- Internet & the Web
Increase your website traffic and improve search engine ranking with these basic SEO factors
What is a website?
We all know what a website is but let me not assume that and try and define it.
From Wikipedia a website is a set of related web pages containing content such as text, images, video, audio, etc.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Website).
For me a website is simply an online ‘company/individual profile’ which is accessible to any one in the world who has a computer and internet. It creates an online presence and is a form of a communication tool that works well to build an image or brand.
Websites normally have visitors in form of human website visitors and spiders/website crawlers. For those who are keen on their website statistics and analytics, they will realize that the crawlers form part of their traffic on a monthly or regular basis.
Examples of web crawlers and spiders
What are website crawlers and spiders?
Website spiders or crawlers are basically sofware programs that run on search engines and normally visit websites and web pages to create, edit and add data to their large web databases. When they find content from the web, they crawl links inside the content and retrieves the pages from those links just like a surfer that’s why they form part of your monthly visitors count.
Today, there are millions and millions of web content on the databases and as a result search engines like Google often update their algorithms on how to display what results to a search query. A lot of relevant and irrelevant results come up when one types a query. A website should then be designed to ‘please’ all website visitors – human visitors and web crawlers / spiders’ visitors. Remember the more visitors you have to your website the more likely you are to make a sale or ‘spread the word’ depending on what purpose you created your website for and the more you ‘please’ the crawlers, the more likely you are to be shown high on relevant search query results. The more you are shown high on search results the more chances of visitors clicking your link – whether it’s relevant to them or not.
A website generally has two sections – the human readable area which we see with our naked eyes when we open the website pages and the spider readable area which contains codes that the search engines read and interpret to understand what the website is all about. In this article I will touch on a few HTML basics I have realized are good to ‘please’ the crawlers and therefore have your webpage easily and highly returned on the search results when a human crawler types in a query.
First, your webpage must comply with the general internationally recognized and accepted XHTML standard which is a HEAD section and a BODY section. The head area is anything that goes in between <head> and </head> tags and the body area is anything that goes in between the <body> and </body> tags.
THE HEAD TAG AREA
The head tag is a very critical element to the search engines and it largely affects how well your website is displayed on the search results. Some of the elements which are included in the head tags include:
1.Title tags <title> and </title>
The title is what is shown when the web page is displayed on a browser and on search engines results. The trick here is to write an eye catching title that will arouse curiosity to the readers so that they are tempted to click on the link. Good titles should be relevant to the content of the page. Good titles should also contain the main keywords of the page as well selected relevant keywords will make your page rank higher.
2.Keyword meta tags <meta name="keywords" content="keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3…">
This is an area where you list the keywords for the page. Other than smartly titling your page with your main keywords, the keyword Meta tags gives you an opportunity to list a few more. Using synonyms of your keyword and key phrases rather than just one word will help in your efforts. Make sure to focus your keywords and key phrases relevant only on the content of that particular page rather than what’s on the whole website.
Avoid using too many keywords here as the spiders might look at your page as a spam.
3.Descriptions tags <meta name="description" content="a short description of the page here">
After your title on the search results, search engines will normally display your description. A good description should contain around 25-30 words. Just like in the title and keyword Meta tags, including your main keywords and key phrases on the description helps to please the search engines. Make sure to make them appealing to the reader so as to attract traffic to the web page. The description should be unique only to that particular page and relevant to the page content.
THE BODY TAG AREA
This tag contains all the information that is visible to your site visitors when they land on the webpage. The first few words of your body text are important because should you forget to put a description on your page, the search engines automatically pick the page descriptions from the first few words. Good ways to make use of the keywords and key phrases you defined on your “keyword meta tag” is to wisely put them at the beginning sentence of the first paragraph, use them widely on your content and at the end of your body text. Here you can also use various attributes such as bold and italics to highlight the keywords on the text. Search engines are ‘well pleased’ by such text attributes and those words are taken with some ‘weight’ when they are ranking your page.
Secondly, when you have defined your page keywords, title and description; pay attention to your body tag section.
1. Headings: Headings are good to both the human site visitor and the crawlers. To the human visitors, they are pleasing to the eye and for the crawlers they consider headings especially bold ones and give them more relevance weight in relation to your web page content. Again, the trick here is to use your main keywords for the page within the headings especially the first headline of the page.
2. Link text: Linking texts on your webpage to internal or external pages is also good for your webpage ranking and especially where the linked text is your keywords.
3. Alt attributes for images: These attributes are alternative text for images that are normally displayed when your browser is not able to load your image or before it fully loads depending on your internet speed. The text for images is good for search engine optimization because search engines use them to substitute the anchor text if the image is a hyperlink. The trick here is to use your keywords on the alt attributes.
Have you used all the HTML elements on your website?
HOW TO VIEW THE TITLE AND META TAGS OF A WEB PAGE
If you are not sure you implemented the above while designing your webpage or are not sure if your designer was keen enough to ‘please’ both the search engines and human visitors, you can confirm by:
- Open your webpage on the browser
- Right click anywhere on the page and
- Click on “view page source” or "view source" option
On the page source, you will see all the above attributes and if it was not implemented, then your page is missing out on key basic areas that will improve your search engine optimization and ranking on the World Wide Web directories.