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What is SEO? SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. This is a key tool to having search engine users find your site. Who needs SEO? To put it simply, if you have a website, you need SEO.

What can SEO do? Search Engine Optimization is practicing optimization of a web site by improving external and internal aspects to boost traffic the site receives from search engines. Well, this brings about another question, does it not? How do search engines work?

Search engines crawl the web for the keywords typed in the search line. Of the approximate 20 billion web pages, only about 8-10 billion are actually searched. Search engines also index documents after the pages have been crawled. This must be managed tightly to keep future searches down to mere seconds. These searches are generally called requests, and hundreds of millions requests in search engines are made every day, and those requests must be processed. After these requests have been processed (in seconds), the results are then ranked and displayed.

The results must be measured for relevance and popularity. Relevance is always done by you, however the search engine does most of the work for you. The more times the word or phrase appears in the document, the higher the relevance that document will be to your search. For example, if your keyword phrase was "cranberry bog", the more times that particular phrase appears in a document, the more relevant to your search it becomes. A document that has the phrase "cranberry bog" only once will have much less relevance to another document that may have it ten to twelve times. How so? If "cranberry bog" is mentioned only once, perhaps it is used only as an example. But if "cranberry bog" is used more often, chances are that document is talking about the bogs, harvesting cranberries, and the cranberry business itself. This is the type of document – and result – you want when you are doing a search. When it comes to popularity, it is akin to relevance. If a document is referenced often by other documents, as well as high search relevance, the popularity of the document increases.

In 2005, a poll was taken about what search engines get used the most. Not surprising is Google is #1, followed by Yahoo!, and then MSN. AOL, powered by Google, is fourth, followed by Ask Jeeves.

Search engines look for when trying to value a link five main things. They are:

  • the anchor text of a link (the visible characters that hyperlink to other documents or the web,)
  • global popularity of the site (how many other sites point to your site, the higher the popularity,)
  • popularity of site in relevant communities (the raw popularity across the web,)
  • the text directly surrounding the link (the text directly around the phrase has more importance than what is on the rest of the document,) and
  • the subject matter of the linking page (if the linking pages are on the same topic, they will have a greater value than something that has a different topic.)
Targeting the right terms is crucial to success. Use a keyword selection process that will measure conversion rate, predicted traffic, value per customer, and keyword competition.

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