SEO

Stands for "Search Engine Optimization." Just about every Webmaster wants his or her site to appear in the top listings of all the major search engines. Say, for example, that Bob runs an online soccer store. He wants his site to show up in the top few listings when someone searches for "soccer shoes." Then he gets more leads from search engines, which means more traffic, more sales, and more revenue. The problem is that there are thousands of other soccer sites, whose Webmasters are hoping for the same thing. That's where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes in.

SEO involves a number of adjustments to the HTML of individual Web pages to achieve a high search engine ranking. First, the title of the page must include relevant information about the page. In the previous example, Bob's home page might have the title, "Bob's Soccer Store -- Soccer Shoes and Equipment." The title is the most important part of SEO, since it tells the search engine exactly what the page is about. Within Bob's home page, it would be helpful to repeat the words "soccer" and "soccer shoes" a few times, since search engines also scan the text of the pages they index.

Finally, there are META tags. These HTML tags can really distinguish your site from the rest of the pile. The META tags that most search engines read are the description and keywords tags. Within the description tags, you should type a brief description of the Web page. It should be similar but more detailed than the title. Within the keywords tags, you should list 5-20 words that relate to the content of the page. Using META tags can significantly boost your search engine ranking.

So what happens when a bunch of sites all have similar titles, content, and META tags? Well, most search engines choose to list the most popular sites first. But then how do you get into the most popular sites? The best way is to submit your site to Web directories (not just search engines) and get other sites to link to yours. It can be a long climb to the top, but your perseverance will pay off.

Updated 2006

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