Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is becoming increasingly important for website owners. People can come to your site in a number of ways, and using search engines is one of the most common. However, people rarely go past the first page or two of results. Having an SEO-friendly website is what will help move your site higher in the results, but only if you know what you’re doing.
There are several SEO techniques, and they can be broadly categorized into “white hat” and “black hat” methods. White hat methods are those that follow all of the rules of third-party services (websites, tools, resources), and are not intended to be deceptive. Black hat methods are those that bend the rules, or break them completely. People using black hat SEO tend to believe that the ends justify the means and they are often frowned upon by white hat SEO people that don’t completely understand black hat methods.
The upside of black hat SEO is that it can help you move higher in the search engine results. The downside is that the major search engines frown on black hat SEO and are constantly changing their algorithms to level the playing field. This continuing battle between the black hatters and the search engines is the best reason why you should focus on white hat techniques when building an SEO-friendly website.
Choosing the right keywords is the foundation of any good SEO plan. You need to do two things:
1. Find out what terms people are searching for. What may surprise you is that you don’t have to go after the keywords that get the most searches; instead, you need to go after the keywords that will get you the best results for your efforts. This is the reason why “long tail” keywords are worth hunting for. These are keyword phrases that are several words long, but may not get as many searches. However, the advantages are that there is usually less competition for these terms, and the people who do search for them
2. Find out what terms your competition is using. A good start is finding what keywords your competition is using and ranking with. There are several tools available that can help you to do this. Once you know what terms they are ranking for, you can get an idea of how you compare. However, you should also look for good keywords that they may not be using. If you can use some good keywords that nobody else is using, then that may be enough to give you an edge in the SEO game.
Another main concept for your SEO-friendly website is relevance. When people come to your site they have expectations, and the search engines will reward you for being relevant. While you are concerned about getting people to your website, the search engines are concerned with delivering search results that people are looking for; it is your level of relevance that plays the biggest factor in how high your SEO-friendly website ranks.