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Search Engine Optimization explained

Adrian Singer, 09-04-2006
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves two primary categories:

1. On-site SEO

The process of optimizing your website pages, ensuring you have proper Meta tags, page titles, image alt titles, H1 and H2 titles, proper keyword ratio and a Google-friendly site map that ensures all pages are indexable.

Google and other search engines are placing less significance these days on On-site SEO, in favor of Off-site SEO. This means that although it is important to ensure your site pages are optimized for the search engines, On-site SEO alone will not help you getting ranked high on the search engines.

2. Off-site SEO

Off-site SEO is the art of getting third-party popular & relevant websites to link back to your website. Also referred to as an "Incoming link", the idea is to get top online authorities in your industry to include a link on their website, sending visitors to your site.

The most important determining factor when search engines look at your site to decide if it should rank on page 1 or page 5,000, is how many quality relevant incoming links from other sites are pointing to yours.

A lot of impact is being placed on how popular (PageRank, Alexa, Backlinks) the sites linking to yours are and how relevant they are to your industry.

This means that getting 100 links from new sites that are ranked PR0 (Page Rank zero) or getting 100 links from popular sites that are not in your industry, is not going to help your ranking and may end up hurting you if categorized as "black hat SEO".

How does one go about securing quality relevant incoming links?

Here are a few tips:

* Stay away from basic reciprocal links - When you exchange a link with another popular website (you link to me, I will link to you in return), the link will be disqualified by search engines once detected. If you're looking to do an exchange, do a 3-way exchange.

* Buy links but be smart about it - One of the quickest ways to get ranked high used to be buying quality incoming links or run-of-site links. With the recent changes to Google's algorithm, these links are often disqualified once the source page is discounted. If you are going to buy links, use a qualified SEO firm who knows what they're doing.

* Use Press Releases and Articles - Press releases and articles are a great way to get high quality incoming links from top ranked media sites.

* Content is King - It's all about Content. Make sure your site features quality, unique and original content. The more content you have, the more pages will end up in the search engine's index.

* Forum Posting - Posting in forums in your target niche and commenting on blogs, while including your website URL as part of your signature, is going to earn you incoming links from popular niche related sites.

* Link Baiting - One of the most effective, often overlooked, method to secure links to your site is the art of "link baiting". This involves creating controversy or stimulating content, promoting it and generating a snowball effect by getting users in forums and blogs throughout the Internet to post about your website, thereby generating more incoming links and sending their subscribers to your site.


In a nutshell, to achieve top rankings - keep increasing the number of quality incoming links to your site and build quality content that will drive and keep users on your site.
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