The Basics of Search Engine Optimisation
I am sure that it will surprise some people to hear me say that Search Engine Optimization isn't rocket science! Although it can feel complicated at times the aim is simply to ensure that your website is presented in the way search engines like and ultimately that your visitors will like!
At the end of the day Search Engines always try to give users whatever they can find that is relevant to their search. You need to appreciate that the majority of Search Engines don't work by moving the good stuff towards the top. What they do instead is to try to push the bad stuff towards the bottom, and hope that what's good will 'float up'. It is a frequently repeated truth that Content is King and good content which is well written and which is sprinkled with the appropriate keywords can get you good search engine rankings. This not only brings visitors to your site but also feeds the search engine spiders and crawlers. It is impossible to emphasise enough how well written and relevant content is key to good SEO.
One of the fast way to develop good content is to generate a series of articles regarding your topic. These items are very powerful in the world of SEO because they provide your visitors with something to read and they allow you to feature in the Search Engine results for some key words that you normally wouldn't. Let's say you are managing a website for Genealogists. A well written article about using a particular genealogy tool is more likely to generate a high position in the search results for "genealogy tools" than your home page. Therefore, if you write articles relevant to your subject but in more depth than you can put on your home page, you will find that you will benefit enormously.
Take a look at the sites that currently rank high on the search engines for your keywords or indeed for any keywords and you will generally find that they have simple designs with graphics that use minimal bandwidth, and they are generally easy to navigate. Simple, clean designs are what both search engine crawlers and search engine users like, as it lets them get the content they want without a lot of peripheral "fluff". This is what you should be aiming to achieve with your website.
Of course some websites will be ranked highly in search engines, even though their designs make them difficult to read and navigate. If the content of a site is relevant to what people are searching for then that's all that matters to a search engine. However, it's preferable to have a site that is user friendly and easy to navigate if you want to encourage return visitors.
Let's think about meta tags, keywords, descriptions, and titles. These are all important elements, even if they are not what will make or break your site. Whilst important they are just one part of your strategy. These elements need to be compelling and sprinkled with your keywords, as this will entice users to click through from the search results page to your website. It's best to start off slowly, gradually adding things in as you learn.
If you have any questions and you don't know where to go, then check out some of the forums on the subject. To do this you just need to go to your favourite search engine and do a search for 'seo forum'. The people on these forums are generally more than happy to answer your questions, or direct you to someone who can answer your question if they can't. Remember to be patient with yourself: learning something new takes time and effort, and SEO is no different.
Paul Duxbury is a UK based successful online entrepreneur. Invaluable advice on creating successful websites can be found at
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