Search engine marketing is a unique set of standards that apply to virtually any website vying for a top spot within the search engine results pages, or SERPS. These standards have been developed and refined over the past several years, and given the name SEO, or search engine optimization. Anyone involved in Internet marketing is no stranger to SEO but many don’t understand exactly what it entails. To be sure, the techniques used by the best SEOs are effective and help websites climb the proverbial ladder of success by strategically applying accepted strategies designed to take an average website and make it successful. Just how this is done is fodder for many SEO conversations.
With the outside chance that you don’t know what SEO is, I’ll explain the highlights in the coming paragraphs so you will have a basic understanding.
Highlights of SEO
In its most basic form, SEO is the practice of optimizing a website’s content in order to increase the site’s visibility and popularity. Provided this is done correctly, the website’s position in the SERPS will likely move up, eventually landing on the coveted first page. Depending on the market a particular website is competing within, a first page listing might happen in a few weeks, several months or not at all. This uncertainty is one of the reasons why SEOs constantly monitor competing websites, their positions, their keywords, popularity and overall statistics. As you can imagine, this can get quite involved, but the payoff can mean sustainable and profitable website success.
Optimize so your readers can find you
With the seemingly weekly search engine algorithm updates, SEO techniques are forever evolving to keep up with the changes. Many SEOs complain that it’s hard keeping up, but the reasons for the changes are intended to make search results more effective, while removing the players who constantly bombard the Internet with garbage that no one wants to read. Myself for one, I applaud the changes because I know eventually all the search engines will finally present up-to-date, relevant information in their results.
Optimizing your content for your readers should be your highest priority because only your readers ultimately determine your success. Having said that, always write and create for your readers first. Your site’s first page position in the SERPS will happen if you’re consistent in your content delivery and remember to please your readers first.
It’s still about the keywords and phrases
Please, don’t get overly concerned about keywords, but they are still important for one good reason. The search engines need something to reference your site by. Keywords tell the engines what your site is about and that leads to proper indexing. This includes related keywords, which happen to be more important because they provide a better idea to the search engine spiders what your site is about.
Meta tags are out
Your site’s meta tags once were more important than its keywords. Not anymore, so don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. None of the search engines regard Meta as anything more than text taking up space. In the “old” days of the Internet if there is such a thing, Meta info was crammed into pages and the early search engines used Meta tags to index a website. Many webmasters made a lot of money by exploiting this fact. Since then, the engines have wised up and no longer pay attention. Neither should you.
The search engines look for related keywords and phrases containing them
LSI or latent semantic indexing is the latest catch-phrase in SEO today. It’s the words related to your keywords that make up LSIs. The reason LSIs are important is because they help the search enygine spiders determine what your site is about based on how the keywords relate to the other words used in your content. As you can see, search engines have evolved greatly over the years. So, you’ll want to optimize your content accordingly.