The Basics of SEO

by Geoffrey Hoesch — Apr 26, 2007

The Basics of SEO

In the SEO World, there is a good deal of debate about where the term ‘Search Engine Optimization’ (SEO) originated. There is no conclusive evidence that a single individual or group of individuals coined this phrase; what is known is that the phrase appeared in the late 1990’s and referred to a process that increased web page rankings on Search Engines. While the methods of SEO have changed, the goal has not – SEO still increases a web page’s ranking.

The Benefits of Higher Search Engine Ranking

Think of the last time you used Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or any other search engine to find a service or make a purchase. You typed in the term, clicked search, and the search engine returned thousands of websites that were relevant to your search. Which site link did you click on? The one thousandth, which was listed on Search Engine Results Page (SERP) 100, or the very first link you saw on SERP 1? Statistically, you clicked on the first result, then the second, then the third, and so on and so forth. The number of individuals who click on a link divided by the amount of individuals who see a link multiplied by 100 is known as the Clickthrough rate. If, for instance, 100 people see your link and twenty of them click on it, your clickthrough rate is 20%.

How to Get to #1

SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) use methods that optimize your website for webcrawlers. A webcrawler is an automated indexing program launched by Search Engines that ‘saves’ your website information to a database. So, when keywords are searched in Google or Yahoo!, the engines aren’t actually searching the internet for information (that would take a very long time), they’re actually accessing information retrieved from the saved files created after their most recent ‘crawl’ (a process that gathers website information) of the internet. SEO’s create crawler-friendly material that appeals to the algorithms that search ‘saved’ website information for sites that are relevant to your search. While their are many aspects to SEO – a good optimizer should know them all, including the HTML aspects of SEO – perhaps the most significant is web page copy.

Copy is generally considered writing that has the intention of selling a product or service. If you have a website, you’re probably selling something. Successful SEO copywriting takes into account numerous strategies for increasing a page’s SERP rank. Of these strategies, keyword density is considered the most important.

Because webcrawlers are programs and must rely on algorithms to rank the importance of web pages for certain topics, Search Engines rely on keyword density to determine how relevant a page is to a keyword search. Keyword density is the percentage of times a word occurs in relation to the total number of words on a page. If, for instance, the word ‘car’ occurred ten times on a page with one hundred words, the density for ‘car’ would be 10%.

However, before you spam your page with a specific keyword, you should conduct some keyword phrase research. An example of a keyword phrase is ‘used car Maryland’. You can see that keyword phrases are much more focused and, as such, are far more effective ways to target specific web searchers than are individual keywords.

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