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What really is SEO?

Web2Creative Info - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It seems to be a common misconception that a website can be quickly optimized by tweaking the code. In reality SEO process is much different and more complex. The Google ranking system is based on relevancy. The relevancy is determined by the actions of the online community instead of by Google. Google only monitors those actions and assigns points. However, Google scans all sites in search of elements that facilitate communication and browsing. It awards points for good techniques and it deducts for bad ones. Consequently, when performing SEO, there are two things to consider:

1) Strategy

What needs to be put in place for bringing traffic and external linking to the site? It includes content creation and placement on other sites in order to generate traffic and inbound linking to the site. Where the link is coming from makes a big difference. 1000 links from irrelevant sites mean less than one link from Amazon.

2) Application

How the content and the code are written will impact SEO. The techniques that will score positive points includes:

a) content elements
keyword-rich content, careful selection of page titles and meta descriptions, using header tags, avoiding java script pop-ups, side-ins and flash modules that interfere with scanners, naming alt tags, naming image files, reducing file sizes to speed up loading etc.

b) internal architecture
link depth, design, url structure, HTML sitemap, XML sitemaps, breadcrumb navigation, location of sub navigation, internal linking, content barriers, etc.

Considering the visibility of the content is dependent on the application of techniques, the techniques become extremely important when there is quality content in place. However, if there is not quality content, these techniques play a very minor role.

An important thing to understand about SEO is that it is not an “all or nothing” game. Expecting to get on the first page of Google as a result of a short–term SEO activity is not reasonable.

Special tricks can be used to get the site up high but beware. Not only are the results not permanent, but if discovered, the site will be permanently removed from the search results.

Instead of aiming for such a high goal to be on the first pages of Google, companies should consider the impact that SEO has on other marketing activities. For instance, little is known that pointing a Google ad to an optimized page renders a lower cost per click. By simply lowering the cost of a click by a dollar, one can save thousands in expenses while increasing the traffic. For small companies, it pays off more to focus on the combined effect of SEO and SEM instead of focusing on getting the perfect SEO score.