Online Solutions for the Community Association Industry.

The Basics Of Search Engine Optimization

Learning basic SEO practices.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The process of adding content both on site and behind the scenes (in the source code) to gain higher and more visible Organic rankings on the major search engines (such as Google,Yahoo, MSN, Excite, etc.)

Search Results

Listings of websites, ads, and links that are displayed as a result of typing words or phrases into a search engine. Ie: searching for soda and seeing a link to Coca Cola at the top of the page. The results are listed based on the content on a website, or the amount of money bid on an ad to be displayed under that search.


A keyword is a word that is relevant to a search on a particular topic. In the example above, "Soda" is the keyword, and Coca Cola is a result based on the fact that it is a top selling soda in America. There are also keyword phrases like "Caffeinated Soda", or "Orange Soda" etc.

How are Rankings Determined?-There are 2 types of website listings, Organic & Paid.

Paid Listings

When a web surfer or (potential consumer) types in a keyword or phrase, the links, sites, and ads that appear in the results appear in two areas. Some are along the top of the page and the side of the page…usually shaded in a different color. These are paid listings, where a company owner has set up an account or paid Google to appear in the top portion of the screen based on a bidding system. For more information on this, visit or

Organic Listings

These are the websites that come up in results that appear in unshaded text, generally in the middle of the screen. These results are determined by a number of factors that cost nothing and are well within the control of the website owner such as:

  • relevant # of keywords used appropriately within the site
  • amount of competition from other websites for relevant keywords or phrases
  • length of time the website has been in operation
  • amount of links to & from the website
  • source code content such as page titles, meta tags, meta keywords, page layout
Relevancy of Organic Listings

In search results, outside of paid ads, research has shown that more than 50% of web surfers always click on the 1st organic listing they see, less than 25% on the second, less than 15%on the 3rd, less than 5% on the fourth…which means it is advantageous to be in the top 3 (although based on search volume for the term even 5% can mean thousands of hits per day)

Why focus on my Organic Listings?

Aside from the fact that it is free, many consumers prefer the authenticity of organic listings since they are earned instead of paid. Every major study out has confirmed that 60 to 75% of the overall clicks from a search go to organic listings, and Google themselves in a recent report claimed an even more astounding 80%. Moreover, the highest determining factor of getting higher Organic listings is what kind of relevant content is on the face of your site. Good writing skills, precise keyword placement, and a layout that makes sense are all goals that can be achieved by even the novice internet user with a little bit of time and focus.

Where do I start? Your home page is your chance to make a good 1st impression. Make sure it's not just a two sentence blurb that acts as a glorified business card. Quality content on your homepage helps your customers, and helps your SEO campaign. Make sure your home page includes at a minimum your full business or website name, where you are located, what you do if you are a business, and some basic information about your site, hopefully sprinkled with some high volume keywords.

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