Thursday, October 12, 2006

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the technical term for the process of improving your website visibility in the natural listing results in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN etc…. What is meant by the natural listing is the results for example in Google that are in the middle of the page, not the sponsored listings on the right side.

Ranking high in any search engine is the goal of all website owners. In order to achieve that, the website needs to look professional, have appropriate content and size and easy to navigate. To achieve a high ranking status is not about having a website that has flashing graphics and visually appealing sections. The search engines do not place as high a priority on that as they do content-rich, relevant data to index. The website will climb the search engine results pages as time, content and relevancy increase.

Online search engines are one of the best ways to attract the targeted traffic you seek to sell your product or services. The ultimate goal in a high ranking website is an increased number of people finding your website and increased sales and lead generation. You may loose about 95% of your targeted visitors if your site does not appear somewhere in the first three pages of the results. Most buyers who search and shop via the Internet do not go beyond three pages to find the product or service in which they are looking.

There are many search engines available today but none are larger or more pertinent to your website success than the “Big 3”. They are Google (commands at least 50% of the market), Yahoo and MSN. It is recommended to start with Google to get high and relevant rankings. The only way you are going to achieve this is to get into the search engine indexes. If this is addressed properly, you could see your first listing anytime from 2 to 4 months for some pages and as long as 2 years for certain keyword phrases. You have to keep in mind that overnight success will not be realized. This is a work in progress with a focus on the long-term result.
To simplify this process and make it a little more practical, below are three main secret tips that most people overlook or even don’t think about when starting the process of optimizing their sites. You can start implementing these tips today.

Secret Tip 1 – Be knowledgeable of basic search engine results/action facts:

As stated before, search engine optimization is the process of improving your website visibility in the natural search results. Your goal is to have your web pages appear at the top of the search engines for target keyword requests. Ultimately, you want your website listed in the top natural search results because 4 out of 5 total clicks visit the natural search results as opposed to only 50% of search engine users visit the sponsored (paid) ads. Of those, only 20% of those actually click.

Secret Tip 2 – Know your competition

No matter what type of business you are in, you are likely to have some sort of competition. It is beneficial to be aware of what they are doing and what edge they may or may not have over you. Most people miss this most important step. You have to gauge your success against those that are in the same market.
Yahoo and Google have developed View Bids Tools which allow you to see the bid or price per click, and the position for all of the advertisers for a keyword. Using these tools will also allow you to see who your competition is for the specific keywords you use.

Secret Tip 3– Educate yourself to the search engines

Search engines have webmaster guidelines available for you to become familiar with. It is highly recommended you read these webmaster guidelines, especially those of Google, Yahoo and MSN. As you read through them, you will find them to be quite helpful.
Optimizing your site to be exposed in the natural listings should be your ultimate goal. It means more visitors and potential customers. These three secret tips are awesome tools to have in your toolbox. If you start implementing them today, you will position yourself to be well ahead of the curve to having your site well placed in the search engine results. Just remember, it’s not going to happen overnight but doing your due diligence with SEO can pay big dividends down the road.