Search engine optimisation – commonly abbreviated to SEO – is the process whereby a web site, or more specifically a web page or document, is constructed or amended in such a way as to improve its placement in the search engine results pages or SERPs. Search engine optimisation should not be seen as an end in itself. It is a function that should be undertaken to improve the overall commercial performance of a web site.
Good search engine optimisation will ensure that a page appears higher in the search engine results for a range of relevant, specific and valuable search terms or queries. The simple objective of SEO is to generate more valuable web site traffic.
The achievement of a higher ranking against relevant search terms has commercial value for a web site
because it will attract more traffic than a lower ranking. In an increasingly crowded online environment, search engine optimisation is therefore a crucial online marketing discipline.
The role of SEO is to legitimately influence the process of improving rankings. There are few genuine guarantees of a top placement, particularly for highly competitive search terms. Good SEO will improve a web site’s ranking across a range of selected terms.
However, any process whereby a search engine is illicitly manipulated in order to
guarantee a high placement is referred to as spamming. The successful execution of a search engine optimization project requires skills in the areas of analysis, research, planning, copy writing and communication.
A comprehensive search engine optimization project is divided into four interrelated phases.
1. Pre-site activities – The research and planning activities undertaken before an existing or new site or page is actually touched or built.
2. On-site activities – The activities directly involved in the content and design of web pages.
3. Off-site activities – Building a portfolio of quality inbound links to your web site.
4. Post –site activities – Analysing and responding to site traffic and user feedback once a web site has been optimised.
Effective SEO is a continuous activity.
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