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Natural Search Engine Optimization Guide

Prerequisites: A strong understanding of HTML and the Internet. You should understand the basic purpose of search engine optimization. You should have general knowledge of Internet related terminology such as: JavaScript, Flash, Frames, Search Engines, Links, Browser, etc.

About this Guide

This guide was written by Directory One as an aid in training its optimization staff. However, we have written it in such a way to be helpful to anyone who needs a search engine optimization guide.

As sometimes you will be optimizing a site from scratch and sometimes you will be optimizing a site that is already built, our search engine steps do not necessarily go in order. No site is the same, and every site will require focuses on different aspects of optimization depending on the specific site's limitations and topic.

If you are optimizing for a client, it is VITAL to educate the customer about search engine optimization and the steps you are taking to optimize his site. He will be integral in choosing keywords that are appropriate to his business. And only by understanding his industry will you be able to create targeted leads for his site.

SEO Refresher

What is a search engine?? A search engine is a website such as Google on which people can search for other websites on the Internet. Search engines do not include sites manually, but have an automated "search engine spiders" that "crawls" the web through links. If your website has just one link to it, it will eventually be found and indexed in a search engine.

What is a directory?? A directory is a website often categorized like the yellow pages which allows visitors to find other websites by topic and category. A directory is a website such as DMOZ (or the directory section of Yahoo) that does not have automated programs which crawl the web looking for web pages. Each website included in a directory was submitted by the site's representative and was judged worthy of inclusion by an actual person.

What are natural search engine listings?? There are two kinds of search engine listings. Natural and Paid.? Paid listings are usually labeled in a separate section such as "sponsored listings."? Natural listings are the listings that are not paid for. They are determined by the search engines' algorithms for finding, sorting and ranking pages based on relevancy. Because natural listings are considered "more accurate" by searchers, getting in natural listings is typically preferable to getting in paid listings. This guide focuses only on how to gain natural search engine listings.

What are pay per clicks?? A pay per click (PPC) is a paid listing where the site's owner pays every time the listing is clicked. The fee per click can range anywhere from a penny to several dollars.

What is search engine optimization?? Search engine optimization is the process of building search engine friendly sites that will be more likely to be highly ranked in the natural listings of search engines.

What do search engine spiders see?? Graphics are pretty for people, not search engines. Search engines ONLY see text and HTML code.

What can you expect from search engine optimization?? You can expect search engine optimization to be a lot of hard work. Once a website is search engine friendly and goes live, it may take 3 days to 3 months for the site to get spidered. After that, it will take several more months for ranks to stabilize. You can expect the site to jump wildly into and out of results for the first several months. If it doesn't, you're lucky. During this time, you should continue to work on the website using the guidelines outlined in this document. Eventually, when the site gains seniority and stability you will begin to see some payoff. You should not expect instant results from search engine optimization, although you will sometimes get lucky and get results sooner rather than later. There is no rhyme or reason to it. You can optimize ten websites using the exact same principles and one site will rank in 2 days and the next in 2 months. Search engines are fickle creatures.

It can sometimes be frustrating when websites are being sluggish about ranking, but keep up your optimization and maintenance and trust that creating quality, search engine friendly sites will pay off.

Don't assume once you've got a site ranking it will stay that way. Constant site upkeep is necessary, especially for more competitive terms. But again, search engines are fickle. You may be ranking well for 10 months on a term without changing the site once, only to be dropped cruelly and completely from that key term for seemingly no reason at all. You can expect search engine optimization to be a full time job of keeping ahead of the competition, keeping up with search engine changes, and keeping the site alive with plenty of fresh content and constantly improving usability standards.

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