How does search engine optimization work?

Search engine optimization, more than just a  buzzword, is here to stay. You want your site to show up at the top of the listings when a Web visitor searches for keywords, but how do you get there?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer — and no guarantee that you’ll stay No. 1 once you get to the top. That’s because search engines frequently change their criteria for ranking pages. For this reason, Sheer Web Design tracks the standards the major search engines consider when ranking pages. After we make sure a website has the best content and metatags in the page code, only then do we submit it to the search engines. Basic SEO service, also known as digital marketing, is included free with every web design project we handle.

White Hat digital marketing will naturally increase your website’s search engine results position. What does White Hat mean? Search engine ranking that comes from our well-written, solid, keyword-rich content — rather than payment or trickery. We don’t use boilerplate text. Instead, we work closely with you to create personalized content that represents you and your company.

Submitting a website to the search engines is an important step, but submitting too often can actually lower your rankings. And you should never submit before your pages are ready for the scrutiny to follow.

So what should you do? You can make some basic changes that will improve your impact — on site visitors as well as search engines — no matter how the search criteria change.

Start at the top of your home page and follow this guide to improve your page:

Title Bar: The bar at the top of the browser window that displays your page should contain between 50 to 70 characters including keywords and your company name.

Make sure the title bar is different on each page. Some search engine experts recommend that on inner pages, you put your company name after the title. Example: “Multivitamins: Joe’s Drug Store”

Metatags (keywords hidden in your page code) are not the ultimate solution to search engine rankings. Many engines ignore them completely. Use metatags only to reflect the text that is actually on the page.

Content: Search engines read words, not graphics. So concentrate on that text. The ideal home page contains about 450 words. Include your most important keywords, the ones potential customers would use in a search to find you. Put these words in your headings and repeat them as often as possible (without being obnoxious to your human visitors).

Images: Be sure every graphic you use contains an “ALT” tag that describes what the image shows. This wording will appear before the actual images load so that search engines and visually-impaired visitors can read it.

Incoming Links: Most search engines raise the ranking for sites that have incoming links. These links should be from high-quality, related sites. To see how many incoming links your site has, search for “link:yoursite.com”.

If you don’t have many, consider starting a link-building campaign. Seek out non-competing sites in your industry and ask them to exchange links with your site.

Site Map: Good for visitors and search engines, too!


Other than paid or sponsored search engine listings, there’s no way to guarantee top page rankings for all your keywords. But improving your page content is a great way to start, and it will benefit your marketing efforts in many ways.

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