Search engine optimization basics

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Search engine optimization basics

August 17th, 2006

Search engines are used by all netizens to find useful content. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the art of developing websites that enjoy a good position on search engine results pages. Website designers and developers are keen to see their websites succeed.  Optimizing thier websites for search engine traffic can really help improve their website’s visibility. In this post I examine some of the key factors that affect search engine rankings.


Backlinks are links from other sites to yours. Google, the most popular search engine on the Internet, ranks websites according to the number and quality of backlinks. It gives each web page a page rank or PR. The more websites that link to your website the higher your PR. However the quality of websites linking to yours also matters. Links from websites with high PR are worth more than links to websites with a lesser page rank. Links from websites that contain content similar to yours also helps raise PR. So to achieve a good page rank you need to have links from websites that are popular with and relevant to your target audience.


The second most important factor is content. Content that is rich in keywords can help your website achieve high rankings. Keywords are the phrases that users type in search engines when they look for content.

Good content trumps a fancy website design anyday. But a good website design can help promote content. Search engines only see the source code of your websites. A good website design will ensure that the main content of the site is as far up top in the source code as possible. This makes it easier for the search engine to index your content. The use of CSS to help position content and navigation panels optimally for both search engines and users can help.

Search Engines also rank content within a web page according to the value attached to it by the designer. This means the keywords in the <title> tag of a webpage are more important than the keywords in a <p> tag inside the body of the page. Similarly headings are also ranked with <h1> being higher than <h2> and <h2> being higher than <h3> and so on. So it is important to ensure that the proper XHTML tags are used and the proper keywords placed in them.

Domain name and file names

The domain name of a website can also have an affect on the search engine ranking of a website. A domain name that has the keywords relevant to the content of the website can help improve its ranking. If the domain has lots of backlinks or traffic coming to it then it can also be helpful.

The file names of your webpages are also important. If your webpage name is then it is likely to gain greater importance in search engine rankings than a page with the filename . So it is important to ensure that the relevant keywords are found in the file name. Good content management systems and blog software include search engine friendly url features that make this job easier.

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