Friday, November 14, 2008

Basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines results. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it "ranks," the more searchers will visit that site. SEO can also target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work and what people search for. Optimizing a website primarily involves editing its content and HTML coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.

I’ve heard this question over and over again from many friends. How do I control the appearance of my site info on Google SERPS. Many think that it is not possible to, but in fact it is very simple, provided you understand how Google sees it.........

Googe search result anatomy

1. The Page Title
In the above figure, marked 1 is the page title. As you may have guessed already the page title is the data that is pulled from your title information in the head section of your page.This is the data given in the tags.

2. The description or the text seen right below the title (Snippets)
This information (numbered 2 in the figure) is normally seen as a text in around 25 words. This information is taken from three sources.
(i) The meta description

(ii)The DMOZ open directory - If the site is listed in DMOZ, the description is picked from there.
(iii)When the information is not available from the above two places, google searches for contextual content from your sites copy and picks up relevant information from either a single paragraph or one or more sentences from all over the page.
One thing to note here is the it is approximately 160 characters long, so if you would like to write an attractive meta description that would prove as an ad-copy and more visitors would be prompted to click on your URL. Make it attractive as well as relevant.

Of course, this is taken from the sites web url. It also takes into consideration your preference settings in the webmasters account. If you had preferred it as http://yourdomain without the www, it would show that way in the SERPs.This is the page Google will take you to when clicked.

4.Page size
Just next to the URL there is a tiny text showing the file size of the document you will be directed to when clicked.

Right next to the page size,a blue link is shown that will take you to the cached version of the website. The cached version is simply the copy of the webpage google saved when it last visited your website. If it had visited your site last week, then you’ll have the page from last week.

6.Similar pages
This link will take you to other similar pages to the one that is listed above.

7.Note this
This link will help you to use the Google notebook tool. You can save off the current link for reference later on the notebook. Just a quick one for noting down things.

8. Plus box and Stock info
If the website or the comany is listed at the stock exchange, google will display it’s shortcode, and if you click on it a small menu will be displayed showing the graph of how the company did at the stock exchange for the last few months.

The site links are very interesting. Many people wonder why only a few sites(popular ones) have the site links shown while others does not. I know for a fact that Google does not take money from webmasters for displaying it. Because the company that I’m working for right now has sitelinks but we did not pay Google to show it, it happened automatically. I’ve discussed about sitelinks here, you may want to check out.

10.More results
This link will take you to more pages from the site. In the example, it will show the next few inside pages from the starbucks website, apart form the ones those are shown in the sitelinks.


A few things worth mentioning here. Google sometimes shows maps of the office location etc of the company in it’s search results. This is triggered when the companies physical address is given in a very evident place in the page. Again like the sitelinks this is triggered only for websites with great traffic and user interaction.

Sometimes, near the cache link Google will show when they crawled the website last. Ex: 12 hours earlier. This happens only for fresh results. I believe there is a threshold value for the time so any searches made within that time will be shown the freshness of the Google crawl.

So that basically rounds up the basic anatomy of a Google search result and how we can SEO details on our website to control how the information appears on Google SERPs.

Hope you enjoyed it.

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