How to Make SEO Work for You

To gain an edge over your competitors online, follow these tips to push your business's site to the top of the major search engines' results pages
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It's a question Smart Answers readers often ask: How can I increase the Google (GOOG) ranking for my business? To get a good ranking on Google, or any major search engine, you have to make sure your Web site is "search-engine optimized." Search engine optimization (SEO) just means your site is as accessible as possible to the search engines to improve the chances that they will serve it up when your potential customers type in specific search terms. The more easily search engines find your site, the higher up it appears on their results pages.

Constructing your site the right way is important. "Structure your site properly, code it cleanly, and use necessary keywords," says Andy Leff, an entrepreneur and lead blogger for "Sites that have the proper architecture in place, and are not slapped together, have a better chance of getting picked up by the major search engines." Search engines "crawl" the Web looking for the keywords that their users enter, so sprinkling those keywords throughout your site means your pages will be picked up during searches.

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How to Make SEO Work for You