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Search Engine Optimization Techniques
There are a few search engine optimization techniques you can employ to improve your ranking in the major search engines. I call them techniques because not everyone abides by these rules.
Although to some seasoned experts this is all part of their routine and standard SEO procedures. This website however is geared for you, the beginner. I hope you find the search engine optimization techniques valuable and useful.
Let’s Get StartedSo you’ve been online for a few months now, or even over a year and have noticed no significant improvement in your organic search rankings. You have tried marketing your website and have noticed from your web analytics that most of your traffic is coming from everywhere but the search engines.
So what to do? Go back and check your webpages to see if they are as optimized for search engines as they can be. Use a tool like SBI’s Analyze It! to evaluate each webpage and make changes according to the instructions for a better optimized webpage.
Meta Content OptimizationYour site’s Meta tags include the Title, Description and Keyword Meta tag. These tags look like the following:
“title” - Hosting a Website – Learn the Types of Websites & Appropriate Hosting for Each “/title”
“META Name="Description" Content="Hosting a website. Learn the different types of websites & the appropriate hosting requirements appropriate for each." “
“META Name="Keywords" Content="hosting a website, server, online business" “
Remember that these tags are enclosed in brackets < >. I have replaced the brackets with quotation marks ( “ “ ) because if I didn’t then your browser would read them and show a weird display.
To view a webpages’s Meta tags, go to your Internet Explorer web browser and click on the “View” menu field on the top (third option from the left). Go down and you will see a “Source” option usually the third one from the bottom. Click that and a Notepad file will pop up. This is essentially the code of the webpage you are on.
Don’t be intimidated by what you see. You don’t need to know how to code in this foreign language (thanks to HTML Editors). If you have not read the HTML Editors discussion yet, please do so now. There are website building tools today that don’t require knowledge of HTML. You simply point, click and drag and the code will automatically create itself in the background.
Title Meta Tag
Let’s start with your title. The Title tag is important because it tells the search engines what your webpage is all about. It is recommended that this tag be less than 70 characters and contain the major keyword of your webpage.
The placement of the Title tag is a common mistake made not only by new SEOers but also the veterans. A lot of times veteran Webmasters will place this tag low on the page after their CSS scripts and other similar language. Make sure your Title tag appears high up, right below the " head " tag (see example above).
Description Meta Tag
Search engines use this tag to understand the content of your webpage. This tag must be placed right below the Title tag (see example above). It’s pretty logical isn’t it? Title comes first, then comes description to give a synopsis of the webpage.
You must use your major keyword as early as you can in the description field. So in the example above, the main keyword is “Hosting a Website”. Notice how it appears early in each of the Meta fields? This is exactly how you want your tags to be.
Don’t write a one word description tag like some do! Use this field for at least a couple lines to introduce your reader to the webpage. And similar to the Title tag, place this high up, right below the Title tag.
Keyword Meta Tag
Place this tag right below the description (see example). Again this is very logical. Include in this tag your major keyword as well as some supplemental keywords that you will be using in your webpage’s content.
Don’t abuse this field. Search engines are a bit bitter about this because many Webmasters abuse this field and plug in hundreds of keywords for each webpage. Keep your keywords to 10 or less so search engines don’t think you are a spammer!
Webpage Graphics, Images & TextKeep your code to basic HTML as much as possible. Search engines don’t care much for foreign code like Java and Flash.
The addition of Java is pleasing to the eyes, but search engines tend to ignore it because they can’t read this complicated foreign language. Remember, stick to basic HTML as much as you can!
I love flash and I play around with it to make small movies all the time. But is it beneficial from an SEO perspective? Absolutely not! Like Java, search engines cannot read it and ignore it.
I see so many websites with flash intros for example. This is their main page which is all in flash. They don’t realize how badly it is hurting them to do that. It sure looks nice to the eyes, but it won’t help your search engine rankings.
I love the way frames look as well! But search engines don’t like them ? If you want to use frames, use them sparingly and when possible, search for technology online that allows you to embed small features here and there without having to use full frames. It’s just a waste at the end of the day.
Pictures/Images can help your SEO rankings. Search engines didn’t care for this before. But today image searches are common on the major search engines (especially Google). So if you use images on your webpages, keep a few things in mind to make sure you are getting the SEO benefit from it.
Compress your images and make sure the file size is not too big (one way to do that is make it a .gif or a .jpeg extension). A big image will make your webpage download very slowly and will annoy your visitor.
Use images sparingly and keep your reader’s focus on the text. Too many images will distract them and search engines won’t care for you much.
Don’t spend too much time designing your image either with all kinds of text in it. Search engines cannot read text on images. To them it is just one image file.
Finally, use Alt Tags and text on your images. Alt Tags are placeholders that show your reader that you have used an image. Why is this important?
Because sometimes web browsers do not download the image as part of your webpage (could be slow download speed related). When this happens, an Alt tag appears instead of the image. Sometimes you can click on this and the image will reload.
Use text formatting tags sparingly but do use them when important. Search engines take notice of this and will focus a bit more on the text you have formatted.
Some good ones to keep in mind are:
Create a Sitemap
Sitemaps are often ignored by Webmasters. But this often forgotten feature will help search engines see all the other webpages on your website that it has no idea about (yet).
It is proven that sitemaps help your SEO results. They are simple to set up and there are many free services available out there today. I recommend the free Google sitemap tool. You can create your sitemap in 2 minutes and upload it here.
If you are using SBI, you will be provided step by step instructions on how to create a sitemap and submit it to various search engines. SBI will also submit your sitemap automatically on a periodic basis so you don’t have to deal with it after the first time.
Read this discussion for more on creating a sitemap and submitting to search engines.
In addition, make sure each webpage links back to at least your home page. Create some interlinks between related webpages of your site. Search engines like to see this too. Don’t go overboard though!
Links – No One Home
Do you have broken links? This is very annoying for your human visitor. And if it is annoying for your human visitor, then you bet the search engines will punish you for it. Check your links and make sure they are all working.
There are services out there you can get that monitor your links and notify you when they go bad. SBI has a neat Link Fix It! tool built it that will notify you through email each time a link on your website goes bad. I just love this feature!
Have the major keyword of each webpage embedded in a link format. Don’t overdo this. 1-2 links with your keyword in it per page is plenty enough. This is assuming you have sprinkled your main keyword and supplemental keywords all over your content, headlines, title and description. Again, don’t overdo any of this.
Search Engine Optimization Techniques SummarizedThe search engine optimization techniques discussed above will definitely help your website’s organic search rank. However, focus mainly on developing good quality content for your webpages.
Content is paramount and this is what pleases your human visitor. If your human visitor is happy, so is Google. And if Google is happy, so are other search engines.
So how do they know your visitor is happy? The amount of time your visitor spends on your site, the number of pages they view, the frequency at which they keep coming back all tell the search engines how pleased your visitors are with you and your website. So keep your content real and fresh!
A great way to do that is by starting a Blog on your website’s topic. Post to your Blog frequently and have a link from your Blog back to your website. As your Blog traffic grows, you will see a considerable improvement in your search engine rankings.
It is important to understand that change is constant on the Internet, or life as a whole for that matter. Search engines are constantly evolving and changing their search algorithms to stay a step ahead of so called “SEO Experts” who many times manipulate websites just to achieve higher rankings.
As a Webmaster you will have to stay on top of these changes. Bookmark this section and visit often. I will be adding new information as I become aware of it.
Remember though that I only add information that I have tried and had success with. It might take me some time to try out the theories and see if they work. If they do, I will sure let you know about it either in this section or through my Blog!
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