Why Use Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization – or simply SEO is a sub section of search engine marketing.
Unfortunately, with SEO, there are no immediate shortcuts. And if you’re goal is for a way to get quick and easy web traffic results, then SEO isn’t it. However, if you are willing to carry out some hard work, especially in relation to the actual content of your site – then the long term results are worth it!
Also keep in mind you will need to have plenty of patience, as results do not happen overnight. So if you want to improve the search engine rankings of your site, implement SEO very early on when starting your site.
So what are the important points to keep in Mind?
Having good content is crucial when doing SEO, especially if you want your site to be found on the web. Even though your site may be technically perfect for search engine robots to find it, it doesn’t help if the actual content isn’t good.
For your site’s content to be good, it should be factual and grammatically correct. But this is not alway a requirement for every site on the web today. Whatever your site is about, it is important that the content is unique and specific so that it will appeal to your audience.
By having good content on your site, visitors will return and are more likely to link to it. Having lots of inbound links is helpful to your site, and can improve search engine rankings as well. It is even better when those links are from more highly ranked sites than your own.
Finally, not only should you have good content on your site, the content needs to be fresh also. When you add new content to your site on a regular basis, then visitors have more reason for returning to it. As a result, search engine robots will also visit your site more often as soon as they notice that you are updating it regularly. What this means is that any new content you add, will then be indexed much quicker in the future.
It is important to check your spelling and make sure it is correct. If your site is written in English, be aware of the differences in word spelling between American and British English. For example, in the UK they use “colour”; where in the USA it is spelled as “color”. And the same can be said of “optimisation” and “optimization”. Therefore if your main target audience lives in the United States, why not set up your spell checker as USA English rather than British English. Also be aware there are many words between these two languages that are often misspelled. In fact, the same can be said for many other languages around the world.
Be sure Page and Post Titles are Descriptive
When you make your page titles simple, descriptive and relevant as possible; it becomes easier for search engines to know what each page of your site is about. In turn, this will allow people to scan through search results they get, and quickly determine if your article contains what they are really wanting to read. Just remember that the page title is also what is used to link to your site from the results given by search engines.
As a result, it’s important to know that the page title is one of the most important elements of your site. In fact, there are those who would argue that this the most important part of any site above all other things.
Use of Real Headings
Content should be divided into sections and subsections. This is where you need to use h1-h6 (header tags) labels for your headings. When using graphics for your headings, you can use any typeface you want – but search engines won’t pay much attention to this. Even when using the alt attribute to specify an alternate text for heading images, this isn’t nearly as important as using real text in a heading section.
However, if you’re unable to use real text, then look at various image or flash replacement techniques available instead. Just be aware that there can be some risk involved in doing this. When image replacement involves hiding text, it’s possible to be penalized by search engines for using this technique.
Don’t waste time with Meta Tags
Anymore, most search engines don’t place a great deal of value on the content contained within Meta Tags these days. This is because they are fully aware of the abuse used by spammers. If you find the need to do so, use Meta description elements instead. Although keywords won’t hurt, they don’t really help as much either. So generally it isn’t worth a lot of effort to use them.
There are some search engines which use the content of a Meta description element to describe a site in their search results list. So whenever possible, make your content unique and descriptive for every document or page.
Avoid Using Frames
Although it is possible to have workarounds that allow a search engine bot to crawl a frame based site, this 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 end up on an orphaned document. In most cases, this will create confusion for the user, and cause vital parts of the site to be lost, such as navigational links.
There is no easy or long term way to solve this dilemma but one. The only one good way to ensure your site gets linked is to make sure it contains good content. For any site on the web, incoming links are very important. This is especially true for Search Engine Optimization. In fact, you may find this to be the hardest part of SEO to implement.
However you may find that incoming links are less important to your site, especially where you have more specific and unique content.
Make Sure URL’s are Search Engine friendly
It is important that your site uses search engine friendly URL’s. This is 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 bots which have problems with this kind of URL. Because 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 site operators have seen an massive improvement just because they’ve changed the URL scheme on it. However, any modification and rewriting of a site’s URL can be some what tricky.
Avoid methods used to fool the Search Engines
Never use methods such as cloaking, link farms, keyword stuffing, alt text spamming or any other questionable tactic. Although they may work for a short time, the risk of doing it is even greater. Not only are you risking to get your site penalized, but it could actually be banned from search engines altogether.
Because search engines like their results to be honest and accurate, they just don’t take kindly to people trying to trick them.
Browser Detection – Caution
If you are using some kind of browser detection, then make sure it doesn’t break when a search engine spider or unknown agent arrives. Unfortunately, if search engine spiders can not get in, then your site cannot be indexed or found.
Make it Accessible to All
Another important matter is to make your site accessible to those who are visually impaired. This will also help search engine bots find their way around it as well. It’s important to remember that Google is blind. So even if you are not concerned whether blind people use your site or not, it still needs to be accessible. What this means is use real headings, paragraphs and lists, while avoid using anything which may interfere with the search engines spiders.
Be Careful when making a Submission
Although often overrated, submitting your site to directories and search engines can still be useful. This is especially important if the site happens to be new. Most likely it has not yet been picked up by Google or many of the other search engines that are around.
If you want to submit it to some directories, then consider using Yahoo Directory and Open Directory Project. Also consider adding it to a few directories specific to your topic. Just be aware that you will need patience. Expect to wait several weeks or more for any submissions to be processed, unless you are willing to pay for it to be listed.
I hope this helped you see a few basic guidelines in relation to SEO. However, there is so much more that you can do to increase your site’s visibility with search engines.