SEO Search Engine Optimization

SEO Search Engine OptimizationThe following tips and techniques are for improving your page-rank and success with search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

It is worth pointing out that there is no definitive technique to SEO Search Engine Optimization – most of what we believe is purely anecdotal and gathered from multiple developer experiences. There are some factors however, that are taken directly from advice given to website designers from Google.

Keywords & Phrases

Select up to 3 keywords or phrases for a single page. Do some research on which words and in what order people are typing into the search engines. Phrases are more powerful than single words.

Meta data – Keywords

The Keywords tag now has very little importance but is worth retaining as it can be a useful way of keeping a record of what keywords and phrases you have optimized your page for.

Meta data – Description

This may be used by the search engines to provide the visitor with a brief description of page content. There is some evidence that it is also a factor in determining page rank on keywords, so don’t forget to add them to the description tag. Primary it should be used to entice the human visitor.

Meta data – Title

The title tag is the most important meta tag of them all. This sums up in a short sentence what you page is all about. Ensure that you select keywords and phases that sum up your page. Such keywords and phrases should therefore naturally bubble up across the content of that page.

Page content is key to influencing the search engines. Well written, spell checked content is best. Ensure you write your copy with both commitment and enthusiasm. This will result not only impress the search engines, but also interest your human visitors.

Optimized page code is another fairly important factor in your SEO campaign. If the HTML/JavaScript within your page is poorly written and/or contains errors, the SEO spider may falter during the indexing process and choose not to complete its’ analysis of yours page’s content. It’s always a good idea to follow the advice and validation of W3.

Use header tags

Headers should naturally occur within the content of your copy, so use them wisely. Try to include your keywords and phrases within your header tags and only use <h1> tag once. Don’t use header tags to write long sentences!

Bold, Underline, Order list, Unordered list & Italics

All of these can be used to emphasize a keyword or phrase. Again, don’t go over board with them as a page full of emphasis will soon look unattractive to the human visitor as well as diminish the value of your keywords.

Alt tags & title tags

Use Alt tags within images and include your keywords within them. Also, ensure that links have a ‘title’ and again include appropriate keywords.

Name files & folders

You should include your keywords and phrases within your file and folder names. Apply this method also to image files. Use ‘-‘ instead of spaces and never use ‘_’.

Example: /creative-design/graphical-illustration.html

Domain names

Ensure that your general keywords are within your domain name. If and when possible, register your domain name for as many years as you can. Google will know that you are not a fly-by-night if you register for more than a year or two.

Inbound links

Develop content that will entice people to add links to your site on their sites. 1-way inbound links will be considered as value by the major search engines. 2-way links on the other hand are not. Inbound links are quite as important as they used to be, but they will help new visitors to find you as they click on them.

Social Networking

If you are depending on the search engines to bring you visitors, then you are playing a risky game. Search engine algorithms are changing all of the time, and you might find your 10,000 visits a day suddenly become 10 visit a day! Develop a back up plan and join the social networks. From there, you can talk about your website and promote it as much as you like and build up a strong human following.

Black Hat Search Engine Optimization techniques

Avoid at all costs cheap and dishonest trick to improve page rank. ‘Black Hat’ techniques will only result in you being penalized and banned from all listings. Don’t hide text, produce ‘gateways’, keyword cram, join link exchanges, spam forum or use any other method that detracts from providing your visitors with what them came for – good, rich and engaging content.

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