The main goal for most website owners is to increase the number of visitors to your site by getting higher and higher up on the search results of engines such as Yahoo and Google. That is actually achieved through a process called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. There are a few simple steps you can take to make this possible.
The reason we create websites is to disseminate information to an audience. Most web sites are designed to reach the largest audience possible through search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Ask.com.
What does a Search Engine do?
Search engines use software called spiders or robots to comb through everything that is published on the internet for the public. They read all the code and text in your site in order to add it to their databases. The more content that engines can see on your site, the higher your site’s ranking will be for a relevant search. If your site is not within the first 15 or so results of a keyword search, most users will not find it. The more people click on your site, the higher its rank will be.
Images are indexed by their names and alt tags.
Keywords and Keyword Phrases
A keyword is a word that best describes your web page. A keyword phrase is two or more words that best describe your web page.
Pick a few keyword phrases (for each page), all in different variations. Avoid using general one-word keywords, as they will not help you rank higher in search results. Put yourself in your potential visitors’ shoes and imagine what words they will type into a Search Engine to find your site.
Good keywords are a huge help in driving search engines to your site. Be sure to use your keywords and phrases in your site’s content as well.
Google has a keyword generator you can use as well.
These go just after the title tag in your html header. They are generally structured like this:
- You do not need to end these with a tag.
- Make sure that your meta tags do not have line breaks as that can make them hard to read for some older browsers.
- You don’t need to add these to every page in your site, just to key pages.
Meta Tags we will be adding
- Resource TypeThe only resource type that is currently in use is “document” This is the only tag that you need to put in for indexing purposes.
- DescriptionOn most search engines, your description will be displayed as the blurb below the page title in search results. Make sure it is short, sweet, and reflective of the actual content of your site.
- KeywordsYou can pick whatever keywords you think are appropriate, separated by commas. Also include synonyms, americanisms, slang, etc.
- Robotsthis tag tells search engines how much indexing they should do.
And here is a meta tag generator. Once you fill it all in, copy the code and paste it after the title tag in your doc header.
Adding complete alt tags for all of your images will help as well. Be sure to use your keywords here as well.
Your Title should contain your most important keyword phrase.
What if you want to stay off the grid?
Not everyone wants to be found by search engines. Here is a great list of tips.
List of Tips for SEO
Choose the right keywords.
Keywords are terms and words that best describe your site and its content. Sit down and pick 10 words that best do this. You need to pick words that are not too general–be sure to mix in some specific terms.
Have relevant, live content.
Make sure all of your content is as tight as possible, and use your keywords throughout where they are appropriate, say up to 4 a page. And make sure as much of your content is actual text as possible, not images.
Have a solid, clear domain name that includes a keyword or two.
Although long URLs can be hard to remember, search engines pick up on ones with keywords within them.
Use your titles, alt tags and meta tags.
- Using your keywords as a starting point, go through and title each page. Remember that the tag is in the header part of your html.
- The meta tags are in the header as well. The meta description is actually the blurb that will appear by your site’s link on search engine results, so the better you write it, the more people will click on it, hopefully.
- Alt tags are the small text descriptions you should be entering every image on your site. You should see them as opportunities to describe the image succinctly and well.
Avoid a Flash-only navigation.
Search engines cannot read Flash, so if you have a Flash-only navigation, your site cannot be indexed.
Submit your site.
When you first publish your site, the search engine spiders have not yet gotten around to finding it. Help them out by going to the source: submit it to major search engines and peer galleries.
Submit your site to Yahoo. (You need to be signed into your Yahoo acount to use this.)
Get friends to link to your site.
Get you friends to link to you on their sites and blogs. Each link to your site is like a vote for it by the linking site. Ranking in search engine results relies on the number of links to a site–the more people link to you, the more important your site is to the engines.
Track traffic to your site to see if your efforts are paying off.
Google Analytics is the best one I have found.
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