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10 Tips on SEO You Should Know

Sep 3, 2008
Search engine optimization is a confusing art. It is not a science. It's also a moving target that changes a lot. Experts have written books about it. Software programmers have written programs trying to automate it. SEO consulting firms are constantly testing it. I don't believe anyone really has the answer carved in granite. So, what are you going to do?

Understand that search engines send out spiders or bots. Once there, the spider starts reading all the text in the body of the page, including markup elements, all links to other pages and to external sites, plus elements from the page heading including some meta tags (depending on the search engine) and the title tag. It then copies this information back to its central database for indexing at a later date which can be up to two or three months later.

Well there are some basic rules that most experts agree on. This is a very simple generalization but these are a great start for any website.

1. Most web developers/designers either don't take time to code a site properly or don't know how to. Yes the site may look good to you but does it look good to the search engines? Graphics look great but spiders don't see them. Avoid pages which are 100% graphics and no text, such as pages that contain all images, or are Flash-only.

Furthermore, if the first thing a user encounters is a log-in page, before being able to see the site's content, then that's what a spider will see and it won't go any further, either. All your content might be hiding unless you have a great site map or a robots.txt file.

2. Knock off with all the Flash. It's a waste of bandwidth, time and spiders don't index it. Yes your web designer is great but he or she is killing your ranking. If you got to have it that's fine but you will pay a price for it. If you've encased a link in a fancy JavaScript that the spider won't understand, the spider will simply ignore both the JavaScript and the link equaling a lower ranking, sorry.

3. Once you've built an SE-friendly Web site, you then need to be sure each page is also SE-friendly. That's right each page. Even your FAQ's if you have it.

4. There are two primary areas of a Web page. The area contained between the "head" "/head" tags and that which is contained between the "body""/body" tags. What information you place in these areas has a huge impact on how a page is indexed and, to a certain degree, what will appear in the SE results page. All the fluff elsewhere is not going to help much.

5. Keywords need to be 3% to 7% density in the top half of the page content. You have probably heard the term "keep it above the fold". Search engines put more value on keywords closer to the top. The algorithm (a mathematical formula) they all run factor in where the keyword is located. These algorithms are unique to each SE and are constantly changing, but, in essence, all the search engines are looking for the important words on your page (based on word densit, how often a word or phrase is used in relation to the total amount of text) and they assign a value to these words based on the code surrounding the words.

6. Determine the main topic of the page and try to use it as the title. A page about high-performance running shoes from manufacturer ABC should have the title "High-performance Running Shoes." If the brand is important, then add it to the end of the line like this: "High Performance Running Shoes - ABC."

7. Write a unique description for each page. If you use the same meta tag across all pages, the search engine will pick up on this and potentially ignore the content of the meta tag or possibly the entire page.

8. Search engines love content that appears in header tags (h1, h2, etc.) yet very few web sites actually use them. Their original intention was to be the visible title of the page (long before web browsers actually supported graphics), with the primary title using h1 and subsections of the page encased in h2 tags, and so forth. To avoid spamming search engines, a web page should have only one h1 tag. They can have as many h2 tags as necessary.

9. Graphic designers love using tables to slice and dice a graphical design to use on the Web. Unfortunately, these designers never really understood that the web is the web and not a printed page and that designs should be easy to code into web pages.

The problem with tables is that all the slicing and dicing can create web pages containing tables embedded four or more deep to accommodate the design and all the good content ends up inside the inner-most embedded tables.

From a technical perspective, search engine spiders can read tables, and even embedded tables, but once a design gets to be more than about three tables deep, most spiders run into problems. Either it's simply too much code for them to keep track of, or the search engine thinks you placed that content deep in the page because it's not important, and so the engine gives it little or no value.

10. If there is an important phrase in your content, be sure to tag it appropriately. This is good for the user experience and since you're telling your users that the words are important, the search engines are likely to think the same way.

Keep in mind that these are some "On Page" SEO considerations. Most experts agree today that "Off Page" SEO is more important. We will address those tips in the next article.

Graphics are great, but content is king. Don't hide your website.
About the Author
Jim Janowiak is a internet business coach. He is currently working with the Best Internet Business Builder group. This is fun, Check it out.
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