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SEO 101 - Articles Surfing

When you hear the term 'search engine optimization,' do your eyes glaze over? I know mine used to, until I studied the practice intensively. I don't know everything, and quite frankly, I don't think it's possible. SEO is like sticking your finger into a pile of mud and pulling out a diamond. Nobody online today knows what the search engines' algorithms are exactly and even if someone did, the knowledge wouldn't last because the search engines are changing all the time.

But there are a few very simple things you can do to your web site to make it more search-engine friendly.

First, research keywords. Think about what people might type into a search engine to find your product. For instance, you may have a site about attention deficit disorder. If you do, you may want to use the term ADD or ADHD. If you look those up at http://inventory.overture.com (Overture's Keyword Selector Tool), you'll see that ADD comes in second on the list of keywords and ADHD comes in first. You may think you want to use those words, but think aga! The competition will be too high and it will be nearly impossible to rank high for those keywords. Try to come up with a phrase that's not so high on the list. You'll have an easier time ranking high for lower-ranking keywords.

After you have done your research and chosen some great keywords, evaluate your competitors. See which other sites use those same keywords on their pages. You can do this via the Alexa toolbar or a great free program called WebCEO.

Here are some things you can check: Do the sites have title tags? Do they have META tags and do they display your chosen keywords properly? What's the keyword density on the page? If you find that these areas are lacking in your competitor's pages, you have a good chance of ranking high for your chosen keywords. But if you find that the elements exist, ask yourself if you can do better. Can you create a better title, without stop words? Can you use the keywords to create a better density on the page?

If you say, "Yes,' then continue on. If you say, 'No,' you may want to go back and research other terms. The object is to be the best optimized page for the keywords you have chosen so that you'll rank high. The first 30 spots in the search engine for any given keyword is golden.

Once you've done all this and you're sure your chosen keywords or keyword phrases are the best, be sure to use them in your page title. (If you're unfamiliar with META tags, they reside in the section of your web page. View the source code in whichever program you're using to edit HTML and you'll see what I mean.) Your TITLE tag should be the first line after the tag.

Use the keywords you've selected, without stop words like a, the, and, etc. Search engine spiders usually give up at words like that and your page may not be ranked. Try to weed them out. For instance, for my editing site, I used 'Edit Copy Writing Coach.' I want people to know what I do and the search engine, too. I edit copy, I write, and I coach. By using this title tag without stop words, the search engine will know it, too.

The next important tag in your META tag section is your keyword tag. Here is where you'll list your keywords again. Be sure to use the strongest word (the one that you have the best chance of ranking high with) first.

In the text of your page, be sure to use your keywords as often as possible without making it hard for the viewer to read the page. Bold, underline, or make each keyword italic only once. Also be sure that your keywords appear in the first 25 and the last 25 words on the page.

These are only a few simple tips to help you with SEO. It's not as hard as it seems and it can mean the difference between only a few visitors to your site and a bazillion. SEO is something that many webmasters overlook. I, myself, heard Mark Joyner say that it was unnecessary. Well, maybe it is for Mark, but for us little people, it can be a big boost. Make some changes and see if SEO doesn't work for you.

Submitted by:

Pat Marcello

Pat Marcello is a professional writer and offers her writing, editing, coaching, and consulting services at OVEditing and you can get more information on WebCEO at her marketing site, OVMarketing.



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