What Is SEO and How Can It Help Me?

February 8, 2009

in Internet,online computing,search engine optimization

by Tina Gasperson

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is a method of keyword placement and Web site coding structure that is designed to make a site appear higher in search engine results. For example, if I have a site about German Short-Haired Pointers and I apply SEO tactics correctly, when someone searches for German Short-Haired Pointers on Google my site should come up on the first page, and ideally at the very top of the results. Sites that are at the top of search results get more visits, and in the world of Internet commerce, Web sites that get more visits make more money.

One of the first things you should do in the process of SEO is to make a list of keywords and phrases relevant to your subject matter, and try to include those keywords in the content of your site as often as is reasonable and relevant. You should also place the most important keywords in the TITLE tag and META tag of each page. For example:

<TITLE>German Short-Haired Pointer World</TITLE>
<META name=”description” content=”Everything you wanted to know about German  Short-Haired Pointers, training, purchasing, raising, finding, loving”>
<META name=”keywords” content=”german short-haired pointer, pointers, hunting dogs, birding dogs, dog training, dog supplies, dog obedience, kennels, collars”>

Another way to make sure your site continues to rank high in search engine results is to make it easier for those search engines to find all the content on your site. A site map can be a good tool to help search engine spiders “crawl” through everything you have and index that content. A site map is a single Web page that links to every page on your site, most of the time arranged in some kind of hierarchical structure and marked with carefully selected keywords. Search engines like site maps that are constructed with XML, which sounds complicated but can be very easy with a site map generator. If you’re optimizing a WordPress blog there are a number of plugins available to generator a site map compliant with Google and Yahoo search engines, or you can pay for an application like Site Map Pro.

By applying these SEO tactics to your Web site, you’ll be well on your way to increasing your rank in search results, making your site more attractive to advertisers and their advertising dollars.

Tina Gasperson (tinahdee@gmail.com), affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.