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Effective Search Engine Optimization

5 Basic Rules of Search Engine Optimization


Search engine optimization is crucial for anyone who wants people to visit his or her Web site. You can place as many ads as you like, but most people are still going to find your site because of its listings in search engines or directories.

Search engine optimization is the process of making web pages attractive to search engines. In my work, I visit hundreds of web sites every month. Sadly, many of them are throwing traffic away; they look fine to the viewer, but ignore the basics of effective search engine optimization.

It's a fact that most people who use search engines only look at the first one or two page of search listings. The goal of effective search engine optimization is to get your pages listed on those critical first pages for particular key terms.

How do you do this?

1) Remember that each page of your site is a separate entity. You need to apply the basics of effective search engine optimization to each individual page. Therefore;

2) Choose appropriate key words or phrases for each page. For instance, although this page is part of the Small Business: Canada site, that's not one of the key phrases I've chosen for search engine optimization. (If you've read this far, I bet you already know what the main key word phrase of this page is!)

Phrasing matters. Many more people search for the term "effective search engine optimization" than for "effectively optimizing for search engines". To find out which key words or phrases are more popular than others, you can use a tool such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool; enter your chosen phrases and you'll see how many people searched for that term recently.

3) Give each page an appropriate title that includes the key word or phrase at least once. I so often see sites that use the name of their business as the title of all their pages. Is every page of their site about their business? Probably. But chances are really low that people will be searching for their business' name!

4) Put the key words or phrase that you've chosen in the page's title tag, meta keywords, and meta description. Make sure that the meta description is as appealing as possible, because some search engines actually use this description in the search engine results pages that people will be reading.

5) Be sure your chosen key words or phrase is repeated judiciously throughout the content of the page. You don't want to overdo it, or your page may be rejected as spam, but you need to repeat it enough times that the search engine's software will consider the phrase relevant.

As anyone in the business will tell you, these are the bare bones of effective search engine optimization. But applying just these five basic rules of search engine optimization will give your web pages a much better chance of showing up on those critical first few pages of returned results.

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