SEO Tips

Wed, 01/09/2010 - 15:26

Search engine optimzation is often seen as a dark art. Clouded in secrecy and obsfucation, SEO experts have tried to make it as challenging as possible for people to understand why some sites feature well on search engines and why others don't. At Rogerwilco, we prefer to cut to the chase. SEO isn't an art. It's a science. It's about following some basic rules and putting in some serious grunt work. The following tips cover one aspect of search engine optimization - namely performing technical optimization so a search engine can locate content on a website.

1. Title Tag

The title tag is used to define the title of a web page. Search engines will recognize the title tag as the title of the page. Each page should have its own title tag.

  • The Title will be displayed within the browser at the top of the browser window or tab.
  • When a user searches for a specific word or phrase, Google will return a link to the website, and the Title tag will be displayed as the anchor text for the website link.
  • The text in the Title tag is one of the most important relevancy factors influencing search engine ranking algorithms.
  • Using your most important keywords or keyphrases in the Title tag will have a dramatic effect upon your page’s ranking for those keywords.

It is recommended that you keep your Title short, preferably between 10 and 70 characters.

Use of irrelevant words (not found on the page) in your Title will dilute the impact on your targeted keywords. Use of irrelevant words can also trigger the spam filters of the search engines. Place your most targeted keyword phrases as early as possible in the Title. Try to minimize the use offiller words such as: a, an, of, on, etc., as they add to your character count and offer no value.

2. Description Meta Tag

Used to provide a brief description of a Web page, the Description meta tag should clearly describe the purpose of the page, for both the user and the search engines.

  • The importance of the Description tag as an element of the ranking algorithm has decreased significantly over recent years, but some search engines may still support this tag.
  • The search engines will often display the Description along with the Title in the SERPS (search engine results pages).

The maximum length of a displayed description varies between search engines, so wherever possible, try to place your most important keywords early in your Description tag, in case the search engine truncates the results. Ke ep your description tobetween 150 and 200 characters, including spaces, whenever possible. Google will display 154 characters, but other search engines display less. Longer descriptions are of little value, as most search engines place little to no importance on this tag.

Description Meta tags are not intended for the search engines, they exist for human users. Therefore, the text should be written to attract the user and convert them to a buyer, achieving the best ROI for your SEO efforts.

3. Heading Tags(H1-H6)

The “Header tag” is nothing more than a headline of the page, so it should be kept short. 45 characters, including spaces, is a good target.

Each page should have a clearly defined <h1> header tag, to identify the primary subject of the page to both the user and the search engine. Be sure to use the primary search phrase you are targeting within this tag.

It is important that the primary keyword is located in the first heading tag on the page, regardless of its type. Placing the keyword early in the header tag will increase its prominence.

Standard rules apply for the structure of HTML pages. Written in a document-like fashion, they should include:

  • Title
  • Major heading, describing the main purpose of the section.
  • Subheadings, highlighting the key points of each subsection.

Many search engines rank the words found in headings higher than the words found in the body text of the document. Some search engines will also incorporate keywords by looking at all the heading tags on a page.

Don’t try to stuff your heading tag with too many keywords, or words that are not relevant to the content in the body. Having multiple <h1> tags on the same page may cause you to be subjected to a penalty by the search engines, as it may be seen in the same light as “ keyword stuffing “.

It is certainly appropriate to have multiple headlines appearing on a page, like <h2>,<h3> , etc., provided they follow a hierarchical order. The <h1> should be the first heading tag, followed by the <h2> , then the <h3> , and so on.

4. Phrase Elements

Use the semantical tags <STRONG> and <EM> tags for targeted keywords within the visible content of your pages, but sparingly. Those tags are alternatives to the <B> and <I> tags, which can also be used, but are for visual presentation purposes only.

5. Alt Attributes

Resist the temptation to stuff your alt. attributes with keywords. Keyword density is no longer as important as it once was, and doing so could subject you to penalties.

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