Search engine optimization (SEO)

Websites designed and pages written for search phrases are more likely to come to the attention of their target audience. The SEO discussion below does not add a lot to the previous pages because when a website develops content in order to be useful to visitors, then the website also follows the formula to come to the attention of the search engines.

Search engine evolution

Early web search engines formulas were weighted towards consideration of the inbound links to a website from other websites. For a summary at Google, see the official Google webmaster blog. Specifically of interest were the keywords and key phrases in the anchor text.

While popularity might be a valid way to gauge the relative importance of academic papers — the model for the early Google algorithm — in the larger world, a key-phrase popularity contest proved naive. Inbound links from external websites can be manipulated to game the system, links from blogs, forums, news websites, business directories, website directories and links exchanged with similar websites. As a result, search engines evolved to look harder at the website content and the internal links.

Content focus counts

In addition to keyword text links within the website, search engines evaluate the content for related words and phrases to determine the page and website content. Just as the content of each page should focus on a single subject in order to help the visitor assess quickly if they are in the right place, the same content focus is how a page is SEO optimized as a key-phrase landing page.

Natural link building

Differentiate the type of link, internal or inbound from external websites, to determine the anchor text to create what some call a natural link structure. For internal links within the website itself, use keywords and key phrases as useful for navigation in the utility navigation, the main menu and other internal links within the text.

For inbound links from other websites, do the opposite, discourage keywords and key phrases in favor of the domain name in natural language. To exercise some influence over external links, provide the HTML complete with the anchor text, like:

Link to us with the following code:
<a href="">Hardcover Web Design</a>

A long-term strategy

If you consider the problem of trying to provide a useful index of the internet, then it's a tough problem, not one that has been solved yet. Not surprisingly, the calculations continue to evolve. What were once good SEO practices have become not only obsolete, but even damaging to a website's rankings. As a result, website owners have sometimes found it easier to abandon their domain name and start over with a new name than to attempt to get the inbound links into compliance with the current rules. Given that change is certain, an aggressive inbound link strategy is difficult to recommend.

Consider social networking websites. Buttons clutter many websites so visitors can create inbound links from social media websites. At the same time, links from social networking websites can be purchased from third-party marketing firms priced by the thousands of links. Since the next evolution of search-result calculations are unknown, perhaps the wise long-term SEO strategy is already practiced people who choose to opt out of the personal information monetization industry, what some call social media.