Sunday, March 7, 2010

How SEO Works

We all hear about SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) on a regular basis, yet we are not sure about what is exactly is. How it works? We just feel that SEO is a complex thing and it requires expertise to be called SEO champion. Well not all is true. SEO is not as complex as we think, yet proper thinking and analysis will go a long way in making SEO effective.

You've finished your web design, uploaded your files, and set up your blog, but you're still not getting as many visitors as you hoped for. What is wrong here? Chances are you haven't started working on one of the most important ways to market your site and which is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Search Engine Optimization refers to the collection of techniques and practices that allow a site to get more traffic from search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing). SEO can be divided into two main areas: off-page SEO (work that takes place separate from the website) and on-page SEO (website changes to make your website rank better).

One of the basic truths in SEO is that even if you do all the things that are necessary to do, this does not automatically guarantee you top ratings but if you neglect basic rules, this certainly will not go unnoticed.

SEO can be a 30-minute job or a permanent activity. Sometimes it is enough to do some generic SEO in order to get high in search engines – for instance, if you are a leader for rare keywords, then you do not have a lot to do in order to get decent placement. But in most cases, if you really want to be at the top, you need to pay special attention to SEO and devote significant amounts of time and effort to it. Even if you plan to do some basic SEO, it is essential that you understand how search engines work and which items are most important in SEO.

Keywords – the Most Important Item in SEO

Keywords are the most important SEO item for every search engine – actually they are what search strings are matched against. So you see that it is very important that you optimize your site for the right keywords. This seems easy at first but when you get into more detail, it might be a bit confusing to correctly determine the keywords. But with a little research and thinking the problem of selecting the right keywords to optimize for can be solved.

1. Choosing the Right Keywords to Optimize For

It seems that the time when you could easily top the results for a one-word search string is centuries ago. Now, when the Web is so densely populated with sites, it is next to impossible to achieve constant top ratings for a one-word search string. Achieving constant top ratings for two-word or three-word search strings is a more realistic goal. If you examine closely the dynamics of search results for popular one-word keywords, you might notice that it is so easy one week to be in the first ten results and the next one– to have fallen out of the first 30 results because the competition for popular one-word keywords is so fierce and other sites have replaced you.

2. Keyword Density

After you have chosen the keywords that describe your site and are supposedly of interest to your users, the next step is to make your site keyword-rich and to have good keyword density for your target keywords. Keyword density is a common measure of how relevant a page is. Generally, the idea is that the higher the keyword density, the more relevant to the search string a page is. The recommended density is 3-7% for the major 2 or 3 keywords and 1-2% for minor keywords.

3. Keywords in Special Places

Keywords are very important not only as quantity but as quality as well – i.e. if you have more keywords in the page title, the headings, the first paragraphs – this counts more that if you have many keywords at the bottom of the page. The reason is that the URL (and especially the domain name), file names and directory names, the page title, the headings for the separate sections are more important than ordinary text on the page and therefore, all equal, if you have the same keyword density as your competitors but you have keywords in the URL, this will boost your ranking incredibly.

These are few of the Basics of SEO. I recommend that we as testers should be knowing these basics to increase our knowledge.

Happy Testing.



testingideas said...

Unfortunately these SEO screwed up every think, did you know three or four years back if I search something about testing most of the time I get Dr Cem Kaner,stickyminds websites or SQAForums,do you know what I am getting as the first result now? **
It is unfortunate that those sites are now misleading the tester
--Dhanasekar S

Madhukar Jain said...

Absolutely right Dhanasekar....Technology has impacted everyone in a great manner. its being misused and people are being mis guided by the so called Big Claims of these sites which primarily focus on teaching bookish language.
These websites usually have links to websites which provide Testing Training or Automation Tools training and they claim to make you expert in some days and land a job too. But slowly i see the world is getting educated about Software Testing and its taking shape.


Santhosh Tuppad said...

@Dhanasekar & Madhukar,
Well. How many of us have taken initiative to report the irrelevant keywords for getting traffic in a portal? Few / None? If you give good evidence of some portal adding irrelevant keywords in their meta tag of their page(s) then you can report it to Google and they will blacklist it. Have you every tried it?

Related post: Finding bugs with respect to Search Engine Optimization

Santhosh Shivanand Tuppad

Madhukar Jain said...

Hi Santosh,

As far as my knowledge goes i know that Google does not uses keywords meta tag in their web search. This is a mis conception amongst people that meta tags occupy a pivotal role in search rankings. Google has officially announced that they don't use Keywords meta tag for their search results. Check out and
Having said this i assume that Google will not blacklist any website because it has used irrelevant keywords on meta tag.
The information in keywords meta tag is so much spammed that Google uses 200 other signals in their web search but not keywords tag.


edith hadiansyah said...

very informatif post, it really somethings.
thanks for sharing.