No Frills Search Engine Optimization Techniques

Practitioners of the esoteric science and art of search engine optimization will often make it all sound like a combination of rocket science and brain surgery. But, the fact is that principles of search engine optimization, also referred to as SEO for short, are quite simple.

The basic idea is to get search engines to understand your site and to like it. This will lead to your site ranking high in the result pages that search engines dish out in response to a query. Here is the basic low down on what this is all about.

There are primarily two categories of techniques involved in search engine optimization. The first is called on-page SEO and deals with stuff that you do on your own site to make it rank well. The second is called off-page SEO which deals with stuff that other sites do related to your site. Let us look at the basic search engine optimization methodology involved in both these categories.

On-page SEO used to be all about stuffing keywords and keyphrases. For example, if you wanted a page to rank high for the term “red widget,” you would make it a point to mention “red widget” many times on the page. However, search engines have become much smarter than they were in the late 90s. Mentioning the keyphrase continues to remain a good idea, but you need to make sure that the rest of the content on the page is also relevant to the keyphrase. Search engines can understand words, phrases, expressions and their correlations. Other forms of on-site SEO involve setting the correct “Title” tag in the code of the webpage. Further, if the page is relevant to the overall topic of the site, it has a higher likelihood of ranking well.

Off-page SEO is all about links. Links to your site from other sites. When talking about links, there are primarily four factors to consider: Anchor Text, Quantity, Importance, and Relevance. Anchor text is the word / phrase that you click to reach a site. In case of a clickable picture, the anchor text is the alt-text that is associated with the image. Having relevant anchor text is pivotal to search engine success. Quantity plays a role too — the more the merrier. But do not forget importance — one link from a terrific site (such as a famous news site) might be worth much more than a thousand links from lesser sites. And finally we have relevance. If the site that is linking to you is relevant to the theme of your site, the link will quite likely be worth more.

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