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How to succeed with search engine optimization

Much has happened to search engine optimization (SEO) in the last years. It has become much more difficult to get high rankings for a web site. However, it's still possible to get your web site at the top of the list if you do the right things.

The good old days

When the Internet was young, it was enough to submit your web site to search engines to get high rankings.

Then webmasters found out that they could further improve their rankings by stuffing their web sites and meta tags with keywords. Search engines quickly discovered that this was abused by many webmasters.

Nowadays, the meta keywords tag isn't worth much anymore and search engines can quickly detect web sites that stuff their pages with keywords.

When Google entered the market, incoming links seemed to be the trick of the trade. However, many Google updates have shown that even a high number of incoming links cannot guarantee high search engine rankings.

What have you got to do to get high rankings in the current search engine situation?

The rules have changed

There's no single path to successful search engine optimization anymore. Most people know that it's pointless to submit a web site to search engines without doing further SEO work. However, it's likely that you also won't get good results if you focus only on incoming links or optimizing your web page content.

If you want to succeed with search engine optimization, it's important that your web page has all factors that are important for high search engine rankings:

Make it as easy as possible to find and to parse your web site. Good incoming links and optimized web page content are a must if you want to have high rankings.

Don't try to trick search engines

Tricking search engines with techniques such as cloaking, doorway pages and other dodgy tricks might be tempting because it seems that you can save so much time and effort with them.

Be very careful with that. Search engines don't like to be tricked. You might get away with this for some time but as soon as search engines find out that you're tricking them, they will ban your site.

Don't go for quick-fix solutions

You probably get spam email messages promising you to get listed in Google within a few days, others promise you to submit your web site to thousands of search engines (although there are only a few search engines that really count).

Getting high search engine rankings with these one-shot-no-work-quick-fix solutions is as likely as getting rich with the hot stock tips you get in other spam email messages. Use common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.

Getting your web site into the top 10 results on Google and other major search engines is possible if you employ the right tactics. Further information can be found in our free SEO book.

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October 2005 search engine articles