Search Engine Optimization: A Brief History of SEO
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of preparing a web page to encourage the search engines to rank it highly on their results pages for certain keywords. The front page of Google might be considered the most valuable piece of “commercial real estate” you could “own”. Some sites get hundreds of visitors PER DAY from organic (FREE) search listings. It can be easy or hard to get there, depending on the keyword phrase.
This process includes both on-page and off-page factors. On-page SEO includes the title of the document, using heading tags, and using the keywords appropriately on the page. Off-page SEO mainly consists of pages that link to your site and the text they use to link to you, called anchor text.
There was a time not too long ago, when on-page optimization was the only thing that really mattered. A few years ago, all you had to do to get onto the first page of a search engine was repeatedly stuff your pages and meta tags full of the same keyword phrase.
The more times the phrase was repeated, the higher the page would appear. But the search engines caught on to this game, and they had to take steps to counteract these effects. They started penalizing sites that repeated keywords too often. They began to ban sites that used “hidden” keywords, which was placing white text on a white background so search engines could see the text, but visitors couldn’t. The search engines had to take action, because their visitors were not getting the quality results they were looking for. The spiders had been basically tricked into sending more traffic to the wrong domain.
Search engines had been working harder and harder to counteract these measures, but for years, they weren’t very effective. Once the search engines caught on to one trick, webmasters found another way to exploit the system.
Then Google developed a unique algorithm that virtually eliminated all of those on-page spam techniques. They gave some weight to on-page factors, but they also included a new system that helped determine the importance of pages.
They decided that sites that were truly high quality would have a large number of sites linking back to them. This system has come to be known as Google PageRank, or PR. Google itself has a PR 10 and new sites usually start with a PR of 0. The higher the PR number a page has, the more important it’s believed to be.
Of course, PR itself also began to be abused. People figured out that all they had to do to increase their PR in Google was to get thousands of links pointing to their site. They started spamming guestbooks, free-for-all link sites, and other low quality sites to get links. Then Google changed their algorithms again to give less weight to links from low quality sites and more weight to higher quality sites.
Another big part of off-page optimization is the actual text that other websites use to link to you, known as anchor text. Anchor text is used to tell people what a particular site is about, but it also tells the search engines what the site is about. If your site sells mens shoes, and you’re trying to optimize a page specifically for “mens shoes,” then you should have sites use that text to link to you as often as you can.
Backlinks are arguably more important than on-page optimization. Backlinks from sites that are in the same niche as your site are weighed especially well, especially if those links are on pages with high PR.
The more links from reputable sites that you can get, the better your page is likely to rank, especially if your on-page factors are also well-optimized. The best way to get backlinks is to use free Web 2.0 social sites such as Squidoo, Hubpages, WordPress, Wetpaint and many others who have high PR and pass on some of that authority to the subpage you can easily create.
Lastly, there’s a new kid on the block with the Google algorithm and it’s called Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI. Basically, LSI means that Google is looking at your on-page content AND the incoming links, not only in terms of your primary keyword phrase, but also taking into account the related or themed keywords that are associated with that phrase. Shoes would be related to clothing and socks, for example. There are ways to analyze the top ranking web pages to see what Google thinks the themed words are for those pages and create content based on those reports. An active blog site can have front page Google rankings within 20 minutes using this strategy and I have done that recently with a few keyword phrases. See my recent post on LSI.
Of course, all this takes time and the expertise to do the above tasks correctly. Most small business owners do not have the time to do this well and often rely on search engine optimization companies, many of whom are unscrupulous and still try to get by with the same old tricks that used to work but clearly do not now.
In contrast, Kaizen Marketing has the necessary skill and also high integrity to get your keywords to the front page of Google and others at an affordable fee structure. We will create an ongoing campaign suggested for 3-6 months minimum to get you top rankings and work to keep you there for an average of $100 per month per keyword phrase. We guarantee your satisfaction or your money back. We are based in Santa Barbara, California but serve companies nationwide.
Contact us, and we will offer you a free site evaluation based on your home page and the top 5 keywords you would like to rank on. We will also offer a 30% discount off the keyword research report that is always our first step. We outsource to a service by SEO Research Labs, who provide a comprehensive report with a minimum of 300 keywords showing search volumes and those with few competitors (low hanging fruit). Contact us to begin now.