Easy to Understand & Implement Search Engine Optimization Techniques
by Janice D. Byer, CCVA, MVA
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services
Why is it that some websites seems to grab higher placement in the search engines than other websites? In a phrase, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
Everyone does searches on the Internet. In fact, on average people do approximately 40 searches each per month and most of that is through search engines.
Optimizing your website can help increase your sites placement in the search engines. When designing your website, you should design for your target market. However, you need to optimize it for the search engines.
Keywords & where to use them
Most SEO techniques center around your keywords. Keywords are the most important part of SEO techniques that you need to implement into your website.
When deciding on your keywords and phrases, choose keywords for both the search engines and your website visitors. Try to be specific rather than too general.
Visible Page Content
Many search engine spiders will index a site based on actual visible content on each page of a website.
Keywords in the content of your site is measured using keyword density which is actually a percentage of your keywords and phrases in relation to the total number of words on a page, usually 2-5%.
Your keywords and phrases can also be used to describe your images. When including an image in your page, include an “alt attribute”, also known as a description tag (or alt tag), in your coding.
This is another important area to include your keywords. Most search engines still use a website’s meta tags to classify a website.
The following are sample meta tags:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
<Title>Docu-Type’s Search Engine Optimization article.</Title>
<meta name=”description” content=”An article offering search engine optimization information”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”search engine optimization, seo”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”index”>
<meta name=”revisit” content=”15 days”>
Other tags include author, date, copyright, medium and revised but they are generally used for the designer’s reference only.
Having a good navigation structure can help make it easier for your site visitors to find what they are looking for and can help search engine spiders to get around and index each page of your website.
If possible, incorporate some of your keywords into your navigation links. If you use images for your main navigation, be sure to include alt attributes.
A site map is just that… a map. And, with any map, it helps you to get where you want to go. Some people prefer a site map over regular navigation, especially on large websites. However, a site map should not replace traditional navigation which everyone is familiar with.
Having links throughout your content to other areas of your own website helps the spiders (and your site visitors) get around. It also helps to increase your link popularity.
Link popularity is… the more links TO your webpage from another webpage, the more popular your site looks to search engines. After all, if all these pages are linking to your site, you must have some great information to share and they like that.
A link exchange strategy is basically asking others if they want to put a link to your website on their website in exchange for you returning the favor. This helps improve your link popularity.
Outbound links (links from your site to others) can indirectly help improve your placement in search engines. The more resources you include on your site, the more people will want to visit and the more others will want to link to you. This will increase your exposure and your link popularity.
Update your content
You need to update the content on your site occasionally and keep it fresh. Spiders come back to websites as they crawl the Internet and tend to like websites that are offering something new for their visitors.
The following are just a few other ideas to help optimize your website.
- Use keywords in your hyperlinks
- Translate your website
- Leave existing site up if doing a redesign
- Use images instead of text, in some cases
- Use header tags
- Use comment tags
- Avoid Entry pages
- Start an Affiliate Program
- Don’t try to fool the spiders
- Keep track of what is working
A few final words
Search engine optimization methods are constantly changing due to the engines having to adjust their algorithms to be sure they are indexing worthwhile sites and to stay a step ahead of those who try to cheat the system.
Most designers will try to stay on top of what works and what doesn’t, what is allowed and what isn’t. Working with an experienced designer is the best route to go when having a site designed or redesigned.
Search engine optimization is a lot more involved than what could be included here. Be sure to pick up your copy of our 20 page ebook at http://www.docutype.net/business_ebooks.htm for a more detailed look at these techniques.