Behind The Magic
This page peeks behind the curtain for those of you who want to know more about the nuts and bolts of search engine optimization. The focus here: leveraging your website content to rank higher on Google. That's the simple precept of "organic SEO."
One of the big secrets behind the magic of SEO is that a lot of it's not magic at all. Just common-sense courtesy to your visitors. That means clear, simple, descriptive writing that gets right to the point and includes calls to action. It renounces jargon and avoids stuffing the content with search engine keywords. There's a place for those, but your actual articles must use them discretely and judiciously. So, this aspect of SEO is much more about competent wordsmithing than about technical wizardry.
Staking Out Your Keyword Space
SEO also is the art and science of envisioning the keyword phrases which Web surfers are likely to type in to find a company like yours. Your competitors, if they're on the ball, already own the big common ones. The SEO practitioner knows how to scope out the high-power keywords currently in play in your online market sphere. Independent of what your competitors are doing, online programs exist which will generate and assess the relative power of other potential keywords. If you're trying to break into a keyword niche, consider mining non-obvious permutations that are being fought over less fiercely.
Here's where things do start to get really technical. Any website nowadays should have built-in an SEO database management program like the one we use at javelincommunications.com. It allows the skilled operator to custom-tailor page titles, page descriptions and page addresses. In all three of those critical elements, your keywords need to be embedded. But it must be done in a creative way that endows the listing with what webmasters call "clickworthiness;" the content has to be catchy and descriptive, or nobody clicks.
Simply packing in mega keywords will actually hurt you because you won't build traffic. (Remember that traffic, however you get it, is a major driver of search engine ranking.) There are best-practice technical guidelines for how many characters you can use and how best to deploy keywords in page titles, meta descriptions and content. By the way, SEO also can be applied to your pictures and graphics. Just as critically, it should become part of your site architecture. We can actually inject keywords into your website's DNA.
The technology that enables all of this is very powerful and very complicated. It's easy to screw up, unfortunately, causing tons of broken links and "not-found" pages in your Google results. Just to master the programming takes time and considerable experience. SEO content optimization also takes a lot of time to accomplish, not just because of all the keyboarding but because of all the thinking. Again, we're not talking about magic, but the know-how behind SEO is definitely arcane.
Search Engine Propagation
The job doesn't end when your content has been properly optimized. Your old content will remain cached and available for two to three weeks. Why? Search engines send out spiders to catalogue ("crawl") your website. But only at sporadic intervals. It will stay that way unless the spiders are alerted that major changes to the site have occurred. The SEO practitioner will do that for you, so your new listings get inventoried fast. There's also a way to push individual pages into your search results overnight; and obtain overnight deletion of any obsolete pages cluttering up your search results. Obsolete pages also can be redirected to newly optimized pages, so you don't lose traffic during the transition.
If your website is slow and balky, that's hostile to visitors. Accordingly, Google will dock your page ranking. It's possible to speed up sites with aggressive caching and by optimizing image sizes so that they don't eat up excessive memory. There are other fairly simple behind-the-scenes techniques to compress the programming scripts which run the website. Performance can generally benefit from keeping your site lean, clean and tidy. Delete anything you're not using and save it somewhere else besides your website server. Eliminate duplicate content, especially. All that old junk is going to slow the website down every time a user clicks to open it.
Mobile optimization must be viewed as a subset of Google's mandate for good site performance. Non-mobile sites will automatically get a lower quality grade. Compare two webites which have equal quality in desktop view. The only difference is that one has been mobile optimized. The non-mobile site will be classified as a weak performer and assigned a lower position in the index.
We Humbly Suggest
Our constant refrain to clients: It's worth the extra money to have us content-optimize the site at the same time we build it. You're eventually going to get into SEO anyway, if you expect your website to deliver new customers. Launch the new site, and your new SEO, together with a bang.
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Enough about us, though. You need a website that converts visitors into customers. Plus maybe some highly targeted Internet marketing? Rather than drone on about our incomparable passion and superhero creative powers, we'd much rather hear about your project.
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