Introduction To SEO
I do not claim to be a guru as far as SEO is concerned. I do have several pages that get a significant portion of their traffic from search engines. This is more due to the specialized nature of the sites than conscious planning on my part. There are a few basics of SEO that one hears over and over so I will pass those on to you. There are whole books written on the subject, whole websites that are dedicated to SEO and businesses that offer SEO as their primary service.
What is SEO?
So what is this mysterious SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. That is the things that you need to do to insure that the search engines index your pages and give them a high page rank. With a high page rank your page will list closer to the top of the search results. The ultimate goal of SEO is to have your page show as the first search entry for important key words. Most are happy if their page shows up on the first page of search results.
One of the merchants of whom I am an affiliate recently sent a group of SEO tips that were specific to their product. This is a synopsis of the information provided to me. I have reprinted the full text that I received HERE. The list does cover most of the basics of SEO so it is worth the read.
Some SEO Tips
An Ongoing Process
SEO must be an ongoing process. Most sites can benefit from some optimization. The criteria also evolve over time so it must be an ongoing process. Most of this boils down to content and presentation in one form or another. The search engines index the content and people that search are interested in good information on their search subject.
Fresh Original Content
The search engines like fresh original content. You need to keep adding content to your site to keep it fresh. You can keep adding articles to your site on a regular basis. If you are displaying products it will be better to add some of your own words or paraphrase the text that is supplied than to just copy and paste content into your site. If you add a few comments the content will not be the same as many other places on the web and will probably rank higher than the others because of this.
Short , Focused, Targeted Articles
It is generally better to have shortish focused articles than major epistles, both from the search engine's perspective and from your readers perspective. Unless your visitor is specifically interested in your subject matter they may go on to the next site rather than wade through a long article. Search engines want to show the most relevant results, so a short focused article rich in keywords that relate to the subject will rate higher.
Make proper use of headings and image alt tags. The search spider does not see your beautiful picture so you need to use an alt tag that will give a reasonable short description of the image. When thinking about an alt tag think about how you would get the point across to a blind person. Headings of various levels are identified in the underlying code, so the search spiders will recognize that you give higher weight to your headings.
Another area that counts in SEO are quality external links linking back to your site. There are programs for link exchange that will give you a lot of external links quickly. Unfortunately, most of these links will not have the quality that will make them good external links. The best links are from quality related external sites. If you are careful not to spam you can post on related forums and comment on related blogs to get some external links. This means that any comment on a blog and any forum post must add directly to the topic of the forum or blog.
Keep up with the latest optimization tips
All of the major search engines have a page or section that suggests ways to ensure good placement or avoid bad placement. They will not be too specific because that could skew search results, but they will all provide some general guidelines. These are certainly worth checking out, and return often to check for changes.