[caption id="attachment_169" align="aligncenter" width="508"]Search Engine Optimization 7 Search Engine Optimization algorithms may be changing, but the principles have not.[/caption]

The internet isn’t getting any smaller or less crowded, and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd of web surfers and business sites.

Whether you choose to advertise on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and some of the newer ones—and you will probably need to, eventually—you still want people who have no interest in those advertisements to be able to find you. That means being familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it ranks you above—or among—your competitors.

There are just as many theories about how to manipulate the analytics involved in SEO as there are about any other emerging social media theory, but you don’t have to be a math whiz or a marketing guru to get the basics down—no matter how the concepts change over time.

Let’s start with a few basics. You don’t want just any web traffic coming to your business site, you want the right traffic. You want people who are actually looking for your business, the products you sell or service you provide, and will eventually become loyal customers.

It’s easy to think about the general terms of SEO: links, keywords, search rankings, but trying to manipulate them won’t work. You’ll end up stuffing your site or creating copy that is forced and unrelevant, designed to attract people but offering nothing else and you’ll end up with dissatisfied customers irritated that you wasted their time.

The basic premise is that search engines are trying to anticipate what people want when they type into a search box—even before they start their search. Just watch the options appear before you finish typing for first word to see evidence of this.

Asking a few questions can get yourself ahead of the curve.

  1. What product or service do you offer?
  2. Who needs your products or services?
  3. How would you describe your business or service to someone you don’t know?
  4. What common questions are you asked by customers—new and old—when they see you face to face?

The answer to any of these questions are potential keywords to include in your content, your text images, and your web site that will help you attract more customers through Search Engine Optimization.

Search engines are constantly changing so that it becomes harder and harder to manipulate their algorithms. That’s actually a good thing, because it ultimately means that the potential customers who reach you through a google search or yahoo search or the like are actually looking for you and the products or services you provide.

Just remember these key tips:

  1. Develop more unique, in-depth content.
  2. Don’t add content, just for the sake of adding content.
  3. Test your pages in different browsers.
  4. Make your keywords relevant, and include them in image titles, photo files, alternate descriptions, etc.
  5. Think like someone searching for your product, not someone selling it.

Quality content will always win out. Trying to manipulate your content to improve your Google rank is like buying a fistful of lottery tickets hoping to cash in. Be relevant, be coherent, and give your customers something worth searching for.