Search engine optimization or SEO, is the process (or activity) which enhances the visibility or listing of a web-page in search engine results. Research has shown that the earlier a website is listed in search results, the more visitors it receives from that particular search engine. SEO may focus on various types of search, such as local search, video search or industry-specific search. Search engine optimization, as a marketing strategy, considers which search engine is preferred by the target audience, how search engines work and what keywords people type for searching content. There are numerous optimizing techniques; however the major tactics include editing the webpage’s content and increasing the number of inbound links or back links.
Primitive engines have suffered a lot from ranking manipulation. They had to ensure that their results enlisted only relevant websites rather than the pages excessively filled up with keywords. If a search engine was over-cautious, such as exempting a relevant page, it could lose users. By 2004, search engines incorporated various undisclosed factors in ranking algorithms to cope with the link manipulation problem. Many SEO service providers like Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz and Aaron Wall have studied several ways of optimizing a webpage, and have published their views in online blogs.
Search engine optimization techniques can be classified into two main categories:
• White hat techniques
• Black hat techniques
A search engine optimization technique is deemed white hat when it involves no deception and conforms with the search engines rules. White hat techniques include creating content for users and then making it easily accessible to spiders, rather than trying to trick the algorithm. White hat SEO is like web development which enhances accessibility, though these two are not identical.
Black hat search engine optimization techniques enhance search result visibility in ways which are disapproved of by search engines and involve the use of deception. One technique uses hidden text. Another technique is called “cloaking” and involves giving a different page, depending on whether the page was requested by a human or a search engine. However, it should be remembered that search engines penalize websites they find employing black hat methods, either by reducing their ranking or eliminating them altogether from search results. One example was the removal of BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany by Google in 2006,
A number of specific methods can be employed for enhancing the visibility of a website within search results. Inter-page cross linking on the same website to increase links may improve its prominence in search results. Another method is to include frequently searched key-words and phrases in the page content, so as to make it relevant to a large variety of search queries may direct traffic to the website. Regularly updating content is also useful as it forces search engines to crawl back frequently. Adding relevant keywords to a page’s meta data, including the title tag and meta description, will also improve the relevance of a website’s search listings.