Building a website in 2006 is nothing like it used to be. Today, the majority of visitors to your site will come from search engines. The top three – Google, Yahoo, and MSN refer more than 90% of all search engine traffic. This is the reason you need to make your site look as good as possible in the search engine’s eyes.
SERP optimization is a process by which one seeks to receive a better placement in the results anyone receives when searching for a particular keyword in Google or any other search engine. SERP comes from Search Engine Result Page and represents the place in which your site is listed when someone does a search for a particular keyword. Because Google usually finds thousands or million results for a usual search, appearing as the first result (or at least appearing on the first result page) can be a great advantage over your competition.
The first question that would spring in mind is what makes a site and not another be the first in the results. Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this questions and it clearly depends on the search engine (Google, Yahoo or MSN) – type the same keyword in Google and MSN and you have big chances of receiving different results. This is because different search engines use different algorithms to rank pages and while the main idea behind them is similar and made available to the public, the details are different. These details, one would need to make exact decisions when optimizing his page, are kept secret and even changed from time to time, at each tuning the search engine receives, so from this perspective, optimizing a page is part technical expertise, part wizardry.
There are two kinds of optimization techniques that are used in conjunction: static optimization and dynamic optimization. Static refers to changes made to your site. Dynamic is about receiving links to your site.
A term that’s used in conjunction with SERP is keyword density. A first step to make after deciding to optimize a page for a specific keyword is to make the density for that keyword in that page as high as possible which means that you have to use it as often as possible. In highly competitive domains, a keyword density of about 30-40% can normal. This may be good when your page is seen by a search engine but may make it unreadable by your visitors – having the same word every three words has the consequence of making very awkward sentences. Bottom line: there’s a thin line between static optimization and comprehensibility that you should be aware of when targeting your pages for a particular search engine.
Going even further with static optimization, you should not only use the targeted keyword in your page body but also in the title, meta description and address. Actually, these fields are having a bigger weight when computing your SERP. More advanced static optimization techniques also exist but they are beyond the scope of this article. They are usually used by specialized SEO experts and companies like CHML Srucnoc.
Going to dynamic optimization, the main idea is that you should start gathering as many links to your site as possible (as a side note, the number of links going in your site is called link popularity). Why? Because the relevance of a page is also computed by taking into account these links. Every link another site has for you is considered by search engines a ‘vote’ for your page. While the main idea is simple, the details are not. Not every vote is the same. Its weight regarding you SERP depends on a number of parameters: number of links on that page (a link from a page with few link is more important than one from a page with tens or hundreds of links), rank of the page that makes the vote (a page with higher authority will have more weight in its votes). Another important thing to consider is the anchor text the other pages are using when linking to you because the search engines will consider that your page is about that subject. What you should do then is have other sites use the keywords you want to optimize for as the link text. The content of the page that casts the vote is also important: a vote from a page from the same domain of activity as your site is more important that a vote from an unrelated page.
You may see that these rules are highly similar to the ones a human would use to categorize pages. Thinking how you would decide if a page is more or less relevant to a specific topic (without using semantic rules) is the first step in understanding how a search engine operates and how you can make it operate in your benefit.
In the process of gathering links you should always prefer one-way links but this is not always easy and always time consuming. Usual free methods you can always use are directory submissions, forum posting, press releases and article submissions. To save time, you can use programs which were designed exactly to help at this kind of tasks: Directory Submitter (http://www.directorysubmitter.com), Forum Submitter (http://www.softwar3.net/forumsubmitter). Yet another approach is to use the services of specialized SEO companies (CHML Srucnoc – http://www.chmlsrucnoc.net) that take care of all the details in a professional way leaving you free to focus on ideas for growing and enhancing your business.