Search engine optimisation is the process of enhancing a web sites ability to achieve top positions on search engines, therefore increasing the exposure of the web site to Internet users. There are thousands of search engines used today. Three clearly dominate the world accounting for more than 90% of usage. These engines (in order of size) are Google, Yahoo and MSN. For a web site to succeed, it must be found easily on these major search engines.
A search engine is a database of web site pages on the Internet. The larger engines have billions of pages in their databases. When a user enters a search request, a very complex program then quickly calculates which pages, from the billions in their database, they will display for their search results. Needless to say, web sites appearing at the top of these results are deemed to be the most important and will therefore receive a greater number of visitors.
There are 2 areas that are considered by a search engine when they are compiling their results: Web Page Content and Web Page Link Support.
Web Page Content refers to the raw code of a web page. Each search engine has its own algorithm that is used to sort through web page code and arrive at a 'Content' score for the page. Most algorithms will assess the same areas of a web page, so it is important to ensure that each web page on a web site can be clearly understood. Search engine optimisation will focus a web page on a group of words determined to be the most important in regards to the audience being targeted. The important sections of a web page are then checked and content is adjusted to ensure that the best possible 'Content' score is achieved.
Web Page Link Support refers to the other web pages that link to the web page being assessed. The linking web pages can either be from the same web site or from other sites on the Internet. As with Web Page Content, an algorithm is used to generate a 'Web Page Link Support' score. This algorithm will consider several factors, including relevancy, strength and the formatting used for the link. The most important and time consuming job within search engine optimisation is building a strong network of related links to a specific web page. Building this network properly is very difficult, which is why search engines like Google now consider this score to be the most important when determining results.
Once the 2 scores have been generated, they are then used to create a final score for the web page being assessed. This final score will determine the position of the web page in the search result list.
To arrive at the Web Page Content Score (WPCS), a search engine will be examining the prominence and density of many different areas. In order to perform search engine optimisation (or SEO) to a web page, it is important to understand which areas need your attention. Here is a breakdown of each focus area:
This is the text displayed in the very top bar of your web browser. Page titles will also appear as the title in the search results on search engines. Page titles receive a lot of visibility before and after a person visits your site. Due to their high visibility, they are regarded as a very important variable in the calculation of your WPCS.
File names are the names that follow the "/" after your domain name in the Address bar of your browser. File names are usually very short descriptions of a web page (e.g. contact-us.html probably contains the contact information for the web site). As file name size is limited, keywords that are used in this area are deemed to be important. Search engines will consider the file name of the page being assessed, as well as the file names that are linked to, from the page being assessed.
Headings use a special type of format called the tag. Applying this tag to text will bold and enlarge the text. Headings are important because they are summarising content on the page. The keywords2 within the heading will therefore carry more weight in the calculation of the WPCS than standard text.
When you click on a link to visit another page, the text that you have clicked on is referred to as the link text (unless you have clicked an image, in which there is no link text - not good for SEO!). This is probably the most important area of a page when the WPCS is being calculated. Search engines like Google have based their entire search algorithms on how web pages link to each other. The prominence (i.e. position and text format) and keywords2 used in your link navigation is very important.
The body text refers to the main content visible on your web page. Search engines will be assessing the total amount of content as well as the density of the keywords within the body text. It is ideal to keep pages within the range of 200-500 words. If you have pages that exceed 500 words, try and break them into multiple pages.
Alt Tag Text:
Alt Tag text plays an important role in usability. Alt tags will display the text for images, which is useful if a user has images turned off in their browser. Alt tags have minimal importance in the calculation of the WPCS as they are invisible to the user most of the time.
The Meta Description appears in the 'Head' section of the source code for a web page. This description is not visible when viewing a web page in a browser; however it will be used by search engines like Google for descriptions in their search results (see Figure 2 - if the Meta Description is available (and contains keywords) Google will place the description under the 'Link Title'). Meta Keywords: Like the Meta Description, Meta Keywords also appear in the 'Head' section of the source code for a web page. It is dubious as to whether Meta Keywords are considered by the major search engines anymore. However, it is good to include them just in case. It's also possible that smaller search engines are still placing a fair amount of weight on this area of the page.
