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What is Search Engine Optimization?Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of applying optimization strategies and techniques to a web site that helps it to rank better in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search engine optimization is not a rocket ride to the top of search engine rankings. Rocket rides are rare, usually short-lived, and often followed by a spectacular crash because they involve illegal tactics that are often caught nearly as quickly as they work. I guess that's OK for someone that doesn't mind starting over with a new domain each time they get caught.
True search engine optimization is a long term strategy. It's a tactical plan that builds your site's trust and authority with the search engines.
Real SEO is a dual strategy involving on-site and on-page optimization, plus smart link building. On-page and on-site optimization are two different things. On-page optimization is about optimizing the content of individual pages. On-site optimization concerns the site structure. Link building involves getting high value, one-way links pointing to your site. Reciprocal links are practically worthless from a SEO perspective.
The techniques and strategies employed should comply with the search engine's terms of service. In other words, while you can do what you want with your web site because it is your web site, the search engines can do what they want with their web site for the same reason. If you want their assistance in driving traffic to your web site, you need to follow their rules.
Beware of False OptimizationSearch Engine Optimization can be risky if you get your information from the wrong sources. There's a lot of old, outdated, and search-engine-illegal advice online that can adversely effect your site's search engine rankings. In extreme cases, your web site could be banned.
You could spend days or even weeks researching optimization methods and spend even more time applying the advice you find . . . only to have your site banned because you stumbled into bad advice by a pseudo-expert who only parrots what others have said.
Such an "expert" could cost you dearly, not only in search engine inclusion and positioning, but in the amount of time and energy wasted as well—to speak nothing of your high hopes being dashed.
Unfortunately, there's an even darker side of SEO. A lot of webmasters are lured by false promises into following advice that is strictly prohibited by the search engines. This is typically called "black hat" SEO. Following black hat advice can easily result in your site being penalized and sent to the supplemental index or delisted entirely.
Real and True Search Engine OptimizationOn the other side, the side of SEO I live by, is white hat SEO. This includes things like: keyword research and placement, source code optimization, building strength of position, target selection, naming conventions, content quality, site structure, and other strategies I can't divulge here since I earn part of my income selling my White Hat SEO manual.
Other factors that affect search engine ranking are external to the site, including link strategies, hosting variables, link popularity, and domain age.
I've used the same search-engine-legal optimization strategies since 1997, along with new ideas I've developed along the way, and have never run afoul of the search engines because of my own doing. I've always enjoyed good rankings for many keywords at many search engines for topics as diverse as carpeting, recreational real estate and, of course, web design.
Good Search Engine Rankings are a ChoiceGetting good search engine rankings is not an accident or a matter of dumb luck—it's a choice. The choice is to let your site drown in a sea of over one trillion* other pages, or to optimize your site and climb over all those unoptimized websites.
It isn't difficult once you understand the strategies. If you're interested in higher search engine rankings and drawing more visitors to your site I encourage you to take a look at White Hat SEO and Industrial Strength Link Building. These two products, 102-pages and 142-pages respectively, cover everything you need to know about getting high rankings.
PS: You might want to check my Specials page, sometimes I bundle those two products together and offer a significant discount for buying both.
*Google announced in 2008 that they had over one trillion pages indexed.
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