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Intro to SEO

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimisation' started by Andrew61, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. Andrew61

    Andrew61 New Member

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    SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the technique of doing what is possible in attempt to positively affect the ranking of your website pages in search engines results.

    SEO takes many forms and is subject to many philosophies, and there are no guaranteed results, however there are several practical and simple tips that webmasters can do that are generally known to be good SEO practice as well as good webmastering.


    Content

    The first rule of SEO is content. Search engines, especially Google, love lots and lots of content. And if it is going to be worth a human reading and perhaps coming back tomorrow, it better be useful readable content. Even if your site is retail, attempt to include as much good content as possible about your products. Make your site a resource. This will also be important on getting good incoming links, more on that below.


    Site Design and Navigation

    Make your site simple and clean. The cutting edge whiz-bang stuff can become the bleeding edge if it doesn't work or annoys many of your visitors. Do you really need that Flash splash page or those fancy Javascript animated menus? Make sure that your website is easily navigable to all your pages with different brand browsers and OSs. Search engines are fed by spiders that roam the web reading your pages. You don't want to make it hard for your readers or the spider to find their way around. A site map is recommended to make sure the spiders don't miss anything.


    Page Size

    Avoid monster pages that scroll and scroll forever. Users digest best in smaller chunks, so keep your pages only as big as needed. It is easier to focus on subtopics of your content with smaller pages, and that can make your pages all more topical. Pages that focus deeply on a narrow aspect of your subject matter are more likely to get good ranking in the search engines for specific searches. There is usually too much competition for the more general searches on a topic, so win by covering your subject more broadly and in more depth with lots of content pages.


    Keyword Density

    A classic SEO topic is keyword density, which is simply a percentage measure of how frequently the keyword appears in the text of a page. Sometimes a higher density will make pages rank higher for a particular keyword, but taking it too far can be penalized. The best approach is write for the human reader, by making your copy natural and readable without much artificial manipulation of the density. Keep in mind synonyms for your keywords and use them in the text, as people may search for the same thing in many ways with different words.


    Inbound Links

    Links coming into your website play a big part in your ranking with several search engines. It represents a measure of the worth of a webpage to the world wide web community. Some engines may measure the number of links pointing to your page in ranking, while Google attempts to create an exact score based on the popularity of the pages that link to your page. This score is known as Page Rank and can be viewed in approximation by installing the Google toolbar. Another factor with inbound links to consider is the anchor text. The words in the links to a page can help search engines to quantify and rank pages. Pages have appeared in search engine results even if that word appears nowhere on a page, just due to it being in the incoming anchor text.


    Outbound Links

    Your outbound links (links from your site to other websites) can have SEO significance, surprisingly. Sites that don't link may be seen as engaging in a stingy-type practice known as PR hording. Also, having links to authority sites in your topic area has been said to be a positive SEO factor with Google, it might be useful for your visitors too.


    Meta Tags

    Meta tags are not seen when a webpage is viewed by a surfer, but can be seen if you view the source of the HTML. There are meta tags for specifying a description and keywords of your page, amongst others. The description may be used by some search engines and displayed to the searcher as part of the results for each webpage, others completely ignore it. The keyword meta tag is often ignored because it is easy to abuse. Best practice is to provide your keywords in this meta tag, but don't bother overdoing it or spending too much time on it.


    Title

    The title of each page should be carefully chosen because it is an important factor that search engines use to determine the relevance of your page in rankings. A good title will emphasize the subject matter without being too long. Don't make the mistake of using the same title for every page on your site, that could hurt your rankings.
     
  2. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Awesome article and a great 5 Star contribution Andrew. Thanks so much for posting it. :)
     

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