Two faces of SEO - Search Engine Optimization
Submitted by Aaron on Sun, 01/30/2011 - 15:45
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is certainly an ingredient for gaining qualified, targeted traffic as well as credibility and trust.
Recent polls have stated that natural search engine results are trusted by searchers up to 6 or 7 times more than paid advertising, banner advertising, pay per click and other forms of advertising and trust at the front end can certainly have a positive effect on the conversion rates as well.
Although there are currently over 200 algorithms that the Google Search Engine uses to rank web pages (Search Engines don't rank sites, they rank individual pages), there are just a few key ingredients we need to focus on as website owners to gain popularity, trust and page rank within Google and other search engines.
The easiest way to divide this up is into two categories of SEO:
On page SEO and Off page SEO.
On Page SEO:
To summarize, on page SEO is simply setting up a page with quality content, and meta tags, consistent titles, key words etc. that makes the page a quality web page based on the topic, theme and keywords one might be targeting to rank naturally in the search engines.
For example, if I wanted to rank a page well for the phrase "Search Engine Optimization", I would need to be sure that the page was quality content, and not plagiarized or duplicated anywhere else on the web. Additionally, I would need to make sure that the title, headings, tags, and content were all in alignment with the subject of Search Engine Optimization. Key words, headings, and other tags and elements of the page should not be under-optimized or over-optimized. In other words, if that page lacks in coherence, quality and alignment by not containing enough information that is consistent with facts about Search Engine Optimmization, then it would be under-optimized.
On the contrary, if a page were over-optimized by containing the key word phrases far too often and exceeds what would be deemed natural language, it can actually be penalized and give less trust in the search engines because it comes across as a page that is reverting to tricks and gimmicks to attempt to rank well instead of quality aligned content.
Additionally, the better the quality of the content in a page, the more likely people are to share this page with others.
Off Page SEO:
To summarize off page SEO, this is simply the measure of the quantity and quality of links and referrals from other web pages, book marks, social sites, etc. pointing back to your specific page. Search engines take into consideration the quality of the pages and websites that are linking to your page, and consider these similarly to "quality votes of confidence" on that particular subject or theme.
If a person were trying to obtain top rankings for the search phrase "Search Engine Optimization", the other half of the equation would be off site SEO, meaning the overall quality and quantity of articles and links closely related to the phrase "Search Engine Optimization". Though Search Engines differ in their algorithms, Google has been the pace setter for years in returning quality pages based off of key search phrases, which gives Google such a great public trust factor.
Early in the days of SEO, people used tricks such as loading up pages with key word phrases that were the same color as the background of the page, so that they could get many points for key word frequency. Additionally, other high ranking pages were credited by the process of link swapping (which does very little for natural SEO today).
Today, Search Engines look for quality content and quality inbound links or back-links and rank pages accordingly. Thought they use many other factors such as site longevity, social bookmarks, outbound-links, etc. These two main ingredients, on page and off page optimization are the two that a web site owner has the most immediate control over and those with the right approach to both strategies and with consistent effort in the right direction can gain top 10 Search Engine Rankings.