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SEO (Search Engine Optimization)


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SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Definition and Function: As a definition, SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization". As a function, SEO is the process of optimizing a website to achieve higher rankings with the search engines. The goal of this optimization is to achieve greater levels of "organic" traffic. When talking about "organic" in context of web traffic, we are referring to the kind of traffic that comes from unpaid listings at search engines, directories, etc. SEO "Players": There are several "players" in the search engine environment. To name a few, there is... Google Yahoo (English version "Powered by Bing" ) Bing (previously known as "MSN Live Search" ) Baidu (pronounced "buy doo", a huge Chinese search engine) Since our intention is to help you gain the greatest presence online and thereby tap into the highest possible levels of traffic, our main SEO focus is going to be on Google, which holds the largest share of the search engine market, easily outstripping all the others combined. Now, all the search engines share similar SEO criteria. However, from an ROI perspective, it is most effective for you to focus on the industry leader, which is Google. The side benefit of this focus, of course, is that a well-optimized and well-ranked site in Google usually means it will rank high with the other search engines as well. Internal SEO: The process of optimizing the internal code of a website to help improve its rankings with the search engines is referred to as ‘internal SEO’. You may also hear the term ‘On Page’ or ‘On Site’ optimization. Some people say that internal SEO is not an important factor for ranking with the search engines. This would imply that they do not understand the principles behind SEO and as a result are not taking proper advantage of it. Some examples of internal SEO that we will be focusing on are: Keyword Density – this is the amount of times a keyword appears on a page, often represented as a percentage (e.g. keyword density and keyword percentage usually mean the same thing). Sitemaps – this is a page on your site that links to all internal pages on your site. This is very helpful in enabling search engine spidering, the process of search engines seeking to locate all of your internal pages. Internal Linking – this is how internal pages on your site are linked together and what keywords are used as the anchor text for each link. The anchor text is the text which is seen by your reader and is hyperlinked to another page. An example of an internal link would be: <a href="http://yoursite.com">Keyword Anchor Text</a> "Title", "Meta Description" and "Meta Keywords" tags – these tags provide information for the search engines to understand what your page is about and are often used to produce the results in the search engines, meaning the search engines use those tags when searches are being performed. File "robots.txt" – this is an important, powerful file that you can utilize for your site. Subject to whether or not sites agree to abide by the instructions of the robots.txt file, you can limit access only to those resources that provide value to you and limit those resources to the specific pages you want them to be able to access. To explain robots.txt further, our hybrid-blogging system will take up a fair share of resources, such as bandwidth, memory, etc. Your goal is to keep usage from external entities to a minimum, especially if you are on a reseller’s host, as many of you are. By blocking entities such as "spidering" programs, that are only looking for a back link or certain small search engines, which provide no value, you help minimize the usage while still enabling entities that DO help you achieve your SEO goals. In addition, your site is made up of many files and some, such as an affiliate redirect, you do not need to be found by search engines, etc. A robots.txt file enables you to open access to your site while at the same time denying unnecessary access to those files. More detailed training on the development and use of this file will be provided later so don't be too concerned if you don't know how to do that now. External SEO: When you think of external SEO, think "link building". Also referred to as "Off Page" or "Off Site" SEO, external SEO is primarily focused on link building, the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. Link building is vital to long-term success with the search engines, especially Google. Recently "Social Activity" has started to play a much bigger role in external SEO as well, and having things like Twitter "Tweets" and Facebook "Likes" are looked at very favorably by Google. As with internal SEO, more training will be provided on external SEO, particularly when we get into the lessons on getting traffic and getting social.

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