Best Practices for Search Engine Optimization

A recent study by Front Page Public Relations discovered that over half of Web sites are not optimized for search engine rankings. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the primary means of achieving visibility online. Businesses invest in SEO services in order to secure a spot on the Internets Main Street and build their online presence.

Building Visibility Through Organic Search

Search engine optimization is a set of best practices that web designers follow in order to build traffic to a Web site. SEO companies specialize in fine-tuning the content and layout of a Web site in order to increase the sites relevance to specific keywords and to facilitate the indexing activities of search engines. Although SEO is the most effective and lowest-cost strategy for gaining visibility online, many businesses fail to optimize their sites. The Front Page report found that “more than 60 percent of Web sites lack the proper web programming to be ranked properly by Internet search engines.”

Search Engine Optimization Services

Search engine optimization companies specialize in helping businesses build visibility online–naturally. SEO tactics are designed to work with the search engines algorithm, conforming to its conventions for recognizing relevance and indexing Web sites. SEO tactics include:

Understanding the target audience. Search engines are designed to find the most relevant Web sites. The most effective long-term SEO strategy, therefore, is to create a focused, resource-rich Web site that is relevant to a particular set of search terms.

Choosing the right keywords. This requires some strategic thinking. SEO services are adept at balancing popularity and relevance. The idea is to find the keywords with the highest value to the company–terms that are popular without being so overexposed that they elicit competition from other Web sites. Both Google and Yahoo! offer free keyword suggestion tools, and sites like Wordtracker analyze competition over specific phrases.

Creating SEO-friendly copy. Search engine optimization services work with companies to create rich, fresh content with enough keywords to signpost relevance to the search engine. SEO companies employ best practices to determine keyword density, page length, and readability.

Optimizing meta tags. Search engines like Google use meta tags to index web pages. These tags facilitate the search engines indexing function. They include a title, list of keywords, and a brief one or two-sentence description of the page. The title is particularly important, because it appears in the list of ranked search results. This is the tag web surfers encounter on the list of search results. A catchy and relevant title can entice visitors to click through to the page.

Search engine companies use these basic tactics to optimize client Web sites for true search. These simple practices work together with the search engine algorithm to build clear, focused content. Users encounter fresh content relevant to their search terms. And companies climb to the top of the search engine rankings, gaining visibility and building a loyal customer base.

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