Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art and science of optimizing a website to rank high in search engines. It has its roots in the mid-90’s when the first index based search engines were introduced. Back then, you added popular keywords to the header tags on each page of your website. Every time someone searched for that keyword, it appeared in the search engine. But as search engines have evolved, so has the search engine optimization industry. To compete with Google’s army of PhD researchers, SEO pros struggle to stay up to date on the latest theories and theories about how the carefully guarded and ever-evolving search engine algorithms work.
Below are some examples of factors that can affect your search engine ranking:
Number of links to your web site from related web sites
Number of years for which your web site's domain name is registered.
Age of a specific page on the page
Quality of writing on the page
Use of headings within the text
Number and frequency of updates to a page
Use of keywords in the URL
Amount of text on a page
Rate of external linking to your web site
Number of pages on the web site
Domain extension (.com, .net, etc.)
Use of frames, Flash, or PDF's
Downtime of your web server
Geographic location of your web server
Because optimization is so easy to turn into exploitation, it’s no surprise that search engine optimization is considered one of the most ethical areas of the web. The term “white hat” and “black hat” are often used to refer to the ethical spectrum of SEO. They come from the old cowboy movies where the hero and villain were often identified by the color of their hats.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is the practice of exploiting the shortcomings of search engines to increase a website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). These black hat SEO techniques often use artificial means to achieve results; for example, deception and redirects. A black hat SEO specialist may create hundreds of pages full of keyword-rich spam for search engines to discover and analyze, or they may post irrelevant comments on hundreds of blog posts, all of which link back to the main site. It’s easy to fall into the trap of using black hat SEO because it’s a quick and easy way to boost your website’s visibility. However, the short-term results are short-lived; search engines are constantly trying to outsmart black hat SEO’s. Using deceptive techniques can even lead to black hat SEO being banned from search engines or at least permanently damaging your ranking.
White Hat SEO
What is white hat SEO? White hat SEO works with the strengths of the search engine, rather than the weaknesses of the search engine. The goal is to create good HTML code, good written, keyword rich content and a well-structured website. The goal of the white hat SEO specialists is to create the type of site that search engines want to see. One of the biggest advantages of white hat is that it’s always in vogue. It won’t hurt your rankings as much as black hat SEO does. It doesn’t require constant monitoring to perform well either. Because white hat SEO relies on so many soft factors, such as, good quality content, good website organization, good link relationships, good blogging, etc., it can be more challenging to pursue. Generally speaking, white hat SEO performs better with lesser maintenance and less risk.
One of the most important and challenging aspects of promoting your site is getting other sites to link to your site. If your site has similar or similar content to other sites, the more sites that link to your site, the more authoritative you become in search engine results. But because you don’t have much control over other sites, you often have to spend a lot of time building relationships with other site owners. It’s very unlikely that other sites will link to your site just because you asked them to.
Tips for building inbound links:
Make sure you have a high-quality website that other website owners can trust to send their visitors to. Build content that’s worth linking to (e.g. articles, how-to’s, games, lists). Focus on building links from websites that have related content. Don’t fall prey to the black hat SEO tactic of ‘artificial link building’. Look for opportunities to be listed in industry directories and association websites. Build your own side projects that can connect to your primary business
Blogging for Business
A blog is a web page or part of a web page that is updated regularly with articles, ideas, opinions, etc. In recent years, many companies have found that blogging has been a powerful marketing tool, often becoming their main source of traffic. Why is blogging a good marketing tool? People love new, interesting, and helpful content. Your About Us page is unlikely to get a lot of traffic, but if you post a top ten list of your industry on your blog, hundreds or even thousands of people will link to your site within days. Reporters are increasingly turning to blogs to get an idea of what’s hot. Posting industry related blog articles regularly will help you get free media coverage for your site. A steady stream of fresh, keyword rich content will give your site a boost in search engines. It keeps visitors coming back to your site