How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

SEO Part 1: What Does SEO Stand For - How Does It Work?

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How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?





SEO Part 1 - What Does SEO Stand For?

SEO is the common abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization.  This is the art of building or changing your website so that it is likely to achieve high rankings in search engine results.  In other words making it search engine friendly.  Search Engine Optimization is a huge subject, and this is one of three pages covering the most important aspects of SEO. As this is part of an art related website some of the references are particular to artists, but the principles of SEO are exactly the same for any website about any subject. This page only covers one main aspect of SEO, so please ensure you read the other two in order to get a better understanding of how search engine optimization works.

How Does Search Engine optimization Work:
Why Is It So Important?

Whether you are an artist or in any other type of business, it is practically impossible to operate effectively without a website. Even if your website is just for fun or information, you still want people to see it, and if you attract a reasonable number of visitors, you can earn money from it whatever it is about. If you already have a site, or are planning to create one, you will need your website to show up in the search results when someone is using a search engine to find whatever it is your site relates to.  If it doesn’t, then you will either have no visitors, or have to pay for advertising in order to get visitors.

If you are an artist, for example, then unless you happen to be famous enough for everyone to search for you by name, you need your site to show up when people search for 'wildlife paintings', 'glass art', 'portraits in oils' or whatever other phrase your potential customers are likely to type into Google.

When I first set out to build a website, I knew nothing about how to create a site or how to get it to show up in search engine results.  My site now ranks inside the top ten out of over three million for my main keywords, but by building my site before finding out about search engine optimization, I ended up having to completely re-do most of my site each time I discovered a new piece of vital information.  For this reason, it is infinitely preferable to design your site from the start with an understanding of how search engine optimisation works.

It is said that if your site does not show up on the first three pages of Google search results it may as well not exist, and I have certainly found this to be true. My visitor numbers increased dramatically once I reached the top ten on Google. There is an enormous amount of rubbish on the web about magical ways to zoom straight to the top of the search engines. Please be aware that there are no great secrets that will achieve results overnight. There are some fundamental aspects of SEO which you cannot avoid addressing if you want to achieve high rankings, though there are various tools out there that can help to make the job less arduous and time consuming.

How Does Search Engine Optimization Work:
Lesson One - Content Is Everything

There tend to be two main approaches to SEO – one is known as 'black hat' and basically involves trying to fool the search engines into ranking your site high up by exploiting loopholes in the algorithm (the formula that search engines use to work out rankings).  The other is using 'white hat' techniques, which is doing what the search engines actually want you to do and providing good quality websites.

Apart from having no interest in adding to the mountain of crap that already exists on the net, I think black hat techniques are counterproductive anyway.  For one thing, you can't fool the search engines for long, they will rumble the ruse, maybe ban your site, then you have to start again and find the next trick, which is never ending. Are you really smarter than the people at Google?? Doing it properly in the first place means that you create a site of quality which will continue to rank highly for years, even if you do nothing else to it.

I'm going to stop talking about 'search engines' and simply say Google, because in reality that is all that matters.  It is so far ahead of the rest in terms of users, and if you get it right for Google, you can be pretty sure you will do OK in all the others.  I'll just get a couple more terms out of the way here – ‘spiders’, ‘bots’ or ‘web crawlers’ are the automated programmes that scan the web looking for web pages.  They use this information to create an index of websites that are then used to produce the results when someone searches for a term. 'GoogleBot' is Google's own particular scanning programme.

Content is everything. What Google wants is an internet full of quality websites, filled with interesting information.  That is part of what it is trying to judge when it ranks websites.  Websites need content - information – meaningful words.  This can be a disadvantage for artists as a large part of our content is in the form of images.

When GoogleBot looks at your website is does not see how pretty the design is or how clever the Flash images are.  If you want to see an example of what Google thinks is good web design, look at their home page. Keep it simple.  Do not bother with Flash or anything fancy, it will only hinder your SEO efforts.

Your site structure too should be logical, so that GoogleBot has no problem finding all your pages.  Start with your home page, then have several links to different sections from there.  Each of these sections can then have several more links, so you build a tree-like structure.  If you go deeper than three layers of pages search engines may struggle to index the deeper ones.

Whatever stage you are at now will obviously determine where you go next with regard to search engine optimisation.  If you already have a website, I truly hope it is ranking well and attracting many visitors. If not, you may wish to consider what would be involved in a serious overhaul, or whether you might be better off just starting again.

How Does Search Engine Optimization Work:
Where Do You Go From Here

If you want to understand the basics of search engine optimization, please ensure that you also read the other pages on this site covering the two other fundamental aspects of it, which are links and keywords.

If you are quite new to building and promoting websites, you may feel a little daunted by some of the information on these pages, which believe me is just the tip of the iceberg. Search Engine Optimisation is a MASSIVE subject, but you simply cannot ignore it if you wish to get traffic to your website. Unless you are wealthy enough to pay an SEO company to do this work for you, this means that there is a lot of work that you need to do yourself.

The good news is that there are a number of SEO tools available that can help save time with the main aspects of search engine optimization. You can find thousands of software programmes that claim to work miracles. It is very easy to go wrong with these and waste your money, so be careful. In terms of general SEO packages, which guide you through the steps you need to take and organise your activities, there are a few systems that stand out from the rest in terms of results and value for money.



Go Straight To The SEO TOOLS AND SOFTWARE Page For Reviews and Recommendations On The Best Value SEO Tools

Make sure you also read the other SEO pages on Links and Keywords.

If you haven’t yet built a website, read the 'How To Make A Website' page first.







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