Search Engine Optimizing
SEO, needed from the start of design
Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short, what does it mean?. Getting a number one ranking in all search engines some people may say.
I think SEO means arranging your content in a way that not only humans understand where you website is about, but the search engines also know.
It is important to know how those search engines read and understand your website, so they can index the subject(s) of your website, and deliver relevant search results to their users.
SEO is no rocket science, everybody can learn the basic principles pretty soon. There plenty of forums, some with hundreds of visitors a day, discussing search engine rankings, just do a search in google or another search engine for 'SEO forum'. Sometimes it seems to me that the web most popular subject is the web itself...
If you are planning a website it is important that from the start phase you already keep the Search Engines in mind, it saves you a lot of trouble afterwards. If you don't want to bother with rankings yourself, just write your content and have a good SEO consultant review it. If you hire a consultant, please note that the good ones are not cheap. Important is that when you hire someone that you do background research on this company or person. There are plenty of optimizers around that give false promises or use dangerous methods of optimizing.
If you want to do SEO yourself, I give you here some basic priciples to work with:
If you want to discuss these topics please do a search on google, yahoo or MSN for relevant forums, you could also try my own modest forum right here:
- Don't use frames, you don't need them and search engines usually don't 'understand' them very well without additional tricks.
- Don't use splash pages, in most cases your main page will be the content focus, make use of it.
- Use the subjects of your pages in the titles of your pages. This seems an obvious remark, but so many don't do this.
- Don't focus on single keywords, most users who search for "special things" use more the a few words to search.
- Check your HTML syntax. Allthough a browser may be forgiving, search engine robots may not be.
- Use descriptive texts for your links (anchor text). Describe the page with your link, SE's use this anchor text to undertand where the page is about. If you use images for your links, give them a descriptive ALT attribute.
- Put the most important subjects of your page at the top of the page.
- Make sure that ALL your pages are linked from every page you have. If you have to many pages, divide your site in sub directories which are linked together. Create a sitemap, not only handy for your users, but also for search engine indexing.
- Use plenty of original content, and don't be a copycat.
- Use descriptive filenames and directory names, seperate words with a dash '-'.
- Get your site linked with good anchor text from relavant sites. Beg for links. But don't worry, its the quality and services of your site that finally will get you links automaticly. Search Engines use the number of links to your site as one of factors to determine your ranking for search phrases.
- Don't spam the SE's by filling guestbooks, forums, blogs or other places where you can place a link for free to your site. It doesn't work on the long run.
- Read the SEO guidelines of every search engine.
- Read about the efforts of others in relevant forums.
- Be patient, don't expect overnight results. Building a good ranking website is something that takes time, a lot of effort, and original quality content.
- Write for humans with search engines in mind, not the other way around. Search engines are getting smarter everyday.
Search Engine Optimizing Forum (SEO)