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Key Site Elements of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of refining a website to gain a higher search engine ranking in "organic" search engine results.

There are several methods and opinions on effective SEO practices. Optimization techniques can vary depending on site purpose, content, and targeted search engines. SEO can be a challenging and rather lengthy process. The more research you put into the practice, the greater return you're going to see in your rankings.

Nevertheless, certain aspects of the optimization procedure should never be neglected.

Site Optimization Elements

The SEO procedure includes the following elements:

  • Title Tag Creation — The title tag, located inside the head tag, is the most important element in the on-page optimization process. Many search engines pay particular attention to keywords in the title tag. As well, search engines always display the title tag's contents in their search results.
  • Meta Tags — Invisible to end users, meta tags contain keywords, description, directions, and restrictions for visiting spiders. Some search engines incorporate title, keywords and description data into their ranking algorithms. Meta tags do not affect how the page displays. For more information, see Adding Search Engine Visibility Tags To Your Website.
  • Description — The description meta tag defines site information a search engine displays when it lists the site. The description meta tag should concisely explain the nature and contents of the site while using keywords.
  • Rich Snippets — Rich snippets are small previews of relevant information on your website that display in the search results when someone does a search. Rich snippets tell the search engines more about your website and what content you have on your pages. When the search engines return a list of relevant results, your rich snippet information displays and gives a preview of what they can expect to see on your site.
  • Page Content — The page text (the displayed text on the page) should be inviting, comprehensive, and — within reasonable limits — contain as many of the site's keywords as possible. For more information, see Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Donts.
  • Link Building — Some search engines, including Google®, pay particular attention to the quality of back links (i.e., external links that point to a site) when determining the importance and ranking of that site.

Search Engine Visibility provides guides to help you optimize your site by applying various rules while analyzing your site's content. The rules are based on what search engines see when they crawl your site for inclusion.

To see examples and learn more about important on-site SEO elements, visit the SEO Reference Guide. Tools, such as the Search Engine Visibility SEO Checklist report, can show you how your site performs against the ten most common search engine optimization pitfalls. For more information, see Using the SEO Checklist Report.

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