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SEO is hard work. It takes much effort to optimize just the right elements of your web site so search engines will not only find you, but will also index your site so that it appears high in search query results. And all that effort must be attended to by you. There are currently no tools that will put all the elements of SEO in place for you. Instead, you have to build your web site with SEO in mind, choose all the right keywords, and use them in the right places and with the right balance on your site, determine if pay-per-click and paid-inclusion programs are for you, use the right meta tags in the right places, create great content, build and participate in communities, and add all the right links. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It is. But don’t let the amount of work overwhelm you. Consistent effort and the strategies included in this part of the post will have you working toward your SEO goals in no time. Each of the post contains an explanation of how these elements affect SEO, and how you can create and implement strategies to help you leverage that element to reach your SEO goals.

Building Your Site for SEO

So here is our first strategy that should be made regarding SEO. Search engine optimization is a collection of strategies that improves the level at which your web site is ranked in the results returned when a user searches for a keyword or phrase. By now, that’s a definition you should be pretty familiar with. What you probably don’t know (yet) is how to achieve SEO. You can’t do it all at once. Instead, SEO has to happen in stages. If you try to implement too many strategies at one time, two things are going to happen:

■ You won’t be able to tell which of your strategies are successful. Implementing one strategy at a time makes it possible for you to pinpoint which strategies are working and which are not.

■ When you try to implement too many strategies at one time, your efforts— even the successful ones —could be lost in the shuffle. It’s like changing a recipe in multiple ways at once. Even if you like the result, you won’t know which addition or deletion made the difference.

SEO is most successful when you concentrate on one effort at a time. A great place to start is on the way your site is built. One of the first things that attracts a search engine crawler is the actual design of your site. Tags, links, navigational structure, and content are just a few of the elements that catch a crawler’s attention.

Before You Build Your Site

One of the most common misconceptions about SEO is that it is implemented after a web site has been built. It can be, but it’s much harder to be successful when your site isn’t built on a solid SEO foundation. A better option is to consider SEO before you begin to build your web site, if that’s possible. It may not be; but if that’s the case, you can still implement SEO strategies in the design of your site — it will just require a lot more work than building it in at the beginning.

Know your target

Before you even start contemplating how to build your web site, you should know in what types of search engines it’s most important for your site to be ranked. Search engines are divided into several types beyond the primary, secondary, and targeted search engines that you learned about in previous posts. Search engine types are also determined by how information is entered into the index or catalog that’s used to return search results. The three types of search engines are as follows:

Crawler-based engines: Up until this point, the search engines discussed fall largely into this category. A crawler-based search engine (such as Google) uses an automated software agent (called a crawler) to visit, read, and index web sites. All the information collected by the crawler is returned to a central repository—a process called indexing. It is from this index that search engine results are pulled. Crawler-based search engines revisit web pages periodically in a time frame determined by the search engine administrator.

Human-powered engines: Human-powered search engines rely on people to submit the information that is indexed and later returned as search results. Sometimes human-powered search engines are called directories. Yahoo! is a good example of what, at one time, was a human-powered search engine. Yahoo! started as a favorites list belonging to two people who needed an easier way to share their favorite web sites. Over time, Yahoo! took on a life of its own. It’s no longer completely human controlled. Newer search engines such as Mahalo (www.mahalo.com) and Cuil (www.cuil.com) are entirely human powered, however, and this is creating a buzz on the Web. Human-powered search engines add an element of personalization to search that fits in with the current social nature of the Web.

Hybrid engines: A hybrid search engine, as you might guess, is not entirely populated by a web crawler or by human submission. It is a combination of the two. In a hybrid engine, people can manually submit their web sites for inclusion in search results, but there is also a web crawler that monitors the Web for sites to include. Many search engines today fall into the hybrid category to at least some degree. Although the majority are populated mostly by crawlers, others offer some method by which people can enter their web site information. It’s important to understand these distinctions because how your site ends up indexed by a
search engine may have some bearing on when it is indexed.

For example, fully automated search engines that use web crawlers might index your site weeks (or even months) before a human-powered search engine. The reason is obvious: The web crawler is an automated application. The human-powered search engine may actually require that all entries be reviewed for accuracy before a site is included in search results, and that takes time. In any case, the accuracy of search engine results varies according to the search query that is used. For example, entries in a human-powered search engine might be more technically accurate, but the search query that is used will determine whether the desired results are returned.

Page elements

Another facet of SEO to consider before you build your web site is the elements needed to ensure that your site is properly indexed by a search engine. Each search engine places different importance on different page elements. For example, Google is a very keyword-driven search engine, but it also looks at site popularity and the tags and links on any given page.
How well your site performs in a search engine is determined by how the elements of your page meet the engine’s search criteria. Every search engine looks for the following main criteria:

■ Text (meaning keywords)
■ Tags—both HTML and meta tags
■ Links
■ Popularity

Text is one of the most important elements of any web site. Of particular importance are the keywords within the text on a page, where those keywords appear, and how often they appear. This is why keyword marketing has become such a large industry in a relatively short time. Your keywords make all the difference when a search engine indexes your site and then serves it up in search results.

Keywords must match the words and phrases that potential visitors will use when searching for your site (or for the topic or product that’s listed on your site). To ensure that your keywords are effective, you’ll need to spend some time learning which keywords work best for your site. That means doing keyword research and testing the keywords that you do select to see how effective they really are.

In search engine optimization, two kinds of tags are important on your web site: meta tags and HTML tags. Technically, meta tags are HTML tags; they just appear in very specific places. The two most important meta tags are the keyword tag and the description tag.

