SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as already previously mentioned, is a sub section of search engine marketing.
Unfortunately, with SEO, there are no shortcuts, and if you are looking for a way to get quick and easy results, then this isn’t it. But instead, you will need to carry out some hard work, especially in relation to the actual content of your site.
Also, you will need to have plenty of patience, as results do not happen overnight. So if you are looking to improve the search engine position of your site, you should consider this very early on when looking at using SEO.
However, what are important are the following points:-
This is probably the single most important point you should remember when doing SEO, especially if you want your site to be found on the web. Although your site may be technically perfect so that the search engine robots find it, you will find that it will not help if the actual content of your site is not good.
For the content of your site to be good, it should be factually, as well as grammatically correct. But this is not really necessary for every site that is on the web today. However, what is important is that whatever your site is about, the content actually needs to be unique and specific so that it will appeal to people. Moreover, it in
fact needs to be particularly appealing to those people looking for information or who want to find your site.
By having good content on your site, visitors will return and eventually these visitors who return are more likely to link to your site. Having lots of inbound links is not only great for your site, but for search engine rankings also. It is even better if those links are from more highly ranked sites than your own.
Also, not only do you need to have good content on your site, you also need to have fresh content also. If you add new content to your site on a regular basis, you are giving your visitors more reasons for returning to it. Because of this, search engine robots will also visit your site more often as soon as they notice that you are updating it regularly. So what this means is that any new content you add, will then be indexed much quicker in the future.
Check your Spellings
If your site is written in English, then you are probably aware of the differences in spelling between American and British English. Where in the UK they will write “colour”, in the USA it is written as “color”, and the same can be said of “optimization” and “optimization”. So if you can, why not set up your machine so that the spell checker is set up as USA English rather than British English. Unfortunately, there are many words between these two languages that are often misspelled, and in fact, the same can be said for many other languages around the world.
Make sure your Page Titles are Descriptive
If you make your page titles as simple, descriptive and relevant as possible, it will make it easier for the search engines to know what each page of your site is about. This will then allow people to scan through the search results they get, and are able to quickly determine if your document contains what they are actually looking for. Also, it should be remembered that the page title is also what is used in order to link to your site from the results provided by the search engines.
As a result of this, it is important to ensure that the title on the page is one of your most important elements of your site. In fact, some people will argue that this the most important part of any site above all other things.
Use of Real Headings
This is where you need to use h1-h6 (header tags) elements for your headings. By using graphics for your headings you are able to use any typeface you want (but search engines will not pay much attention to this). Even if you do use the alt attribute to specify an alternate text for heading images, this is not anywhere near as important as using real text in a heading element.
But if you are unable to use real text, then look at the various image or flash replacement techniques that are available instead. However, be aware that there may be some risk involved in doing this. As image replacement involves hiding text, it is quite possible that you may be penalized by search engines for doing this. But at present, this kind of risk seems pretty slim.
Ensure that your URL’s are search engine friendly
It is important to use search engine friendly URL’s, as opposed to dynamically generated ones that have a query string (which lets the server know which data to fetch from a database). Unfortunately, there are many search engine robots which have difficulties with this kind of URL and they may well stop at the question mark, and so not actually look at the query string.
By using a search engine friendly URL; you are helping both your ranking and users of your site. Many sites have seen an incredible improvement just because they have changed the URL scheme on it. However, the modification and rewriting of a site’s URL can be a little tricky.
There is no easy or sustainable way in order to solve this but for one. The really only good way to ensure that your site gets linked is to ensure that it contains good content. For any site on the web, incoming links are very important, especially for Search Engine Optimization. In fact, you may find that this is the hardest part of SEO for you to implement.
But many people have found that incoming links are less important, especially where you have more specific and unique content on your site.
Make it Accessible to All
This is as important as all things previously mentioned. It is important that you make your site accessible to those who are visually impaired, as this will help search engine robots find their way around it also. It is important to remember that Google is blind, so even if you are not bothered whether blind people use your site or not (which we all should be in today’s world); you still need for it to be accessible. What this means is that you should use real headings, paragraphs and lists, and avoid using anything which may interfere with the search engines spiders.
Be Careful when making a Submission
Although this is often overrated, submitting your site to directories and search engines can actually be useful. This is especially important if the site happens to be new and has not as yet been picked up by Google and many of the other search engines that are around.
But if you do want to look at submitting it to some directories, you may want to consider using Yahoo Directory and Open Directory Project and some directories specific to your topic (for example, if you have a blog, try submitting to http://www.blog-search.info). But you will need patience, as it can take several weeks for any submissions to be processed unless you pay for it to be listed.
Do not try to fool the Search Engines
Never use such methods as cloaking, link farms, keyword stuffing, alt text spamming or any other dubious ways. Although they may work for a short time, you not only risk getting your site penalized, but it could actually be banned from search engines altogether.
As search engines like their results to be accurate, they just do not take kindly to people trying to trick them.
Avoid the use of Frames
Although it is possible to provide workarounds that will allow a search engine robot to crawl frame based sites, these will still cause problems for any visitors who find that site through a search engine.
What happens is that when someone follows a link from a search result to a frame based site, they will end up on an
orphaned document. This will, in most cases, create confusion for the user, as in many cases, vital parts of the site will be lost, such as navigational links.
Browser Detection – Be Careful
If you have to use some kind of browser detection, then make sure that it does not break when a search engine spider or any other unknown agent comes along. Unfortunately, if the spiders can not get in, then your site will not be found.
Do not waste your time with Meta Tags
You will find that most search engines do not place a great deal of value on the content contained within Meta Tags today. This is because they have been used too much by spammers. So instead, if you need to, use Meta description elements. Although keywords will not hurt, they don’t really help either, so generally it is not worth the effort to use them.
Often there are some search engine sites which will use the content of a Meta description element to describe a site in their search result listings. So whenever possible, make their contents unique and descriptive for every document or page.
As stated at the beginning of this chapter, we have provided a few basic guidelines in relation to SEO. But there is much more that can be done in order to increase your site’s visibility with search engines.