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How Search Engines can help you

In a broad sense, Search engine optimisation (SEO), is a marketing tool. By understanding how search algorithms work and what human visitors might search for, it helps match those visitors with sites offering what they are interested in finding. It is a process designed to improve the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines, Many site owners and developers, engaging in SEO, attempt to pursue qualified visitors to a site, the quality of visitor traffic can be measured by how often a visitors using a specific keyword phrase which leads to making a purchase, viewing or downloading a certain page, requesting further information, signing up for a newsletter, or taking some other specific action.

Because effective SEO can require making changes to the source code of a site, it is often very helpful to be incorporated into the initial development and design of a site, leading to the use of the term "Search Engine Friendly" to describe designs, menus, content management systems and shopping carts that can be optimized very effectively.

Optimising your website page

Meta tags, an element of HTML coding on a website that is used by search engines to index a website, are not as important as they used to be. Meta-tags are included within the 'header' code of a website and should still be used.  The most important tags are the Document title, page or site description and keywords. Rules used by different search engines govern how such tags are used, how many characters they should contain, and how they should be formatted.

The page content however in today’s websites are critical.

When designing your web page, you must always consider that the Search Engines will determine if your page ever gets read. This involves more than just including the META tags, mentioned above.  Keywords, Title, Image Alt text, Text and overall design, all play a critical role in determining if your website can be found.

If your site doesn't rank in the top 10 search results when someone is looking for a product or service you wish to sell then there is a good chance you will never be found as your target audience won't be able to find you.

A significant amount of website traffic originates from the major Search Engines. Most Internet users today will use a Search Engine, type in the product they want (Keyword) and look through the top 10 results. Most of the time, they'll find what they're looking for on page one. The percentage of click throughs is even smaller. Listing near the top and grabbing the attention of your target audience is the top priority.

The first step towards improving your listing is selecting keyword phrases that best reflect your web page.

Keywords and Keyword Phrases

A keyword is a word that best describes your product or service. For example, if your web page is focusing on massage, your best keyword will be "massage."

A keyword phrase is two or more words that best describes your product or service. If your web page is focusing on Swedish massage, then your best keyword phrase will be "Swedish massage."

When preparing your web pages, you should concentrate on just a couple of keyword phrases (for each page) used in different variations. Avoid using general one-word keywords, as you definitely won't rank high in the Search Engines. For example, if your website focuses on Swedish massage you wouldn't want to use the word " massage " as one of your keywords it's too general. Instead, you may want to use a keyword phrase such as " Swedish massage in Murwillumbah" or " Swedish massage courses in the Northern Rivers".

You have to put yourself in your potential visitors' shoes and imagine what words they will type into a Search Engine if they want a massage and live in a specific area.  They will not want to go interstate for just a massage

Selecting the BEST keyword phrases is the MOST important step towards optimizing your pages for the Search Engines.

Another great way to use keyword phrases is to use very unique words. For example, if you're offering massage, instead of using the word massage as a Keyword, use the specific type of massage, as in “Swedish massage”  as the name or type of massage. This will help drive highly targeted visitors to your website.

Search Engine-Friendly URLs (Uniform Resource Locator)

URL’s are the information required for the navigation of a web site.  Roll over, with your mouse, any hyperlink or button on a web page and look to the bottom left of the browser and you can see the URL written in the status bar.  If the search engine is to index your site for easy retrieval it is much better if this line makes sense as when you search you will use words that are meaningful.  Unfortunately, on today’s Internet database driven or dynamic sites, the easiest way to pass information between pages is with a query string. This is a string of information tacked onto the end of a URL after a question mark.  So what is wrong with that? Well, with the exception of Google, search engines will stop indexing when they reach a question mark and besides if the engine then reads ?option=com_content&view=category&id=2&Itemid=3 how is this, once indexed, useful for a person to retrieve the information and what good is a site full of URL’s of this sort for no one will find it?

The solution is to implement what is called Search engine friendly URLs.  These techniques used by us facilitate ways to pass information to your pages without the use of a query string and using plain page dependant English so that a search engines will index your individual pages and ensure you are found when your clients are searching for information or product that you promote.

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