The keyword tag occurs at the point where you list the keywords that apply to your web site. A keyword tag on a search engine optimization page might look something like this:

<meta name="keywords" content="SEO, search engine optimization, page rank">

The description tag provides a short description of your page. Such a tag for the search engine optimization page might look like this:

<meta name="description" content="The ultimate guide to search engine optimization!">

Not all search engines take meta tags into consideration because in the past, these tags have been overloaded with keywords that were irrelevant or inaccurate. For that reason, your site should use both meta tags and other HTML tags. Some of the other HTML tags that you should include on your web site are the title tag, the top (or H1) heading tags, and the anchor tags.

The title tag is the tag that’s used in the title of your web site. This tag will appear like the
<Title>Your Title Here</Title>

Once you’ve tagged your site with a title tag, when a user pulls the site up, the title that you entered will appear in the reverse bar at the very top of the page if the user is using an Internet Explorer (IE) browser earlier than IE7. 

High-level headings (H1s) are also important when a crawler examines your web site. Your keywords should appear in your H1 headings and in the HTML tags you use to create those headings. An H1 tag might look like this:

<h1>High-Level Heading</h1>

Anchor tags, also called anchor text, are used to create links to other pages. An anchor tag can point users to another web page, a file on the Web, or even an image or sound file. You’re probably most familiar with the anchor tags used to create links to other web sites. Here’s what an anchor tag might look like:

<a href="http://www.targetwebsite.com/">Text for link</a>

A link tag is combined with the anchor tag. That link can be text-based, and that text is where search engine optimization comes into play. How many times have you seen a web site that includes text with underlined words, all of which are related to the topic covered on the site? Those links are tagged for optimization. When a search engine crawler examines your web pages.

What’s important about anchor text is that it enables you to get double mileage from your keywords. When a search engine crawler reads the anchor text on your site, it sees the links that are embedded in the text. Those links tell the crawler what your site is all about, so if you’re using your keywords in your anchor text (and you should be), then you’re going to be hitting both the keyword ranking and the anchor text ranking for the keywords that you’ve selected. Of course, there are always exceptions. In fact, everything in SEO has exceptions, and with anchor text the exception is that you can overoptimize your site, which might cause search engines to reduce your ranking or even block you from the search results altogether. Overoptimization occurs when all the anchor text on your web site is exactly the same as your keywords, but there is no variation or use of related terminology in the anchor text.

The other half of anchor text is the links that are actually embedded in the keywords and phrases used on the web page. Those links are equally as important as the text to which they are anchored. The crawler will follow the links as part of crawling your site. If they lead to related web sites, your ranking will be higher than if the links lead to completely unrelated web sites.

These links can also lead to other pages within your own web site, as you may have seen anchor text in blog entries do. The blog writer uses anchor text, containing keywords, to link back to previous posts or articles elsewhere on the site.
One other place that you may find anchor text is in your site map. Naming your pages using keywords when possible helps improve your site rankings. Then to have those page names (which are keywords) on your site map is another way to boost your rankings, and thus your traffic.

A site map is a representation of your site with each page listed as a name linked to that page. Anchor text seems completely unrelated to keywords, but in fact it’s very closely related. When used properly in combination with your keywords, your anchor text can help you achieve a much higher search engine ranking.


To be of value, the links on your web pages must be related to the content of the page, and they must be active links to real web sites. Broken links can lower your search engine ranking. Links have always been an important factor in how web sites rank on the Web, but the abuse of linking that we see so often today started just a few years ago, about the time that Google became the big name in search. When links became a ranking criterion, many black-hat SEOs began building link farms, which are sites that are nothing more than pages full of links designed to gain high search engine rankings.

It didn’t take long for search engine administrators to figure out this sneaky optimization trick, so they changed the criteria by which links are ranked. Now link farms are fairly ineffective, but links on your web site are still important. Links show an interactivity with the community (other sites on the Web), which points to the legitimacy of your web site. Links aren’t the only, or even the highest, ranking criteria, but they are important all the same.

One other consideration, even before you build your site, is the site’s popularity. Many search engines include a criterion for the number of times users click on web sites that are returned in search results. The more often the site is selected from the search results, the higher in the ranking it climbs. For you, that means you should begin building the popularity of your site even before it goes live. Begin building buzz about the site through advertisements, info-torials, and even newsletters or other e-mail announcements. Then redouble those efforts as soon as the site goes live to the public. Social media — services such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace — are another way to build buzz about a site, but there’s a fine art to working within the community structure of social media.

Sometimes, SEO can seem like a conundrum. You optimize your web site for search engines in order to build popularity, but your ranking in the search engine can be determined by how popular your site is. There is no magic formula to help you solve the riddle of which comes first, popularity or SEO, so both have to happen together. The one certainty is that it requires time and consistent effort to draw visitors to your site.

Other criteria to consider

In addition to those four main elements you should plan to include on your site, there are a few others. For example, the body text on your web site will be examined by the crawler that indexes your site. Body text should contain enough keywords to gain the attention of the crawler, but not so many that it seems like the site is being stuffed with such words.

Alternative tags for pictures and links are also important. These are the tags that might appear as a brief description of a picture or graphic on a web site that fails to display properly. The alternative tags — called alt tags — display a text description of the graphic or picture, so that even if the actual image doesn’t appear, there’s some explanation of what should be there. Alt tags are a good place to include additional keywords.
Most users will never see your alt tags. They appear to screen readers that persons with sight disabilities may use, and they appear when a graphic image won’t load on a page. Sometimes this is a problem with the visitor’s Internet service; other times visitors intentionally turn off images to enable web pages to load faster.
Yet even if the majority of your visitors don’t see these tags, crawlers do — and the alt tag provides you with an additional place to use keywords that are important for establishing the subject of your web site, as well as for boosting your site’s recognition for those keywords.

Thanks For Reading....

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