Search engine optimization (SEO) is a mystery to many online newcomers, a road to happiness for savvy web content producers and a dead end for all the people who try to misuse it. Prior to the new century most people were not very familiar with how search engines worked other than they were portals that could help find websites in the ballpark of what they were searching for. Not even the search engines themselves knew how powerful they were. As the internet evolved, so did search engines, helping website owners find their niche audiences.
At first spammers and scammers were able to manipulate search rankings just by uploading weak content pages that overused keywords. They had a long list of now outdated tricks to try to get top listings in search engines without giving online searchers anything worth reading. One of the worst pranks they pulled was writing scripts that were invisible to the user but readable to search engines. They also created pages full of meaningless jive talk with keywords mixed in. Another trick was creating several sites that were interlinked without having any real content as users were turned in useless circles. All of these tricks were eventually labeled “black hat” and became grounds for getting banned from search engine rankings.
While there are still novices who think they can fool search engines, most of them do not get very far anymore. The web content writers who do move ahead use “white hat” SEO, which encompasses the list of guidelines issued by search engines. As these internet search giants have become more sophisticated, they have constantly updated their algorithms to reward quality content providers while punishing all the cheaters who do not offer real web content. SEO is instantly demystified once you learn the difference between white hat and black hat.
- Understand what search engines are looking for, which is to serve online surfers with the content they are looking for.
- The more your web pages move toward quality content and far away from weak useless content, the more favorable treatment you will likely get from search engines.
- Keep in mind that the last thing any search engine wants is to send users to crummy waste of time websites.
Remember that some of the worst and most penalized websites are just web pages of links that go nowhere or to dead websites. Avoid this amateurish mistake.
- Forget about trying to fake out Google and concentrate on the real reason your site is online, which is to develop a following. If you create useful content, your traffic will likely grow from word of mouth.
- Start with keywords and build stories and reports from them. Create meaningful pages that cannot be found elsewhere, since your site can be penalized for duplicating someone else’s content.
- Give users a reason to come back by providing compelling information. Make sure keywords are used in the titles and bodies of your web pages but do not overuse them.
The more niche topics you can use to make your site unique, the more likely search engines will want to make you the star of your keywords. If you have the only site on Earth with certain keywords then you may dominate in search engines for those phrases. While you can help your search rankings by swapping links with quality sites, you can actually hurt your rankings if you trade links with low quality sites such as those that have more ads than content. Let useful original content be your guide and you will have an edge over your competition.
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