I recommend reading this article.
Off page SEO relates to all the things you can do to make your website more popular on the ‘world wide web’ to ensure more websites link to your web site.
In a perfect world, you will have something on your website which is interesting enough that people will reference it on their own website. But how do you get it noticed in the first place?
It takes effort. Essentially, off page SEO can become much like online public relations. Here are some things you can do;
Remember, in the end ‘Off Page’ SEO is about getting fresh eyes on your website and ensuring you have something compelling to those users that will make them want to link to your website.
To learn more about what Google looks for I suggest reading the Google webmaster guidelines.
The purpose of this article was to give an overview of ‘Organic Optimization’. There is obviously some far more detailed concepts that can drill down much further then I have here. The purpose of this article is to satisfy the person that wants to understand the basics that search engines look for in getting your site ranked high. By understanding these very basic concepts in this article you should now have an understanding of the concept behind effective search engine optimization.
If I met you at a party, or if you are someone I met in a line somewhere, I hope this has answered your question. Sorry if I made you go to all of the trouble of going to this page, but I hope you understand why it isn’t fun to repeat the above over and over. This should save me a good hour per week from now on. 🙂