Needle in a Haystack?
There are millions of websites and billions of words of information on the Internet. You would think that finding anything would be like looking for a needle in a proverbial haystack.
Fortunately some of the savviest entrepreneurs have hired some of the smartest geeks to write some of the coolest computer programs ever written that allow us to find just about anything out there on the World Wide Web. These programs I refer to are what you and I call search engines.
The search engines travel throughout the Web reading web pages and saving information about these pages for future reference, a process called indexing. When a page has been visited and stored away, we say that the web page has been indexed.
What are Keywords?
When we want to find something online, we bring up our favorite search engine and type some words into its search box. These words which closely relate to the information we want are called search terms or keywords.
We enter keywords, and the search engine responds with pages of results called search engine result pages – SERPs for short – that it retrieves from its index files.
If we are happy with the results, fine. Otherwise we try entering a different keyword combination, or we change the order of the search terms and try again.
Every Search Engine Must Do This
A good search engine is one that consistently finds us the web pages that are the most relevant to our search based on our chosen keywords.
The top priority of a search engine must be to retrieve and return to us the most relevant and helpful web pages. If it doesn’t, then we’ll look to a competitor’s search engine instead.
Search engines always focus on satisfying users, not website owners and not even paying advertisers.
Crime and Punishment
Website owners sometimes try to deceive search engines by stuffing keywords into their web pages completely out of context. They hope thereby to drive their pages up to the top of the search results.
This tactic, a form of spam called spamdexing because it spams the indexing process, once fooled search engines, but that is no longer the case.
Spamdexing can be spotted by sophisticated search engine algorithms and punished appropriately. A site might even be delisted altogether.
Once this happens it could be a long time before the site re-establishes its credibility and regains its standing.
Golden Rule of Web Design
Create your web site content with your visitors in mind. Your visitors and search engines will react favorably, and everybody will win in the long run.
With keyword research you can find the optimal keywords to use in your web pages, words or phrases that many people are searching for, but not so many that the competition for those keywords will be too fierce.
There are keywords that people use when they are doing research and there are ones that they use when they’re ready to buy.
Keyword selection is both an art and a science. There’s much room for creativity.
However, whatever keywords you select to use in your web page, keep this in mind:
Somebody will read what you write, so always be sure that what you write is worth reading.
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