Search Engine Optimization – A Quick Guide
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of
improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search
engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results.
Typically, the earlier a site appears in the search results list, the
more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target
different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and
industry-specific vertical search engines.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines
work and what people search for. Optimizing a website primarily
involves editing its content and HTML coding to both increase its
relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing
activities of search engines.
The acronym "SEO" can also refer to "search engine optimizers," a term
adopted by an industry of consultants who carry out optimization
projects on behalf of clients, and by employees who perform SEO
services in-house. Search engine optimizers may offer SEO as a
stand-alone service or as a part of a broader marketing campaign.
Because effective SEO may require changes to the HTML source code of a
site, SEO tactics may be incorporated into web site development and
design. The term "search engine friendly" may be used to describe web
site designs, menus, content management systems and shopping carts that
are easy to optimize.
Another class of techniques, known as black hat SEO or Spamdexing, use
methods such as link farms and keyword stuffing that degrade both the
relevance of search results and the user-experience of search engines.
Search engines look for sites that employ these techniques in order to
remove them from their indices.
Webmasters and content providers began optimizing sites for search
engines in the mid-1990s, as the first search engines were cataloging
the early Web. Initially, all a webmaster needed to do was submit a
page, or URL, to the various engines which would send a spider to
"crawl" that page, extract links to other pages from it, and return
information found on the page to be indexed. The process involves a
search engine spider downloading a page and storing it on the search
engine's own server, where a second program, known as an indexer,
extracts various information about the page, such as the words it
contains and where these are located, as well as any weight for
specific words, as well as any and all links the page contains, which
are then placed into a scheduler for crawling at a later date.
Site owners started to recognize the value of having their sites highly
ranked and visible in search engine results, creating an opportunity
for both white hat and black hat SEO practitioners. According to
industry analyst Danny Sullivan, the phrase search engine optimization
probably came into use in 1997.
Early versions of search algorithms relied on webmaster-provided
information such as the keyword Meta tag, or index files in engines
like ALIWEB (Archie like Indexing for the WEB). Meta tags provide a
guide to each page's content. But using Meta data to index pages was
found to be less than reliable because the webmaster's choice of
keywords in the Meta tag could potentially be an inaccurate
representation of the site's actual content. Inaccurate, incomplete,
and inconsistent data in Meta tags could and did cause pages to rank
for irrelevant searches. Web content providers also manipulated a
number of attributes within the HTML source of a page in an attempt to
rank well in search engines.
By relying so much on factors exclusively within a webmaster's control,
early search engines suffered from abuse and ranking manipulation. To
provide better results to their users, search engines had to adapt to
ensure their results pages showed the most relevant search results,
rather than unrelated pages stuffed with numerous keywords by
unscrupulous webmasters. Since the success and popularity of a search
engine is determined by its ability to produce the most relevant
results to any given search, allowing those results to be false would
turn users to find other search sources. Search engines responded by
developing more complex ranking algorithms, taking into account
additional factors that were more difficult for webmasters to
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/seo-articles/
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