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SEO Techniques

Why SEO

If you are not on the internet, you do not exist. You may have heard this cliché before, and you will be hearing it more and more often. But what you may not have heard yet is that you may have been present on the internet for the past 10 years and still not exist. Your website may be somewhere on the web, lost amongst billions of other sites.

If a website does not appear on the first few pages of a search engine, its chances of being accessed are minimal. Moreover, more than 80% of Google users click only the first three pages of search results. This shows clearly how important site optimization is to being found easily. There is, of course, always the Pay per Click alternative, meaning buying the first place on the search list. However, this only shows that the top of the search list can be occupied by the business willing to pay for the spot and not necessarily by the best business.

SEO makes the difference

Search Engine Optimization represents the totality of techniques used to bring a website to a stage where is it is pushed towards the top of the search results list by a search engine using key words. This technique dates back to 1990, when the first websites were created, and is an important sub-category of online marketing.

It all starts with the way in which internet searches are conducted. The chaos that existed on the internet fifteen years ago ended with the launch of search engines although it was Google that achieved the internet search revolution. How Google manages to search and collate billions of sites in milliseconds is a well-kept secret, but the little information available allowed for the creation of techniques that, if correctly applied, can maximize the chances of a website to be indexed higher up on the search results list. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) represents a set of rules that have to be applied at the early stages of  the creation of a successful website.

How it works

Nobody can guarantee that a website will end up on the first or on a certain position in Google, because the indexing is done automatically.  Google is a system that indexes websites according to an estimated relevance calculated by a set of algorithms. The positioning at the top of the results searched in Google depends on how the SEO is executed but also on external optimization through links.

Popularity increases website traffic

Google Page Rank classifies sites with values from 0 to 10. The higher the relevance (page rank) of a website, the more visitors it has. Google uses a highly complex mathematical formula in order to determine the relevance of a page. When Google evaluates a site, it considers several factors:

  1. The general layout of the site and how complete it is. Google tends not to send to its search engine sitemaps representing incomplete websites.
  2. Keywords: Google favours sites that use keywords efficiently.
  3. External links. Google accepts other sites containing a link to your site.  In this way, Google can find the site more often.
  4. Updating the site. Google dislikes outdated sites therefore a website should be updated frequently.

How to “write” on the web

Most web designers tend to forget that the texts shown online have to be written differently. The way in which people use the internet, in particular search engines to find the desired content, is a specific one.

Keywords

The fundamental SEO technique is the use of keywords and key expressions. Keywords are words that search engines spiders ( a programme that scans the sites) are designed to find.  Key expressions behave in the same way as keywords; they just consist of two or more words.  Word density is the number of keywords, divided by the total number of words on a page and must represent between 2% and 7%.

A block of text for a website should include carefully chosen keywords. Search engines consider that an article that contains the same words or sentences that a user used in the search is more relevant than an article that does not contain those words.  In a Google search, if users do not use the same expression or word as that used by the author, the article will not appear on the results page.  Thus, acronyms, abbreviations and short versions should be avoided. It has been statistically demonstrated that, when using search engines, users tend to use complete words instead of abbreviations.

The titles

The title is one of the first pieces of information that an engine spider should notice when browsing a site. The title does not have to include keywords in excess. Keywords should be chosen in a way that reflects the content of the page.

Many websites transform the title into the site tag, which is the link displayed on the results page in Google. Thus, titles have to be as simple as possible, without word games or metaphors. Surveys have shown that the title represents 30% of the reader’s decision about what link to follow.

The lead

The lead should include the complete name of the companies, personalities, cities or products. Acronyms, abbreviations or jargon should be avoided. A lead that contains the right keywords and limits the information clearly has better chances to attract more traffic. The lead represents 43% of reader’s decision about what link to follow.

The links

An article without links appears as incomplete. While reading a web page, users expect to find links in order to access more information. Links are beneficial to both, the articles displayed on the page and to the articles accessed via links, even when the latter are hosted by different sites. Articles should contain links to other related material within the same site.  Links to blogs or other sites may prompt these blogs or sites to post links back to the original page.  A link containing keywords and not expressions such as “read here” help the search engine to give higher relevance to the article.