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The process that is aimed at improving a website's ranking among search results on leading search engines is often referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). This may be targeted at vertical search that is specific to an industry, local search or image search, among others.
The efforts aimed at SEO include ensuring that the search engines can index the content of the site easily and that the content that is uploaded is unique and highly relevant. The search engine robots should be able to access the site fully and any problems that are likely to prevent these from doing so should be removed. The site's structure and coding might have to be looked at, for this purpose. Improving the presentation of the site could also make it more appealing for the users. Other methods, which are not approved of by search engines, are called spamdexing and include techniques such as reciprocal linking and stuffing the site with keywords that are likely to attract the desired type of visitors.
Since the source code of the website often has to be modified suitably for SEO, techniques for optimization can form a part of the design and development of a website. Therefore, companies offering such services offer SEO services as well, nowadays. Those shopping carts, site designs, systems for the management of content and menus that are fairly simple from the point of view of optimization, may be described as friendly towards SEO.
Ensuring that sites get listed on search engines:
Although it is not possible to guarantee the ranks that the owners of a site may wish to specify, certain search engines operate programs that ensure that the site will be indexed in return for a certain amount of money. Otherwise, the sites have to be submitted manually for crawling. Whether or not a page is to be indexed may depend upon a variety of factors, including how far away a page is located from the root directory. However, some sites allow the submission of XML feeds that aid the discovery of those pages that cannot be accessed by following links automatically.
The programs that guarantee inclusion in lieu of payment have attracted a considerable amount of criticism, of late.
Preventing specific content from getting listed:
A text file in the domain's root directory can be utilized for preventing specific directories or files from being crawled by the search engines? spiders, by the site's webmaster. Meta tags can also be used for this purpose.
Pages that are specific to logging in and that have content that is specific to users are generally the ones that are not to be crawled by the search engines.
Legitimate versus illegitimate techniques:
As mentioned earlier, the SEO techniques whose effects the search engines try to minimize are known as spamdexing. On the other hand, those techniques that are recommended by search engines are considered significant towards ensuring excellent rankings for the website in the long run. As and when the sites that employ spamdexing are found to be doing so by the search engines, these are excluded from the databases and banned.
The legitimate techniques, or those that are in accordance with the guidelines followed by search engines, are free from deception. This implies that the content that a user accesses on the website is the same as that indexed by the search engine.
Therefore, to summarize, these techniques seek not to create content aimed at search engines, but to create content aimed at providing maximum utility to those who visit the website and then making this content easily accessible to them, through SEO.
The illegitimate techniques include designing different pages for search engines and for human visitors, besides including text that is visible to the search engines and not to the human visitors, among other methods.
Marketing through search engine optimization:
SEO may not be the best tool for achieving the marketing goals for a website and may have to be combined with other tools, techniques and strategies, in order to attain success. However, something it can definitely do is to help increase the number of visitors i.e. bring about an increase in traffic and, if properly done, traffic of good quality, as well. Since people are known to scan web pages, including those containing search results, downwards from the top and from the left towards the right, it is obvious that placement among the highest ranked search results can dramatically increase the number of people that are likely to visit the website.