Search engine optimization or SEO is the careful placement, wording, and analysis of keywords within a Web site, and even the restructuring of a site itself, in order to improve search engine ranking results. Successful optimization means more qualified, high-quality traffic to your site, which can result in more sales and greater popularity of your content. Your web host is very importnat for SEO.
Site operators can undertake optimization by themselves, or outsource to a consultant or a Web hosting company. A consultant or Web host takes on the task of enhancing a site by eliminating potential site design problems, selecting better keywords; title tags; meta-tags; keyword strategies; and by actually making submissions to the search engines on the site operator's behalf. A consultant or Web hosting firm will analyze a site to ensure that all site design problems are eliminated.
Major site problems include the use of frames, which most search engines are not able to index. In order to increase a site's ranking, a consultant would change the structure of the site so that it does not include frames, or includes the <noframes> tag, in order to ensure that content is available to the search engine for indexing.
Optimizers will also review your site to ensure that dynamic URLs do not contain critical content. Search engines will not index any URL that contains elements such as commas, equal-to signs or dollar signs. As a result, a consultant will suggest that such links not be submitted to search engines.
Furthermore, a consultant will recommend that Flash animations be integrated carefully into a Web site, as hyperlinks within Flash cannot be indexed. Flash that is integrated within a proper HTML navigation framework will obtain better ranking results than sites completely built in Flash.
The main task that consultants or hosting companies undertake however is the development of specific keywords. To be listed correctly in the search engines, each page of a site needs to be optimized. Since the keywords to be target will be used throughout the optimization process, choosing the right keywords is essential. An optimizer works to develop keywords that would best attract a target audience.
Keywords should be integrated into multiple hyperlinks within the site to increase its rank. Consultants and hosts will also work to revamp title tags, so that at least one or two keywords are incorporated. Tag line limits should be restricted to between 40 to 70 characters to ensure better search engine results. Keywords should also be incorporated all throughout Web page text flow.
Copywriting should be optimized to include the most relevant keywords and utilize phrases that have been used in meta-tags. Each page of a Web site should contain at least 200 words in order to provide the Web site with a higher search engine ranking. Consultants and hosts will also optimize meta-tags, special hypertext mark-up specifically developed to help search engines find out important information about a site.
They will also ensure that "alt" tags, or alternative text for images are included throughout the site, since search engines can also capture that information.
Most importantly, however, consultants or hosts will advise you what not to do in order to optimize a site. They will advise against "spamming" search engines, which involves placing hundreds of hidden keywords within a Web page. Such actions can get a site blacklisted from a search engine. Once the site has been optimized, the consultant or host will submit the revamped site to all major search engines.
Consultants normally charge a fee based on the scope of the project and time required to execute changes. Web hosting companies normally offer a specialized consulting package or software that will prep Web pages or develop keywords.