Search Engine Optimization – Introduction
As more and more sites populate the World Wide Web, getting yours noticed (and read for that matter) becomes more and more of a challenge. It’s not so bad (though this is really a matter of opinion) if you don’t make your living out of it (i.e. it’s just a hobby site), but what if you do?
The field of ecommerce has become so competitive that when it comes to getting a search engine results page (SERP) listing, most companies only dream of landing in the top 5. After all, with the millions or billions of sites out there, even getting a listing in the top 10 pages would be an accomplishment! And if you land beyond that? Well.let me put it this way, would YOU even bother clicking beyond the top ten pages?
But how exactly do you get your site listed in those coveted pages? Three words (or letters) – Search Engine Optimization (or SEO).
Webopedia defines it as the “process of increasing the amount of visitors to a Web site by ranking high in the search results of a search engine.”
Actually, SEO could probably be more accurately referred to as search engine placement / positioning because the end goal is to get as high a position in a search results page as possible. Obviously, the higher your site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that it will be visited by a user. More traffic, of course, means a higher probability of making a sale.
But wait, getting traffic is just half of the challenge.
Search engines use ‘spiders’ or ‘robots,’ to index your site, therefore, another challenge would be how to best present these robots with the ‘right’ information so it could determine your site’s value accurately.
Why is this important? Because people won’t buy from you even if your site lands in the top SERP if your products are not exactly what they’re looking for.
Of course, a more convenient way to get yourself a prime SERP listing would be to just hire yourself an SEO consultant. But what if you can’t afford one? And even if you can, you need to know enough to be able to weed out the ‘experts’ from those who have just enough SEO ‘knowledge’ to get your site banned from SE listings (i.e. what he/she consider search engine optimization might actually be search engine spamming).
‘Optimization,’ after all, does not mean that you should resort to ‘tricks’ so that engines place your site high in their rankings. As Jennifer Laycock emphasizes in her article SEO 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization, “the reality is that the engines eventually discover these tricks and add filters to their algorithms to catch the sites that employ them.”
A good, sound and solid SEO strategy should therefore:
1. give you a decent and long-term SERP position (and a good Page Rank to boot, but that’s another posting) so that
2. your site gets the (continuous) traffic that is
3. on-target (meaning those who are actually interested in/want what you sell/or write), so as to
4. result in more sales/readership/subscription.
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