November 1, 2010
Anyone with an Internet presence really wants to achieve maximum visibility within the search engine result pages, or SERPS. As the Internet has rapidly expanded over the past few years, so the major search engines have attracted the brightest brainpower to their labs, in order to come up with algorithms that work. Today, these complex pieces of computer code are indeed sophisticated. Anyone who searches for the most obscure phrase can see a mountain of results appear before them in the blink of an eye. We would all like to know exactly what goes into the programming of those algorithms and indeed, much of it is a closely guarded secret.
An industry has grown up to support the concept of search engine optimization. We have a pretty shrewd idea now what we need to do to elevate our pages within those SERPS.
Optimization falls into two separate categories: online and off-line. It appears that the off-line element is of more importance, specifically the building of appropriate backlinks, votes of confidence if you will, from other sites to yours. However, you must pay attention to on-site optimization as well.
Years ago, on page optimization for SEO purposes meant “stuffing” your appropriate keywords into the body of the content on your webpage but with little regard to rich content. In those early days, it may have been possible to influence your position within search results by overwhelming use of your chosen keyword. At that time, quantity may have been better than quality, but not anymore.
Today, as the search engine robots are so sophisticated, we need to compose our webpages thoughtfully and carefully. Above all else, we must do keyword research to ensure that we are targeting the right words for our chosen niche. It’s important to come up with supporting keywords, sometimes known as secondary keywords, to back up our credibility. The engines look for the presence of these other keywords, as a means of validating your principal contents.
There is a wide body of opinion, much of which is very conflicting, about the ideal keyword density for SEO purposes. Some experts reckon that you can get away with a density of as much as 8%, meaning that your keyword or keyword phrase appears eight times out of every hundred words on your page. You have to remember that your content needs to be readable and if it is obvious to you, when reading it, that the keyword is overused, then you’re likely to have scoring points deducted. 1 to 2% seems a far more reasonable and likely goal.
There are many different tools that you can use to come up with search engine keywords to help find the best keywords to help your purpose. Perhaps the most well known is Google’s own, free tool. When you are starting a process of discovery and optimization, one of the main keyword research tips to bear in mind is that you should almost always aim for a “long tail” word, or a more descriptive version, specifically highlighting your niche. You might find it very difficult to rank for the word “dog,” for example and might be much better off optimizing for something like “golden retriever training,” instead!
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