Why You Need a SEO Specialist?
By Richard McSwain
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is as much an art as a science. Every major search engine uses its own, closely guarded propriety algorithm for determining rank and position of the sites it indexes.
SEO is a specialty, and is not necessarily something your web designer includes as part of the design package. Typically, it is the designer’s job to produce a site that is functional and aesthetically pleasing while incorporating the content that you supply. A SEO specialist will adjust your content to insure it is optimized for readability by search engines.
Search engines have come a long way since the old days when you could fill a page with words and achieve a high page ranking because the word was repeated hundreds of times, or by filling meta tags with unrelated terms. Today’s search engines are very sophisticated, and give different weight and importance to different elements on the page. A SEO specialist will keep up to date with how the major search engines view the page.
Meta tags consist of text, embedded in the code of the web page, and not visible to the browser. This is usually the first place that web designers and site owners go wrong. For instance, if you sell baseball trading cards, you might think that having baseball and cards listed as key words in a meta tag would help people find your site. In actuality, it could hurt your sites ranking, because you would be in competition against every site that was in any way related to baseball or to cards. Attracting visitors who are looking for baseball scores or playing cards will not increase your sales.
Some search engines actually ignore meta tags, instead relying on key word density and relevance in the body of the page. The density is determined by how often a word or phrase is repeated, and relevance is determined by how relevant those words are to the context of the site.
Key word density should be between four to six percent, meaning that if the text on your site contains one hundred words, your key word “baseball trading cards” should be repeated five or six times. This is where the SEO specialist will need to rewrite your content to conform to this policy.
Relevance is determined by how and where the keywords appear on the site. If the title of the site is Baseball Trading Cards and you have the word popcorn repeated ten times in a row, a search engine will determine that popcorn is not relevant, and disregard it as a key word.
Weight is also given to words that are in a larger or a bold font, and the search engines look to see how the key words are spread out. Using “baseball cards” in as many different sentences as possible will give the term much more weight than having one paragraph that just repeats the same phrase over and over.
Link backs are another important aspect. The more related sites that link to yours, the higher index ranking you will receive, but relevance is again the key. There are link farm services that maintain hundreds of web sites that do nothing except link back to other sites. Many are recognized by the search engines and are considered cheating, and can decrease your site’s index rank. A SEO specialist will assist with creating relevant links to and from other legitimate sites, and create blog and social network pages that link to you.
As you can see, there is a lot involved in achieving high search engine rankings, and there is no magic bullet that will shoot your website to the top of the search engine list. A SEO specialist will know what the search engines are looking for, and optimize your site accordingly.