How to Get Your Web Site Found
Search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, encompasses a variety of strategies used to improve the visibility of a web site to search engines. If you want your site to be found by people using search engines such as Google or Bing, SEO needs to be done on it. After all, there is no point having a great looking web site if nobody can find it!
SEO can be divided into two different parts. The first part, on-site optimisation, deals with making the web site accessible to search engines so they can discover what content it contains. Off-site optimisation is the second piece of the SEO process, and involves building links to a site to enable it to rank highly in Google and other search engines.
When implementing SEO on a web site, one must firstly ensure that it can be crawled by search engine robots. These robots crawl the web going from web page to web page via links. Once a robot finds a page, its next task is to parse the site code and determine what the site is about. For example, it will read the title and meta tags of a web page and store this information in large search engine data centres, so they can be called on for a search query.
On-site optimisation also means ensuring that the content of a web site can be seen by search engine robots. Only HTML text form can be read by search engines. Images, Flash files, Java applets and other non-text content are virtually invisible to search engine robots.
Another important factor to consider, is the architecture of the web site. As mentioned previously, search engine robots find web pages via links. Therefore, to ensure that all the pages of your web site are found and indexed by the search engine robots, the internal linking structure of your site needs to ensure that any page on the site is no more than 3 or 4 clicks away from the home page. Anymore than that makes the internal pages of a site difficult for the robots to find and crawl.
Building links to a web site makes up a large chunk of what an SEO professional does in their day to day work. Links are important as they are a major factor which Google and other search engines use, to determine the importance of a site.
Search engines use an algorithm to determine the relevancy of a site for a specific search query. A large part of the algorithm is the number and quality of back links a site has. For example, lets say we have two web sites, site A and site B, and they are both trying to rank highly in Google for the same search term, lets say ‘blue widgets’. All other factors being equal, if site A has 10 back links and site B has 1000 back links, site B will appear higher up in the search results than A would.
This is because search engines see back links to a site as votes or recommendations of that site. Therefore the more links pointing to a web site, the more important it is from a search engines point of view. And because search engines want to give the user the best possible site for a specific query, they will show site B for the query ‘blue widgets’ before site A.
These days, off-site optimisation is no longer simply a case of building loads of links to a web site. Links have to be relevant to the site they are pointing to, and be from sites that are trusted and have authority in the eyes on the search engines. Link building is a far more complex topic than I can go into here, but the bottom line is this – if you want to rank well for specific search queries, you need to build links to your site.
Compared with web design, SEO is still a relatively new area, but it is becoming increasingly important. Ten years ago, when the world wide web was still in its infancy, it was enough for an online business to simply have a web site. However to survive in today’s web, competition is a lot tougher, and if your site doesn’t use good SEO tactics, you will never get found and nobody will really know that your web site exists.
Share your thoughts with us and do not forget to subscribe our RSS so you do not miss our valuable articles.