by Andrew Lisa
If you’re an Internet entrepreneur, website owner, or tech startup owner and SEO isn’t part of your marketing plan, you’re behind the curve. Search engine optimization, or SEO, works on one basic principle: People are likely to find your webpage through a search engine, and the lower down your webpage ranks, the less likely it is that anyone will see it.
If you have an online presence, you need at least a basic SEO strategy.
How it Works
Search engines work hard to give the highest rankings to meaningful, authoritative pages that the person searching is likely to find useful. By analyzing each webpage, the engines can provide the best match to the group of keywords the searcher entered.
The engines scan your page for meta data, keywords, page title, links, and other factors to determine how legitimate or authoritative your page is. By optimizing these factors to jive with search engines’ protocols, you can increase your chances of being highly ranked when someone searches for subject matter relevant to that which appears on your site.
It Doesn’t Take Much
Comprehensive SEO can completely restructure webpages to conform to an overall SEO strategy, but that’s major surgery you probably don’t need.
First thing’s first: Search for your website. Don’t do it by name; do it by subject the way you would if you were actually searching. If you run a store called Vinny’s Vinyl that sells secondhand records in Toledo, search “secondhand records Toledo” and see where Vinny’s comes up. If it’s in the top three, great! You’re well optimized. If it’s down too low, go through the text on your main page and see how many times the words “secondhand,” “records,” and “Toledo” appear and in what order. Behind good content, keywords are the secret to good SEO.
White Hat, Black Hat
Due to unethical strategies employed by unscrupulous webpage designers, often called black hat SEO, search engines have gotten wise to spammers trying to get undeserving pages ranked higher up.
Ethical, professional strategies, called white hat SEO, have the goal of getting their pages ranked high and keeping them there as opposed to squeezing as much as you can out of a temporarily high ranking before getting noticed and banned. White hat SEO provides compelling content; legitimate, non-spam links; helpful information; and relevant keywords that don’t try to disguise, hide, or “stuff” irrelevant keywords or metadata on a page where it doesn’t belong.
How high you rank in search engines has everything to do with your business’s success.
Good content is the backbone of strong SEO. If you have interesting, compelling content and relevant, well-written text, you’re well on your way to being ranked where you belong. SEO can not and should not attempt to disguise bad pages as good pages. It merely gives a boost to pages that already are worth a click for someone searching your subject.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about web marketing and business reputation management.