Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Search Traffic and SEO


If someone asks me who my best friend is, I would say “Google”. Seriously, I can ask “Google” any question by typing in keywords. It exposes me to relevant websites and never gets impatient with me for having too many questions at any time. How does Google find those websites? What do websites need to do in order to be on the top lists on Google? The answer is search engine optimization (SEO).
What is SEO?

There are many ways to visit a website. Internet users can type in the website URL in the browser address bar, which is known as the direct traffic. They can click on the recommended links on their friends’ Facebook pages and that is counted as referral traffic. They can also search on the search engines and go to the top few links provided. The visit through search engines is called search traffic. SEO refers to the process of improving a website to attract search traffic from search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. When a person enters keywords in a search engine, related web pages, images and videos are displayed and listed in the sequence of relevancy decided by the search engine[1]. The search results of right SEO are organic and free of charge. They are in contrast to the paid ads on the side or the top of the page labeled “Ads”. Aspects of SEO include the wording on webpages, the way websites connect with one another, the way websites are structured to be search engine friendly
How Important is SEO?

Although there are three types of website traffic discussed in the section above, the majority of traffic is brought by search engines. A survey of 2253 adults shows that in the past decade, the use of search engines has increase significantly. In January 2002, 52% of the interviewees in the US used search engines. In February 2012, the number increased to 73%. On any typical day in early 2012, 59% of the interviewees used a search engine to navigate the internet, which is nearly twice the percentage of internet users using search engines on a typical day in 2004 [2]. With the rapidly growing number of people using search engines, it is vital for websites to be easily visible and searchable to gain lots of traffic. Moreover, due to the unique keyword search feature of search engines, they match what internet users are seeking with what websites can offer. If a website has a high search engine visibility, it has the great opportunity of free marketing via search engines.

How do Websites Achieve SEO?
Search Engine Friendly Design

Search engines see a webpage differently than humans. Search engine crawlers value the HTML text format the most while overlooking non-text content formats such as images and Flash files. Therefore, in order for search engines to find your website, the most important content should be written in HTML text format [3]. Images, videos and Flash files containing important content should be accompanied by text descriptions. Otherwise, the content will not be appropriately indexed in search engines. Below is a contrast of how differently humans and search engines see a website built in Flash.  

Keywords

Search engines return results by searching their keyword-centered databases instead of webpage-centered databases. Contents on webpages are indexed and kept track of by keywords. Putting keywords in the right place will greatly increase the ranking of a website. Here are some practical tips to make good use of keywords:
  • Use keywords at the beginning of the title tag. That helps search engines see the important message of your website [4].
  • Mention keywords again near the top of the webpage [3].
  • Include keywords in the URL.
  • List keywords in meta keywords tag.

In conclusion, with the increasing use of search engines by internet users, website owners must learn to enhance SEO of their sites to attract more search traffic.


References:

[3] http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo/basics-of-search-engine-friendly-design-and-development

[4] http://www.prestashop.com/blog/en/10-tips-better-seo/