Search Engine Optimization
This article is for the do-it-yourselfers who want to set up their own website through one of the many online free website services. When you get your site up and running you're going to be inundated with emails from people offering to get your website to the top of all the search engine lists through proper SEO, Search Engine Optimization techniques. We get many inquiries from people asking just exactly what is an SEO and how can this benefit me.
SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the more popular buzzwords or phrases in website design lingo. In theory it follows the principles of how search engines create the list of sites you see when you perform a search. With the millions of searches that are done every day, Google and the other search engines compile a list of the most commonly used words or phrases that people type when they're searching for information. These words or phrases are known as keywords.
For example, lets say you wanted to look up book publishing on the internet. You would go to Google and type in a word or phrase. Some choices might be publishing, self publishing, publishers, authors assistance, and probably a hundred other choices. Google keeps track of everything that is typed in and creates lists of how often each of the different keywords is used. SEO specialists work on the theory that the more often you use the most popular keywords in your website, the higher it will appear in the search results.
This has lead to an entire industry of companies offering to design your website to use as many common phrases as can be fit onto the page. Unfortunately the homepages of some websites are so covered with these common phrases that there is literally no information on them. Google has started to fight back by creating algorithms [these are mathematical formulas that Google uses to create their search results] that limit the number of SEO words or phrases that they will accept on a homepage. And they will punish you for using too many.
Another problem with the over-use of keywords is that over time these words or phrases change, so what was popular last year may not be popular this year. I don't want to minimize the importance of a few properly chosen key words, because keywords may help people find your site; but it is the content that keeps people interested and coming back.
A well-designed website will use a few important words or phrases appropriate to your site on your homepage and will be filled with content laid out in an appealing manner. However, the emphasis here should be on good design. In truth, when designing a website, the most important attributes are fluidity and responsiveness of design. These are the new buzzwords and refer to how well your site can be viewed on multiple devices like computers, tablets and phones. So make sure to check out our articles on fluid and responsive design.