The Basic First Steps of Search Engine Optimization

If you are unfamiliar with the process by which search engines rank and order the listings that appear when someone searches for information, you need to understand a few basic concepts. The search engines all use a variety of different methods to analyze individual websites. Based upon their analysis, those engines then give each website a relatively arbitrary ranking. The higher a page’s rank, the higher up in the listings that website will appear.

How exactly do these search engines create their rankings? Different factors come into play. If you are interested in making sure that your website ranks highly when people are searching for products you sell or services you offer, you need to know at least these basics about search engine optimization. The most basic of these factors has to do with the HTML code behind the website. The specific words that were inserted into the code have a specific effect on the ranking of your website in the eyes of the search engines.

If you paid someone to create your website, you probably have never really examined the code that, truly speaking, is what makes your website tick. Luckily, I’m here to provide you with some beginner tools you can use to, at the very least, sound intelligent when you speak with your web designer to make sure that everything is being done to optimize your website for the search engines.

First, open your web browser (Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Firefox, etc.). Load your website by typing in its address. When your page loads, you’ll want to look at the code behind the page. In the latest version of IE, you’ll find the code by clicking on the Page button on the right hand side of the page and then scrolling down to “View Source.” When you click on this menu item, another window will open that, to the uninitiated, will look like a bunch of gobbledygook. In Firefox, simply look under the View menu. Netscape has something similar. You’re looking for the menu item that refers to “source” or “code.”

Don’t worry about all that code. We won’t go into a lot of detail. And, thankfully, most of the code you’ll be looking for is at the top of the webpage. Starting at the top, look for:

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