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What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

The Basics of SEO

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SEO or search engine optimization is a technique used to make your Web pages more useful for your customers while making them more transparent and understandable to search engines. SEO is an inexpensive way to help your Web site get more page views by creating Web pages that rank highly in search engine results.

SEO Basics

While there is no magic bullet for writing a Web page that will rank highly in search engines, there are a few things you can do to help your pages do better:

  1. Write strong content.
    If you focus on nothing else, you should focus on the content of your Web pages. Search engines want to provide links to relevant pages, and so they are constantly tuning their programs to read and review the content of Web pages to make sure that it really is about what you say it's about. Content is king on a Web page both for your readers and for search engines.
  2. Write valid HTML.
    Ironically, this is often one step in SEO that many Web developers forget - they focus so much on other aspects of SEO that they forget that simple things like valid HTML can help your pages get spidered much more than meta keywords and meta descriptions.
  3. Find good keyword phrases.
    What makes up a good keyword phrase can be tricky, but that is what you should be optimizing your page for. Don't try to come up with every keyword phrase possible. Instead, focus on one phrase that really captures what your page is about, and make sure that that phrase is repeated in the content, the headlines, and links within the page.
  4. Don't optimize your entire site.
    This may seem confusing, but many Web developers want to come up with one keyword phrase and optimize every page on the Web site for that phrase. While that makes your life a lot easier, it won't get any of the pages the exposure that you would otherwise want. Instead, focus on optimizing one page at a time - find the keyword phrase that works for that page, and optimize it. Then move on to the next page in your site. If you treat every page as a possible entry page on your Web site, your readers will have more ways to find the site.

Don't Give Up on SEO

SEO takes a long time to see results with. Even if you ask a search engine to spider your Web site or a specific page, it can take days for it to show up in the results. And if you're optimizing an existing Web page that's already in the search engine, it can take even longer for your changes to take effect.

Don't get discouraged by your rankings. Remember that unless you've chosen a very unpopular search term, it can be very hard to get a top 10 (first page) ranking in most search engines. Just keep trying - the results are worth the effort.

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