Whenever people are talking about the design of websites, the term SEO will come into the conversation sooner or later. So what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which basically serves to make it easy for a search engines to find a website. To understand how it works, it is necessary to understand how search engines locate websites to begin with.
Basic Search Engine Function
Search engines are not manned by humans, but use software known as crawlers, bots or spiders to ‘crawl’ the Web. This is purely text driven, meaning the crawler will pick up on specific words or phrases, known as keywords, or key phrases. These keywords or phrases are indexed, processed, calculated with respect to relevancy and retrieved. The more relevant a keyword is to a search term, the more likely it is to be retrieved and result in the website being shown high up in the search results.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO involves using specific, relevant keywords within titles, articles and blogs to make a website more visible to search engines. For instance, if an Internet user was to type the words ‘motorbike engines’ into their search panel, the engine will then look for all sites that contain these words or closely related words, such as bike, engine, bike engine, and so on. As a rule, keywords are placed into texts at percentages of one to two per cent. Keyword density above this percentage can be regarded as stuffing and is considered to be bad practice.
Finding Relevant Keywords
The more relevant keywords are, the more likely they are to be picked up by search engines. It is therefore necessary to find the best possible variations of a term or phrase to use. This is made easier by keyword finding tools. One such tool, for instance, is offered by Google AdWords. Here, the user enters a proposed keyword or phrase, and the tool will provide a list of relevant variations. As well as listing these variations, the tool will also show how often the word is being entered as a search word and how many competitors are already using it on their sites. Other tools of this kind work in a similar way.
How to use Keywords
The fact that keywords have to be included within a websites content at a particular density to be effective without being seen as an attempt to fool search engines has already been mentioned above. It is, however, equally important to ensure that these words are blended well into the surrounding text, as the crawlers will take the surrounding words into consideration as well. In other words, it is vital for keywords to flow naturally with the text, as opposed to being placed randomly and out of context.
Used well, SEO will serve to increase relevant traffic to a website. In other words, by carefully considering the implemented SEO techniques and choosing keywords suitable to the overall purpose and content of a site, the targeted audience can be reached with greater success.