Search engine optimization (better known as SEO) is a tough skill to learn, but one that can give any site an edge online.

By getting to know SEO, one can give a website a higher seat on the search engine scale. However, there are a lot of moving parts behind SEO, making it more of an art than a science. Thankfully, Duane Forrester – previous Senior Programmer of SEO at Microsoft – has an engaging and insightful expert session published to the Internet. In this session, Forrester breaks down this topic, while also providing his own top tips for successful search engine optimization. Below is a list of highlights from the session with Forrester.

What is SEO?

In essence, “search engine optimization is the process of improving a website to make it more relevant to searchers and search engines,” says Forrester. “SEO is simply a tactic. It is a marketing tool like many others.” As mentioned above, Forrester describes the skill as more of an art than a science. Moreover, the SEO expert says proper optimization does not happen overnight, but is an investment of time. There is a major payoff when done right, however. 

Why Perform SEO?

Forrester emphasizes the importance of SEO user experience. Internet users, “…look down – we scan search result pages,” Forrester explains. Moreover, SEO is where most web traffic starts a search. Thus, performing SEO can provide increased relevancy, exposure, visits, page views, and revenue.

Tips for Successful SEO:

Forrester reveals his top tips from his experience with his work on the Bing search engine. Here are just a few:

  • “Have compelling meta descriptions,” says Forrester. “If there is no meta description, the search engine will randomly choose text from your website for search results.” Utilizing descriptions for images on a web page allows a search engine to better identify the content on that page.
  • Forrester reiterates SEO does not happen overnight. “Build trust on your page. Keep working on your idea and it will show up on search engines.” Building trust requires expert knowledge on a topic. You also should be engaging your community (more on that in a moment), have consistent content, and be a go-to source for information on your topic.
  • “Use social media to build a community for your site,” he says. Social interaction online signals “topical authority.” Additionally, integrated social outlets influence the click action of searchers.
  • Finally, Forrester encourages web developers to “own a niche. When you own a niche, it’s like putting a crowbar in a small crack: doesn’t do a whole lot at first, but if you keep prying back and forth things will start to open up later.”

Go with the Flow of SEO

Forrester is an expert in his field, but even he admits he does not know everything about SEO. He refers to SEO as, “…a universal interface for search.” As such, SEO is constantly evolving. Today, SEO needs to be responsive on mobile devices. In addition, “new devices demand different search experiences other than links,” elaborates Forrester. Today, “anything can be a search – voice, a picture, a gesture, sound.” Thus, it is of paramount importance to adapt to the ever-changing world of SEO .

Want More?

Below is an embedded version of Forrester’s expert session. Also be sure to leave additional thoughts in the comments below.