Website Optimization Articles

Search Engine Optimization - What is it and why do you need it?

With all the talk about the importance of optimizing your small business website, what does it all mean?

SEO is basically the process of refining certain factors of a website, both internally (such as the code and copy) and externally (such as incoming links) with the goal of achieving higher search engine rankings for specific keywords. The goal of obtaining higher rankings is derived from human nature: we're impatient creatures. Internet searchers are used to finding the information they are looking for in the top two to three pages of their favorite search engine. If you website ranks 350,000 out of a possible 4.1 million pages, the chances of getting that particular surfer into your website is slim to none.  

SEO or SEM - Free vs Paid

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is part of search engine marketing (SEM) as a whole, which also includes paying for advertisements or click-throughs (when someone visits your site from another). What sets SEO apart of SEM is that, aside from the cost of making the changes in the first place, it is totally free. SEO works to get natural, unpaid or "organic" search results. By optimizing your website to rank higher in the search engines, you have a better chance of getting this "free" traffic. Rather than paying each time someone views or clicks on the advertisement, thousands of people can see your page in the results for their search, and visit your site without costing you a dime. 

Has anyone ever told you you're one in a million?

The problem is nobody has the time or patience to go beyond the first few pages of listings to find what they're looking for. With thousands or even millions of web pages competing for the same search term, the top ten get up to 95% of the traffic, while the rest sit on the sidelines wondering why nobody comes to visit their dark little corner of cyber space. That's where SEO comes in. A search engine optimizer's job is to get the pages on your website ranked as highly as possible for a predetermined set of key words. 

White Hat vs Black Hat

There are generally two types of search engine optimization. White hat optimization is your follow-the-rules type of optimization that will help your site over time and won't get you banned from the search engines. White hat search optimization utilizes design techniques, key phrase usage that is optimal for search engine spiders and inbound linking strategies. There isn't any deception going on, just a straight forward attempt to increase web traffic. 

Black hat SEO on the other hand, is used by many unscrupulous internet marketers to trick the search engine spiders into ranking their sites high for their chosed search terms. They utilize cloaking, hidden text, site redirection and many other tricks to get their sites ranked high quickly before their URL's get "blacklisted" by the search engines. These entrepreneurs may have many sites listed at any time, and the main purpose of the sites is to draw traffic in and obtain click through revenues from paid advertisers. 

For more information about Search Engine Optimization and how it can benefit your small business website, please contact us.