SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is a set of procedures carried out during and after the web design and development process that help produce a high page ranking for your website on search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO is essential if you want to increase traffic to your website. Why? Because the majority of internet users (around 90%) use search engines, most visitors (87%) come from the first page of a search, and after the third page a good number of your potential visitors have lost interest.
What is involved in search engine optimization?
There are tons of critera used to improve search engine optimization. Some critera include SEO research and marketing, web content writing, on page SEO implementation, back linking, offline marketing etc. etc. However, the the critera and best practices are constantly changing and may differ from one search engine to another.
Kaz Design Works provides clients with basic SEO implementation during the design and devlopment stage of their website and endeavours to use best practices as well as guide clients to continue using best practices once their website is complete.
Since SEO is constantly changing, the below information should be taken as a guide only as things may have changed since it was written.
The main techniques implemented on your website to help improve search engine optimization include ensuring all code is clean and correct, providing navigation between pages, adding appropriate title tags and meta tags to each page, and ensuring that the keywords or key phrases for each page are distributed throughout the content. Search engines index web pages using spidering software that crawl through your web pages in search of these tags as well as your content, looking for your key phrases and keywords.
Use clean code and internal links
It's important to design a website using clean (web standard) code although some third party scripts and constant changes to web standards may result in some non-standard code. There should also be a good amount of editorial content (400-600 words per page) and there should be internal links between pages enabling seach engine spiders to crawl through your entire website and index (or catalogue) each page. Too much code compared with the amount of content, or badly written code, may make finding your keywords hard. Missing or broken links will affect the search engines' ability to crawl through your website.
Use relevant keywords but don't keyword stuff
It is also essential to use different key phrases and keywords on each page and to ensure they are relevant to both your website and the specific page content. It has generally been recommended in the past to repeat key phrases and keywords several times on the page, both in the content (title and body text) and in the tags. However, search engines recognize "keyword stuffing" and may penalize your website by reducing its page rank! Not only that, but if your visitors do find your website, your content may not make sense and will inevitably drive them away. It is therefore essential that you don't over do it. If you are writing your own web content, ask a third party to read through it to ensure it makes sense.
Update your content regularly
SEO, and ultimately, page ranking, is also improved if you update your content on a regular basis and re-index your site with all the major search engines. This does not mean you need to rewrite every page, but adding a new page, writing relevant and interesting blog posts, adding new products or event listings on a regular basis, with links to and from other pages, will indicate to search engines crawling your website that it's not dormant. Also, if your visitors know you update your content with new articles or events on a regular basis, they are more likely to return and this, too, helps search engine optimization.
These are just a few ways to improve search engine optimization of your website. You can find tons more information on the internet by punching in the term "search engine optimization" to a Google search.
How do the search engines know to index my site?
They don't. Once a website is published you or your website designer should index your website by submitting your URL to all the major search engines so the spiders "know" to catalogue it. The spiders will periodically crawl your site looking for new or updated content. If your content has not been updated for a long time, the spiders will assume your site is dormant and will eventually stop indexing it and it will slip further down the SERP (search engine results page) list.
If you don't update your website often, it's a good idea to resubmit your URL so that the spiders can re-index your site. This will help bring it back closer to the top of the SERP.