Tips on Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, SEO
SEO is a very commonly understood term among internet affluents. It means the process of editing and improving your website so that it gains favorable results from search engines, thus placing them higher in the rankings. This obviously means that you get more traffic. SEO has become quite an expensive thing and you can frequently find locations that promise good SEO for fairly big chunks of money. However, most of the necessary information is available online, and for free.
When it comes down to it, very few people really fully understand how a search engine handles their rankings. I'm sure it's a well kept secret. However, there are many general tips that people can follow to improve their rankings.
- Keywords. Make sure your website, or web page, has commonly used keywords and key phrases on it. Don't place too many as this will hurt your rankings. But placing them intelligently in a modest fashion will help a lot. It also helps if you find expensive keywords if you want to monetize your site and not just drive traffic to it. Google Adwords has some good tools for this keyword process.
- URLs. Your URLs affect your rankings quite a bit. Particularly if they have keywords in them. Dynamic URLs tend to be a turnoff for search engines, so it's best to use .htaccess to re-write your URLs to end in .html. This process can often be done automatically by various kinds of software or modifications. The URL 'content7.php?id=102' is much less favorable than '7-102-relevantpagetitle.html.' Your URL should portray as much as possible about your page without being too long or complicated.
- Errors. Proof-read your website and make sure there are no spelling mistakes as this can hurt your rankings.
- Code errors. Make sure your code is up to standard and isn't using any pieces of deprecated code. There are many code checkers/fixers around online that can scan your page for errors. Try to make use of this as outdated and incorrect code will hurt your rankings.
- Links. Links are very important for your rankings. The quality of the links is much more important than the quantity so make sure your links are relevant and also well created web sites. Reciprocal links are better than 1-way.
- Images. Make sure all your images have pre-set widths, heights, and alternate descriptions in case they don't load. In terms of HTML:
Wrong: <img src="/image.jpg">
Right: <img src="/image.jpg" width="50" height="50" alt="My Image">
- Meta tags. Make sure your meta tags are updated, appropriate, well thought out, and all inclusive. There are quite a few different types of meta tags beyond keywords and descriptions, be sure to understand them. If nothing else, at least pick appropriate title tags.
- Create a sitemap! Many websites can do this for you for free if you don't want to do it yourself.
- Review website statistics. Systems like Google Webmasters or Awstats can give you wonderful information about your website that can highlight problems, weak spots, or strengths. Use this information to further build on your website. Things you may find useful include who's linking to you, how many errors you have had of what type, and what keywords lead people to your site.
- Do your own research. SEO techniques change over time, some become outdated, new ones appear. Every few months take another look at SEO and see if you need to change anything.
The general idea is to portray to the search engine you have a thoroughly designed website that was well thought out and is not trying to cheat the system. You need relevant content, appropriate code, good links, and overall the whole site needs to be solid and legitimate. Avoid spam link submissions and filling your pages with a lot of keywords. Best of luck to you!
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