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The Basics of Search Engine Optimization

Posted by Ilise Benun on

As a brand new guest poster to the Marketing Mix, I have browsed the blog and found very little mention to search engine optimization or SEO. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for a very brief sort of crash-course in search engine optimization and link-building strategy.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is exactly what it sounds like: achieving a higher ranking in search engines for targeted “keywords” or “search terms.”  In 2009, Google’s Market share was nearly 86% of all search engine traffic, followed by Yahoo and Bing.

What determines how high my site ranks?

Search engine ranking of a website is determined by both internal and external factors. Internal factors are things you can control with the look and feel of the website. Your site should look and feel clean and have clean forms and images. It should be tested with all browsers to ensure functionality. It should feel natural, with no forced external links.

One of the easiest ways to help your site rank for a specific keyword is to target that keyword in your domain in the first place. For example, if you sell recycled paper, the words “recycled” and “paper” should be in your domain somewhere. Generally, the shorter the domain, the better it will rank also.

You should work on having a clean site map and you should link internally to other pages and posts where appropriate. Another strategy is the use of meta tags in your HTML which are essentially search engine friendly code listing the keywords you are targeting.

External linking is a whole different ballgame and this is really where your site can stand out and rank on the major search engines. The process of gaining links to other websites is known in the SEO world as link building. Search engine algorhythms dictate that a site generally must be important based on how many other websites and blogs link to it. But with the pressure of the market, you can’t afford to sit around and wait for the links to come to you. This is where a strong link building campaign can help your website.

In my next post, I will walk you through the basics of a successful link building campaign.

Rob Stretch is a blogger and search engine optimizer for VA Mortgage VA Mortgage is based in Columbia, MO and has helped over 500,000 military families discover their VA benefits.

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