SEO is the short way to say Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of trying to get better rankings in Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Those three are known as the ‘big three’ because nearly all searchers use one of them, so it is the most profitable for you to try to optimize for them.
Americans conducted 7.4 billion searches online in May, up 12 percent from April. Google Sites registered the most search queries performed with 3.3 billion, followed by Yahoo! Sites (2.1 billion), MSN-Microsoft (963 million) – Comscore
Search engines take into account many things in your website, optimizing those is called on-page optimization, everything that isn’t your website is off-page optimization. Now, while the exact ranking formulae are secret, this is what is widely believed as ‘simple SEO’.
First, we want to improve on-page optimization. So we have to pick keywords. There are a variety of tools you can search for which will give you lists of keywords that are usable.
Now you have your keywords. So you now have to see what the top 10 people are doing for them (warning: basic html and math needed ahead). Go to the top person on the most important keyword you have, on google. As an example, we’ll use the keywords ‘free downloads’, and I’ll do the math with you.
The number one website is download.com, so let’s analyze this top website.
Keyword density is the measure of how many times a keyword appears compared to the rest of the text in that area. The areas include: title, meta keywords, meta description, plain content (text), h1, h2, h3, bold, italics, underlined and domain name.
Let’s do some of the math for download.com… Their title is: “Reviews and free downloads at download.com” First we ignore any ‘common’ word, like ‘and, the, at’ etc. So we have: “Reviews free downloads download.com” So, ‘free downloads’ takes up 14 characters out of 35, or 40%. In the meta description tag, it’s 14/272 = 5.14%, so go on and on through the list, keeping it in an excel. After you’ve done the top 10 in google, go to the top 10 in yahoo and msn, ignoring the repeats and do it again. Now, take the average. For the title, let’s say my average was 15%. I wanna try to have a percentage close to that. Too much, and I might get penalized, too little and It wont help.
That’s the basic on-site SEO. Matching keyword density on the site. Off-site seo is everything that is not on your site, mainly getting links for the beginner. The kind of links you want are links from a relevant website that has few other links to other sites. Ways to get these: Submit to directories and reciprocal linking. Submit your site to directories. You can find many lists of them on google. Reciprocal linking is trading links, or in effect, ‘I’ll link to you if you link to me’. The best way to get one is to go to a person who’s site is close in topic with yours, find their email and send a personal one.
Dear (contact info, or Webmaster)
I was looking at your site and I really liked (thing on their site) about it. (comment about site). I have placed a link to you at (URL of link you place to them) and would appreciate if you’d link back.
(your site url)
Yes, you have to do this manually, yes, it will help you, and yes, you have to link first. You’re the one asking for a link, so you have to show them you mean it.
Do that for all the top websites in your keywords, and keep doing it. The more you get links, the higher you’ll be in the rankings. You can find the number your competitors have by going to MSN search and typing in ‘Link:download.com’ for my example. It showed that there were 692,811 links to download.com… Better get to work.