SEO, or search engine optimization is the art and science of getting your web page or website ranked as highly as possible in the search engines, especially Google. It is also an abbreviation for search engine optimizer, a professional who makes his or her living doing the same.
Search engines compile information about the World Wide Web and then bring out results relevant to the terms you type into the search box. Basically, they surf the web so you don’t have to, and they do it in record time. Technically, a search engine is any program that retrieves information, but for our purposes. We are focusing on the ones that operate on the World Wide Web.
Backlinks are simply links that point back to your site. Backlinks figure heavily into how well your pages rank in the search engines.
Anchor text refers to the words that make up a text link. A link that says “click here”, has “click here” as its anchor text. Anchor text is important in determining what keywords your site will index for.
Keyword stuffing happens when a page is loaded with keywords to an unnatural degree, either in the content or the meta tags. At one time, this kind of thing could help a page’s position in the search engine rankings, but these days it is just a bad idea. If you or your web developer does this, you will likely receive a penalty from most major search engines.
Link farms are tightly-knit communities of pages that reference each other. For SEO purposes, these pages are also used to link to other pages to increase page rank and search engine rank once the link farm pages have high enough page rank. Running or getting many links from a link farm can be bad for your pages if the farm is discovered.
Long tail keywords and phrases are relevant, yet little searched-for keywords and phrases. Pages targeted for long tail keywords may not receive a large number of hits, but over time can provide significant sales or leads for your site, especially if you have a page for each long tail word or phrase. Long tail keywords in a page or article can also increase that page’s or article’s relevance in the eyes of a search engine.
LSI, or latent semantic indexing is the process of searching text to see how relevant the overall content is to the main keywords used. Using synonyms for keywords as well as including the lesser searched for long tail words and phrases, can help LSI. At the moment, it is unsure how much LSI plays a part in Google and other search engines’ rankings, but its relevance is likely to increase.
Meta tags are parts of a web page heading, viewable to search engines but not to casual viewers, that list information about the page. Keyword meta tags are not nearly as useful as they used to be, although it never hurts to include your keywords here. Description tags are still useful, since they are what people will see when your page appears in the search engine listings. Language tags tell search engines and browsers what languages a page is available in, if it is available in more than one. Robots tags tell search engine spiders what to do with that link, whether or not to crawl it, what do to or not to do with a page’s content, etc.
Nofollow (ref=nofollow) is a robots tag that tells search engine spiders not to crawl from your site along that link. Google penalizes pages that buy or sell links that do not have the nofollow attribute, on the basis that the link otherwise gives artificial page rank to the linked-to site. Many blogs use the nofollow attribute as a default.
Reciprocal links result when two pages or sites each link to the other. A certain amount of this is fine, but too much of it can make the sites look like part of a link farm.
There has been a lot of debate about Black Hat SEO, but it is pretty much any technique that works but that search engine bigwigs do not like to see happening. Some of what considered Black Hat today was considered acceptable at one point.
There are two important practical things to keep in mind about Black Hat techniques: they can rank your pages quickly and well in search engine results. However, they will sooner or later get your site banned from appearing in the search engine results.
Indexing is the act of arranging information in an organized manner. In books, this is done alphabetically, in search engines, this is done by considering a variety of factors. When you try to affect how relevant you show up in this index, you are attempting SEO.
Usually, you will want your site to be listed as far up on the index as possible. To say “I got indexed by [search engine]” means that your site was finally recognized by said search engine and included in its search results.
Page Rank (PR) helps determine how high up a web site ranks in Google’s search engines. It also determines a site’s linking power. A PR 8 link is generally considered much stronger than a PR 1 link.
Spiders/Web Crawlers are the eyes and ears for search engines. They gather information and then report back to engines like Google, Yahoo, etc. They search the World Wide Web by following every link they find, which is one thing that makes backlinks and site maps so important.
Site Maps are easily accessible pages on a site, that link to every other page on that site, or at least every page you want the search engines to see. Site maps make it easier for spiders/web crawlers to visit your entire site, which makes it easier for you to get indexed.
White Hat SEO involves ways of getting your site to rank higher in search results, that the engines consider more “natural” or “organic”. “White Hat” techniques are not as immediately impressive as Black Hat ones, but they are more consistent in the long run. Plus, they won’t get you banned from the engine results pages.
Filed under: SEO
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