Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine OptimizationSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) provides a means to reach target audiences through improved web site positioning in search engines. The following tips are some basic best practices to consider in optimizing your site for improved search engine performance.

Identifying Target Search Terms

The first step is to identify the search terms (generally referred to as keywords) for which you want your site pages to be found in search engines – i.e., words that a prospective visitor might type into a search engine to find relevant web sites. Target terms should be at least two words in length and relevant to the content of your site pages. Your intuition and team brainstorming are good places to start with key term selection.

However, there are tools designed to assist you in validating your choices and researching search term possibilities you may have never even considered. The most popular such tool is WordTracker ( WordTracker assists in strategically selecting terms that are popular enough to bring you visibility with target audiences, yet not so general that a prominent ranking will be difficult.

Once you have selected the search terms you want to target, the next step is to integrate the terms into your site pages to make them relevant. Of course, it’s no use having a good search engine ranking for terms for which no one is looking.

Inserting Target Terms throughout Page Copy

While there are a number of variables search engines use to produce the results they deliver, the visible text content of your pages is a primary factor that search engines utilize to find, index and deliver your pages to prospective site visitors.

Once you have identified the terms you want to target, you’ll need to incorporate them into your site pages so that a search engine can identify the page as being relevant for the search terms you are targeting and produce it among the results it displays.

Make sure that your target search term appears at least once in your introductory paragraph and page header so that search engines—and visitors—can immediately recognize the term in the content above all your other page copy and give context to the content of your page.

An excellent resource for SEO ranking factors used by Google is in a post by Backlinko.

Keyword Density: How Much is too Much?

Opinions vary on how many times you need to repeat your key terms to get results. There may not be a perfect % for you to aim for – but I do think you run the risk of tripping keyword penalty filters if you, for instance, were to keyword stuff a page and every element on it with your focus terms. Make it natural and write for people not search engines.

Linking Structure and Strategy

One tool that you can use to “see what the search engines see” is to use a search engine simulator, such as LinkVendor ( This information is useful in “tuning up” your site to improve the text that the search engine sees.

One of the primary ways that search engines find site pages is by following the links from your home page to other inside pages. One of the best methods to accomplish this is by providing a road map for search engines to follow and index site pages. This is called a Site Map, and contains simple text links to all of the pages on your site.

Link Popularity: The Importance of Inbound Links

Another way that search engines find your site pages is by following links to your site from other external sites. Having such links to your site not only provides search engines with additional opportunity to find your pages, but also provides increased visibility for your site by putting it in front of visitors on another site.

This is known as “link popularity”. One way to think about link popularity is that each external link to your site counts as a “vote” for your site.

Because search engines also know how to count the link popularity of the sites linking to yours, a single link from a popular site will weigh more heavily than many links from obscure and/or unpopular sites. When it comes to getting links, quality over quantity is what matters.

If you want to research pages that currently link to your site, go to and type in your URL proceeded by “link:” (without the quotes – e.g. link: the results will give you a list of all pages listed within Google that link to your site.

Measuring Success

Before you begin optimizing your pages, note the rank of the pages you are optimizing for your target terms. By far the most important search engine is Google, and you can find out your Google page rank by adding the page rank button to the Google toolbar. For instructions see using this site If you know the rank of a given page before you begin SEO, you can then use that rank as a baseline to compare against your post-SEO rankings once Google has re-indexed your pages.

Don’t forget that SCORE offers free mentoring to any business owner that requests it. Contact us here.


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