Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization or SEO as it is often called is a vital and to most people scary thing. The truth behind the matter is quite different. It is easy and simple.

Search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) have robots that crawl the web know as crawlers with web addresses like googlebot.com. Basically they go from link to link and use words in webpages to determine which searchers will want a certain page. There are algorithims and stuff that turn this simple process into a confusing affair for most people. The key is to keep it simple. If you want more search engine traffic to your website use words that label what you are talking about. My best example is "bottom-up meshing in abaqus". I wrote a long post about how to do it and as soon as the search engines found it with all sorts of key words like mesh, abaqus, and bottom I turned into a celebrity of this one particular type of meshing.

How does this apply to you getting more hits. Well, pictures, Flash animation, and video are not read by search engines. Wikipedia, which is a very simple website composed nearly entirely of html (the most simple programming code I can think of) often comes up in search results because it is loaded with words and links. Those are the two things you need and in that order:
  1. Words are the blood of search engines. Searches are done with words and so far they only find words. If you want to become the most famous plumber in Boston, you need to make a website that incorporates words like plumber, Boston, best, maybe even the word famous to get more search engine hits.
  2. Links are the nerves of the internet. A click on a link sends a signal somewhere else. If you want to get noticed by a website or better yet a blogger, link to their website. If enough people click on the link they will notice that they are getting traffic from your website and go check out what you have. This applies to search engines because their robots go from link to link to find other webpages. So the more links you have coming into your website the higher you will appear in search results.
That is all there is to SEO. Before you go out and spend a dozen hours trying to find a secret or pay someone to help with search engine optimization just keep in mind words and links.

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