The best and safest way to optimize your site for search engines is to create a website full of solid content. Trying SEO tricks to fool the search engines may work in the short term, but will cause you problems in the long term.
To start this article, let's make certain that everyone knows what a search engine (SE) is. This is a website that will accept an input word or phrase and search a database to give you information that matches the input information that you supplied to it. The best known SE's are Google and Yahoo.
There are many definitions for SEO so we will try to boil them down into a simple one. The condensed definition of SEO is -- the action of using techniques to make your page(s) appeal to search engines so they will rank the page high in the search engine results pages (SERP). For additional definitions, run a Google search to get plenty of reading on the subject.
Why be concerned about the SERP ranking? This is what produces the free traffic to your site. These people found you all by themselves using the SE and they arrive at your site open to read what you have to present. They are not suspicious as they would be if they arrived at your site by clicking on a banner ad or on a Google Adwords or Adsense ad. This traffic is the life blood of your business. Readers who arrive at your site by a search engine are much easier to sell than those who come from pay per click or banner ads.
SEO has created the profession of search engine optimizer. This profession breaks down into two groups called the white hats and the black hats. (From the old western movies where the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats).
The white hats work to create good, solid content that the SE's are looking for. Their form of optimization is presenting the good, solid material in a format which appeals to the SE.
The black hats try to trick the SE into thinking that a site has valuable information on it by various methods and tricks.
When search engines (SE's) first came on the scene, they were not very sophisticated and people on the Net found ways to easily trick them into giving a page a higher ranking on the SERP than the page deserved.
An early black hat trick was to fill in all the white space on the page with the page keyword in white font color (white letters on a white background). If the page was viewed on the screen, it looked normal with five or six keyword occurrences, but if you looked at the HTML, you would see the keyword on the page say 300 times. This was called "increasing keyword density" and this worked for a short time until the SE's got smarter. When they learned to look at the background color and the font color for these 300 keywords, the SE's started penalizing those website for cheating. The interaction between the black hat SEO's and the search engines has developed into a "cat and mouse" game and is still on going.
Google has some of the best minds on the Net working for it and those minds are constantly working to stay ahead of the "black hats".
It is not uncommon for a "black hat" page to be ranked well in the SERP's one day and gone the next. This is because Google has changed its algorithm for what it considers relevant on the page. The black hat tricks that worked yesterday were discovered and the page is gone from Google or ranked so far back in the SERP that it is "dead meat". Google has a goal to rank pages with outstanding, relevant content high on the SERP. If you create that outstanding, relevant content and develop traffic, your page will rise in the SERP rank. You are not trying to fool Google, you are building what Google wants.
I learned this information from using Site Build It (SBI) since it guides you through this part of building your page. Each time you create a page, you first preview it to see that it meets your visual requirements. Then you submit it to "Analyze It" a program that evaluates the page. Once it has completed its evaluation, it tells you what it detected that needs to be changed to make the page more acceptable to search engine spiders.
Make the changes to the page and resubmit to "Analyze It" until it gives you a report with no more suggestions. At that point, you preview the page to make certain your changes have not affected the visual presentation and it is ready to publish.
The following are a few guidelines what I learned from building retirement jobs online.com on Site Build It. If you follow these guidelines, you will build a page that is structured the way the SE's like.
1.The web page file name should contain the primary keyword. For retirement jobs online.com this would be "retirement-jobs-online.com/keyword.html.
2.The page title should contain the primary keyword. This is the Title tag in the HTML code.
3.The page description should contain the primary keyword. This is the description meta tag.
4.The keyword list should begin with the primary keyword. This is the keywords meta tag.
5.The first heading in the body should contain the primary keyword. This will be the H1, H2, or H3 tags in HTML. "H" tags indicate a heading which will be bold font. The 1, 2, or 3 indicate the size of the font for the heading.
6.The keyword should appear in the first 90 visible characters of the text.
7.The key word should appear a moderate number of times in the body. Here is where it gets a little fuzzy. Too few occurrences will not help you and too many occurrences can be considered "keyword spamming". I do not know the exact formula, I just do what SBI says. Quite often "Analyze It" tells me to lower the occurrences of keywords on a page.
8.The keyword should appear in the text of a text link on the page.
If you build your own website, you will need to know HTML so you can fill in the the meta tags for the title, keywords, and description. This is not hard to do and you can learn it without too much trouble. If you use SBI, you fill in text boxes in the SBI template and SBI writes the HTML to accomplish this. If you are using MS Internet Explorer, to see the HTML for these inputs, go to www.retirement-jobs-online.com and right click in the center of the page. Click View Source in the dropdown box and a Notepad window will open with the HTML code for the page. Here is what you will see near the top:
Retirement Jobs Online - retirement jobs online for people over 50
The tag is the page title.
The Name="Description" Content= is the description.
You can write this HTML if you just use the tags exactly like they appear ABOVE and insert your text between the quotation marks.
Enough HTML lesson! The intent was to show you where these various inputs appeared on the page. If you build your own website, do not forget to fill these out each time you build a page.
In summary, do not chase after the latest "hot" SEO technique. Focus on creating solid content and follow a few rules on how to structure your page and no matter how Google changes its SE algorithm, your pages should continue to rank well.
Good luck with your future online endeavors.
John V. W. Howe is an entrepreneur, author, inventor, patent holder, husband, father, and grandfather. He has been involved in entrepreneurial activities for over 40 years.
He has founded www.boomer-ezine.com, www.retirement-jobs-online.com and www.boomer-entrepreneur.com to help Boomers (baby boomers) become entrepreneurs when they retire.