SEO – What is it? You may think you know, but there is a lot to know and more to learn every day. Let’s start with unraveling the acronym.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. The practice came about as a result of the shake out of search engines in the late 1990’s. In 1997, nobody knew who would emerge as the leading search engine. Google hadn’t been introduced yet, Yahoo! was a simple directory, and Ask still courted Jeeves. Some search engines that were alive then have moved on to other things – PPC management, directory submissions, paid inclusion, or just flat don’t exist any more. Some were bought up by bigger people with more money. Que sera sera.
By 2001, the search landscape was entirely different. Google had emerged as a fierce competitor, Yahoo! was acquiring search technology, MSN was up and coming, and Ask still asked Jeeves.
Over time, webmasters began to notice certain types of results rising in the search engines while others fell. Through experimentation, certain things were found out to be more effective in getting good listings. But the things that were most effective in 2001 are not necessarily most effective now. The search engines have improved their practices too. Nevertheless, today, I’d say the following are general principles to consider in any SEO campaign your small business operates:
- Keyword-rich content
- Strong link building campaign
- A good internal link structure
- Effective h2 and h3 tags
- Title tag with prominent primary keyword placement
- Page headline with keyword
- Well-written description with your keywords used
- Excellent design
- Navigable website
Notice I didn’t mention keywords tags. They’re useful, but not necessary. This list represents the basics. There are other things to consider, but consider this list your starting point.
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