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SEO Website Basics

24-Jan-2010 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has many tactics but they can all be divided into either on page or off page.

On Page SEO is placing keywords in various strategic locations within your website that you would use to search for your business.  So imagine you are a potential customer and you don't know your business name, what words would you type into Google to find your busienss, what words would you use?  Those words are your keywords.  But it is not that simple, because each individual person will search in a different way, they will use different words depending on age, how computer literate they are, what industry they are in and how familiar they are with your industry etc.

Off-Page SEO is using a range of tactics some of which include listing your site on directories, creating landing pages so the links go back to your website, commenting on forums, creating blogs with links back to your website and basically promoting your site as much as possible on the internet outside of your website.

Both On-Page and Off-Page SEO have varying levels of detail, this article will cover the basics of On-Page SEO.

Page Names

When you create a new page for your site and you name it "Home.htm" can you imaging how many other sites on the internet have their home page named "home.htm"  Try and use keywords in your page name for example "website-design-development-wangaratta-home.htm" this is much more descriptive.


Page Titles

What They Are: Page titles appear in the top of a user’s browser window. Page titles also appear in the link text on search engine result pages.
Format: Description with Keywords – Page Name and content
Example:

Website Design Development update websites SEO Content Management Systems Wangaratta North East Victoria

Website development sydney business catalyst websites


As you can see the title contains many keywords relating to Website design and development.

There are many Meta tags but for basic SEO there are only two you need to look at.  Keywords and Description.

Meta Descriptions:

What They Are: This tag is used as the description of the page when you do a web search. This is more important than meta-keywords.
Maximum Length: 256 Characters (including spaces) as these will be the only words that will be seen in search results.
Format: Provide a short summary of what that specific web page is about so it needs to be enticing enough to encourage a user to click on the link.
Example:
Website design development strategy and SEO

Meta Keywords:

What They Are: Meta-keywords are a list of descriptive words about the content on your web page. Although not weighted very heavily in modern search engine algorithms, meta-keywords do provide search engines with one more element to describe the page.
Maximum Length: 256 Characters (including spaces and commas)
Format: Each keyword or keyword phrase should be separated by comma. Each keyword phrase is to be used only once. Although you have a 256 character maximum to work with, all 256 characters do not have to be used.
Example: website design company, website development company, web design company, web development company, website design company, website development company.

TIP: you can have many different variations on keywords, for example these phrases are not the same.

  • website design
  • website design
  • website designer
  • website designer
  • website designs
  • web site designs
Each of these are unique keywords as the search engines see them as different.

Images

When you create or add an image to your website I recommend you rename it to include your keywords for example instead of "pic01.jpg" you might want to use "People-smiling-website-design-development-wangaratta.jpg"  the first two words should reflect what the image is about and the other words should relate to the content of the page.


Image ALT tags

These are a but trickier, when you add an image to your site there should be a place you can add alternative text.  Add a description of the image and some keywords.  These words appear prior to the page images loading and are visible in the code that the Search Engines scan, increasing your keyword count on the page.

Content

I recommend you have enough text on each page (300 - 500 words) so the Search Engine Robots can get an idea of the subject of the page and index it appropriately as well as provide relevant content for your human visitors, this can be a balancing act.

W3C standards

Validation is one of the simplest ways to check whether a page is built in accordance with Web standards, and provides one of the most reliable guarantee that future Web Browser will handle it as designed, just like our human visitors need clear, easy-to-understand content and navigation on your pages; search engine robots need that same kind of clarity in order to index the site easily.  You can validate your site at WC3 -  http://validator.w3.org/

Summary

I have barely touched the surface of On-Page SEO and these are the absolute basics that every website should have.  It is always good to remember that you want to make your site Search Engine friendly however you also want your website user to have a good experience on your site so keep in mind these two types of visitors when you are building or editing your site.

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