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SNHU - IT-210 Business Systems Design and Analysis
Written by: Chris Bell - August, 2012

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics



Introduction


Search engine optimization (SEO) is not only considered elementary to those who use it every day but a necessity for gaining revenue through your website. The old fashioned numbers game that sales people used was to make 1,000 cold calls, book 100 appointments and gain 10 long term customers. The same numbers approach can be used for website traffic. For every 1,000 visitors, 100 online orders are placed and 10 long term customers are gained. Those numbers prove that when the website doubles its traffic it doubles the amount of long term customers.

Page Titles and Content


Once a company builds a beautiful website they can gain visitors to it by word of mouth, television commercials or search engine optimization. Imagine a library full of books and a computer in the library for customers to search for a few books about vacationing in Aruba. The code behind the search bar designates parts of the book as more important than the rest; Title, Chapter name, words and phrases etc. For instance, a book about web design wouldn't show up when typing in "Aruba Vacations". However, if I titled a book about web design "Aruba Vacations" by accident, it would possibly show up in the results. For ease of explanation, the title of your website gets five points, the chapter name gets three points, and the words and phrases on the page get one point.

Domain Name


Main things to consider when optimizing your website for the search engine are your website domain name, page titles and folder titles, meta tags and words and phrases on each page. Wordpress Hosting is a great place to start with a domain name, hosting and a website management system. Buy www.mortgagecalculator.com and your website will have a good chance of showing up when someone types in the query "mortgage calculator" as Google thinks it's the website most likely to give you the information you're looking to find. If you already have a company website with the name of the business as the domain and you're looking to show up for "mortgage calculator" then you'll need to start with www.yourcompanyname.com/mortgage-calculator instead. The phrase "mortgage calculator" should only be mentioned about once for every 100 words in order to not be penalized for "spamming".

Keywords


When people first study SEO (search engine optimization) they clutter pages with the keywords and phrases they want to rank for but that will quickly move you to the bottom of the results as Google has figured out how to find those sites. Labeling everything according to your keywords is the easy part of optimizing your website. The hard part is building popularity.

If someone searches for "mortgage calculator" Google will find over 15 million results, of which 1,000 have probably labeled their pages correctly and discussed their keywords the appropriate amount. The next step is checking the popularity of each website by analyzing the visitors that enter and leave each of them. Did they all view multiple pages and buy products (meaning trust)? Did they see advertisements and back out right away? Was it a cheap website with poor design that verifies to the user that the information may not be completely accurate? Search engines are businesses too. They see all of that information, analyze it and tweak their algorithm to create a better set of 10 results for their customers.

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Link Building


The hardest part of building popularity in order to gain more website traffic is building links. This is when www.pepsi.com references another company by creating a link that points to their website. That link hurts Pepsi and helps the other company. Think of it as the person with more Facebook friends is more popular because they have 500 friends (or Facebook pages) linking to their profile. Google's idea behind that was to see how many consumers would link to companies in their blog on their own free will. However, it turned into a business of companies "building links" for you to make your website more popular. You should link to major website when you mention them as I did above with Pepsi.

Conclusion


In order to show up in the search engine your website must be up to par so that visitors don't leave based on design alone. The basics of SEO need to be completed by brainstorming 50 keywords and dispersing them throughout your website content. Regular updates and need to be completed and email lists need to be generated to keep visitors coming back. That's considered the ground work and once it's done the link building needs to continue for as long as the website exists.


References:


Google (2012). Search Engine Optimization. Retrieved from:
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291

SEO Moz (2012). Beginners Guide to SEO. Retrieved from:
http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo