Optimization - A SEO Specialist Reveals All
Why Articles Are Not The Route To High Search Engine Rankings
Website optimization is the first step in promoting your website.
Those with foresight and deeper pockets will have a SEO-savvy webmaster
(such as myself) build the website that is optimized from the start.
Otherwise, a website may need a SEO-facelift later to help it be
digestible to the search engines - and to make it obvious to the
search engines that the keywords you are trying to be found under
are truly relevant to your website. Like any specialty, performing
website optimization involves skills, special tools, and a willingness
to keep up with current changes in the market.
Unfortunately, hiring an SEO expert can be quite expensive. For
those who want to do it themselves, here are the steps.
BOOKMARK THESE TOOLS! YOU WILL need them!
The first step in website optimization is to make sure you have
well-formatted HTML. I would encourage you to use the following
tool to check this: http://validator.w3.org/ Do your best to get
your website as close to conformance as possible.
If you use CSS, then use a CSS validator at http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator-uri.html
There is rarely an excuse for not having it validate here.
If you follow most of the suggestions for having valid HTML code
your web pages will be more digestible for the search engines, as
well as being much more cross-browser compliant. You should also
do this after any significant edit of the web page - to ensure that
it is still compliant.
The second step in website optimization is to work on the Meta
tags and the title tag for each page in your site. These are in
the header of your web page document and need to be tailored to
attract users who type in one of a select group of keywords. If
you need a tool to help generate these, use this meta tag generator
tool here (http://www.spiderweblogic.com/HTML-Meta-Tag-Generator.aspx)
that I built.
The Title Tag:
The title tag is, of the three, the most important for the major
search engines. Don't make this too long - normally no more than
6 words. But have your most important keywords here. Some SEO specialists
advise that even the order of the text here is significant. They
suggest that if you place your company name in the title, that it
should be placed last so the other keywords are being considered
with greater weight.
The Meta-Keywords Tag:
This is now of lesser importance than before, due to abuse by webmasters
to achieve high rankings. However, it is still important and is
required by many of the smaller search engines. Make sure that you
don't repeat any keyword or keyword phrase more than three times.
That would be considered Spam (bad SEO tactics) by the search engines.
Remember, your visitors will see the title of the web page. Make
it useful to them as well.
The Meta-Description Tag:
This is of higher importance than the keywords tag. Several search
engines use it when they show your listing. It needs to encourage
your potential visitors to visit your website. Of course, having
keywords in here is important. But keep the primary purpose in mind
as you write it. Here too, you should make sure that you don't repeat
any keyword or keyword phrase more than three times.
Each page in your website needs its own tailored title, meta-description,
and meta-keywords tag. These need to be focused on the keywords
you are trying for. (These are the words or phrases you want to
be found at when people are doing searches.) These shouldn't normally
be the same on every page. They should be customized to the content
that is on that page. You should also keep your visitors in mind
as you write them.
The third step is to work on your content - especially on your
home page. Ideally you would have between 800 - 1200 words of text.
It should have your most important keywords at the top, middle and
the bottom of the text. If possible, use an "h1" tag at
the top for your title - and have your most important keyword imbedded
in it. Also, have some of your keywords in a sentence or phrase
that is bolded. Keep it natural for your visitors to read. If it
doesn't look natural, you will loose any visitors you have attracted.
The fourth step in website optimization is to edit your links and
your images to make full use of the "title" and "alt"
Text links can have a "title" attribute. The content
is to more fully describe your link. When you put your mouse over
the link, the content of the "title" attribute is displayed.
I would encourage you to tailor the description so that it contains
at least one of your keywords - but keep it accurate - that it really
does describe the link. It must make sense to the common user.
Images HTML tags can have an "alt" attribute. It is used
to describe an image when you put a mouse over it. It is also used
for different devices for seeing impaired. Also, it is used when
the user decides not to show images with the web site. They will
see this text instead. (It is the "Alternate Text" for
the image.) Try to incorporate some keywords here too - but keep
with the spirit of being the "alternate text" for the
If you are using tables, you may even include a table "summary"
attribute. The purpose of this attribute is to assist for those
with disabilities to understand the contents and structure of a
table. Keep all summary comments within that purpose - and add keywords
only where appropriate. Note that these summary attributes may cause
your web page validator to spit up an error - but this is newer
item that is encouraged.
The fifth step is to have a good menu system or a site map. Search
engines follow links to find the different pages in your site. If
menus, the search engines may not find all of your pages unless
list of links that the search engines can follow to map out your
links in the menus.
If you haven't chosen a domain name yet, you may strongly consider
having your top keyword phrase in the domain name, with the words
separated by dashes. This is an excellent idea, but not always feasible.
Many companies already have a domain name selected, or prefer to
use their company name as the domain name. This is a business decision
left up to the customer.
THINGS NOT TO DO:
Don't create and market mirror sites though to accomplish this
trick either. Sites that are identical in content, but have a different
domain name are considered SPAM (bad/taboo) by the search engines.
They don't appreciate such tricks, and the ranking of both websites
will suffer for it.
Also, don't get too crazy with stuffing keywords where they don't
belong or by repeating keywords or by having keywords in hidden
layers. Search engines don't like that and will ban your site.
SEO SOFTWARE TO BUY:
I have used SEO Studio to do website analysis during my optimization.
This has been an invaluable tool for analyzing how saturated my
keywords are in a particular web page. It is reasonably priced and
I have been very satisfied with the performance. It is easy to see
such things as keyword density relevance for the whole web page.
It also is helpful in showing where the keywords are not (and can
be). You will learn a lot about website optimization just by using
After all this "Search Engine Optimization" you need
to do a human review your website - is it natural/useful/helpful
for the human visitor? Remember, getting website traffic is only
half the game. This site needs to quickly convert them into paying
Once it is "Optimized", then you need to let the search
engines know that you exist. Only after it is ready should you tell
them about it. But this is a subject for another article. Do a search
of different article warehouse or SEO news sources. You will find
a lot of information on this.
WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION NEWS SOURCES:
Since there are new quirks in the website optimization and website
promotion that come out all the time - some that apply to all search
engines, and some that apply to a particular one, it is wise to
keep up to date. I strongly encourage you to join a couple of relevant
I really like the news sources from Entireweb.com. If you submit
a site through them, I would encourage you to accept their free
newsletters. They have great content. http://www.entireweb.com/submit_site/
Another place to get really great articles on website optimization
or promotion is http://www.SiteProNews.com They also allow you to
subscribe to their articles. Do this!
If you are serious about keeping up with your website positioning,
keep up with the news. You will find these resources invaluable!
About the Author
Robert Fuess is a veteran
website designer who specializes in making dynamic search engine
optimized websites. http://www.SpiderwebLogic.com