Search Engine Optimisation or SEO - what is it when it is at home?

Firstly, for those that don’t know of it, what is a search engine?

A search engine is software that locates and lists relevant documents on the Internet, which matches the words or phrases you are searching for. Google, Yahoo and MSN are such beasts.

Each search engine has a set of rules and criteria by which it determines the relevance of a website to a specific phrase or word searched for. In programming lingo the rules and the program that does the analysis is called an algorithm. SEO or search engine optimisation is a method or an approach to website design and development that tries to meet most if not all of these rules and criteria. Success in SEO means that your website will be in the top of the pile of links that a search engine like Google returns to you following a search. Sounds simple and it should be. But the world being what it is - it is complex.

Simple but made complicated

There are 3 problems to contend with:
  1. There are four main search engines, all with slightly different criteria and emphasis utilized to make judgements on websites.
  2. These criteria and rules are themselves a moving target. Why? Because they are being continually refined to produce better results and beat the cheats. Yes cheats. It is like an escalating arms race. There are some search engine marketeers who trade on coming up with ways to cheat the search engines to push their clients' websites to the top of search indexes whether they are highly relevant or not. Whichever way one looks at it it makes no sense. In the short term, you may greatly improve the amount of traffic to your website. But without valuable and relevant content this traffic will click on mass to other sites. In the long term web sites found cheating are banned and removed from the search engine indexes.
  3. For commercial and cheating prevention reasons search engine algorithms are kept secret.

Two Pronged Attack

Currently the major search engines use the links into your web page and the words on it and behind it to make a judgment call on the relevancy of your web pages against specific search for words/phrases. For this article we will concentrate on words. Another article will look at links and linking strategies.

Retrofit or grassroots approach to SEO?

Now we have established the why and the wherefores of search engine optimisation let's look at how to implement the word side of SEO properly. SEO is not most effective as a bolt on or retrofit to a website. Yet this is very common way the 'experts' do it. Web designers and web development companies design a layout, template or shell for your website, pour in some pictures and text, and…..then, oh yes, for a bit of SEO bang in a load of key words or phrases into something called a meta keyword tag. (By the way, this is a piece of coding tag is normally only visible to your web browser, like Internet Explorer etc and the search engines) This meta tag was once used by search engines to help identify and assess the relevance of a web pages content. Unfortunately, through over use and abuse this tag is considered redundant by the top 4 search engines, Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves.

So think twice about paying out for such a service from web designers and web developers. It is akin to having a vehicle built. Then, remembering it has to fly so you add some wings. It may fly but don't expect it to perform very well.

Using the right stuff

For the most effective SEO you have to build it into the very fabric and development of your website. Words are the name of this game - but have to be the right words. These right words are used in the structuring of the website directories, in the structuring of the text and links of the web pages. This approach also uses slim line coding to increase the population density of these right words compared to the amount of code used to produce the page the way it looks.

So long before you get to your browser window and a possible website design you have to establish who your customer's are and what key phrases they are likely to use to find your services or products. These are the phrases and words you need to weave into your website in a natural and fluid way. Artificially spamming or bloating you website with these words will reduce the relevance of your website for the search engines and your human visitors, too, if you get any. Don't worry if you don't follow or understand the detail in the previous paragraph. The nitty gritty of SEO techniques will be reviewed in a article on how to identify if your 'experts' really know all about search engine optimisation and implement this knowledge in their customer's web sites.

Committed to Success

To summarise, unless you want to pay out for off line and continuous on the web advertising, there is no easy and painless fix to a lack of proper search engine optimisation. Only with hard work, creativity, a knowledge of your customers and a knowledge of how the Internet works can you really improve traffic numbers to your website. And then, with equal dedication you need to produce a website with content that converts these visitor numbers into a growing customer base.

It is all about commitment. A strong commitment to produce the best website, A strong commitment to find the best organisation or person to help you. Then you have a chance to succeed on the Internet. No commitment, no chance.

For those with commitment contact left angle communications. For immediate help with search engine optimisation and creating a strong, web presence please contact us via or use our contact form.


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