Once you have identified these areas of the page, you are ready to begin optimising the page. Good SEO is all about balance; too many keywords in any of these areas can lead to penalties. As a minimum, it is good to insert one occurrence of each keyword you are targeting into these areas. Sometimes you may encounter a strong conflict with your design. It is important not to forget that search engine positioning is one part of success for your site. Once your visitor arrives, you need to capture with your design and content. Ideally, it is good to consult an SEO expert before constructing a web site. That way you will avoid design conflicts and ensure that your web site has the best possible chance of success.
A keyword is any word entered into a search box on a search engine. For example if you visited Google.com and typed "leather boots" into the search box, both "leather" and "boots" would be the keywords used for your search.
At this moment Google is only showing a sampling of the total links to you. A few months ago it seemed as though they were only showing those backlinks which were PR4 or higher. This has, however, changed and which links Google chooses to show is now a topic of debate. As far as numbers, it is only important to remember it is a sampling and to just continue your link building strategy.
In the search engines eyes, these are two different domains and therefore have different amounts of sites linking to them. It is best to be sure your link partners are only linking to one of these as it would be considered extremely rare for both "domains" to rank high at the same time.
A set of web pages that have been built for the sole purpose of increasing the number of incoming links to a web site. This is done in order to increase link popularity and search engine rankings. Link farms usually require a reciprocal link from sites seeking listings. Link farms are a known spam tactic and sites that participate in them are likely to be penalized or banned from the major search engines.
An "IBL" is an 'In Bound Link'. When a site links to yours, that link is an IBL. The same thing as a BL (Backlink).
No, you have no control over who links to you and this would be an easy way for a competitor to sink your site. What you SHOULD be careful of is if you are linking to them. This CAN hurt your site and should be avoided.
Google's SERPs are updated constantly.
link:www.domain.com (returns a list of backlinks that google has indexed. Only
a small selection is listed however.)
related:www.domain.com (returns a list of sites that google sees as related
to the topic on your page. At present, not very accurate.)
allinurl:keyword (returns a list of pages and sites that contain the 'keyword'
in their url.)
site:www.domain.com (returns all pages of the domain that google has crawled
allinanchor:keyword (returns a list of pages and sites that contain the keyword
as anchor text in their backlinks.)
cache:www.domain.com (will show the current cache that google has for the page)
info:www.domain.com (will return information that google has for the page)
allintitle:keyword (returns webpages that have the specified keywords in the
intitle:keyword (returns listings of webpages that have only the specific keyword
as the title.)
You can tell if you are banned or not indexed in google, by using the 'site:' command in Google's search.
A drop in backlinks. Obviously when not aggressively acquiring new backlinks to your site from day to day, existing backlinks may even deteriorate in value.
The referring site may disappear, be changed, lose relevance or lose PR itself, reducing the PR that is passed onto you.
They both are! Actually, a more accurate explanation is that Google using multiple datacenters that deliver the results you see. The datacenter that is used depends on your geographical location. It is very common to see a small difference in results depending where you are. Sometimes, results can differ when you move just a few miles away!
Google does not pick on individual sites but instead allows complex mathematical equations to decide the value of your site in any particular search. Although it may sometimes feel like they are picking on you, most times a ban or bad results can be traced to a small piece of bad or misguided SEO.
The Google Page Rank is a system for ranking web pages by their perceived quality.
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important." Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages' relative importance.
Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines dozens of aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.
It updates internally every day or so, (every time google's spider follows a link through to your site) you may see a difference in the SERPs very soon, however you will not see the backlink appear in a link:www.domain.com command search in google, until google do an official backlink update.
There isn't a set schedule as many times an update is skipped or late. Backlinks on average are updated around once a month while PR has seemed to move to quarterly.