Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. In general, the earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search,[1] news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

The acronym "SEOs" can refer to "search engine optimizers," a term adopted by an industry of consultants who carry out web optimization projects on behalf of clients, and by employees who perform SEO services in-house. Search engine optimizers may offer SEO as a stand-alone service or as a part of a broader marketing campaign. Because effective SEO may require changes to the HTML source code of a site and site content, SEO tactics may be incorporated into website development and design. The term "search engine friendly" may be used to describe website designs, menus, content management systems, images, videos, shopping carts, and other elements that have been optimized for the purpose of search engine exposure.

Another class of techniques, known as black hat SEO, search engine poisoning, or spamdexing, uses methods such as link farms, keyword stuffing and article spinning that degrade both the relevance of search results and the quality of user-experience with search engines. Search engines look for sites that employ these techniques in order to remove them from their indices.


White hat versus black hat

SEO techniques are classified by some into two broad categories: techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design, and those techniques that search engines do not approve of and attempt to minimize the effect of, referred to as spamdexing. Some industry commentators classify these methods, and the practitioners who employ them, as either white hat SEO, or black hat SEO.[40] White hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites will eventually be banned once the search engines discover what they are doing.[41]

An SEO tactic, technique or method is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines' guidelines and involves no deception. As the search engine guidelines[26][27][28][42] are not written as a series of rules or commandments, this is an important distinction to note. White hat SEO is not just about following guidelines, but is about ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see.

White hat advice is generally summed up as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the spiders, rather than attempting to game the algorithm. White hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility,[43] although the two are not identical.

White Hat SEO is merely effective marketing, making efforts to deliver quality content to an audience that has requested the quality content. Traditional marketing means have allowed this through transparency and exposure. A search engine's algorithm takes this into account, such as Google's PageRank.

Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One black hat technique uses text that is hidden, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen. Another method gives a different page depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine, a technique known as cloaking.

Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines' algorithms, or by a manual site review. One infamous example was the February 2006 Google removal of both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of deceptive practices.[44] Both companies, however, quickly apologized, fixed the offending pages, and were restored to Google's list.[45] Additionally, many professionals in the SEO industry refer to "gray hat" tactics that may skirt the lines of black and white hat tactics. Numerous references to gray hat techniques have been published, and these usually constitute practices that are not strictly disapproved by search engines, but may go against the spirit of the regulations that search engines have laid out..


As a marketing strategy

SEO is not an appropriate strategy for every website, and other Internet marketing strategies can be more effective, depending on the site operator's goals.[46] A successful Internet marketing campaign may also depend upon building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure results, and improving a site's conversion rate.[47]

SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors.[48] It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic.[49] A top-ranked SEO blog Seomoz.org[50] has suggested, "Search marketers, in a twist of irony, receive a very small share of their traffic from search engines." Instead, their main sources of traffic are links from other websites.[51]

The information on this page is sourced from Wikipedia


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