SEO : Search Engine Optimization

By: , On Saturday, September 19th, 2009

search_enginesSearch engine optimization is the practice of creating search engine friendly web pages with relative content that can be easily searched and indexed. Search engine optimization is usually done with the intention of increasing the amount of traffic to a web site and is a big part of internet marketing.

The following is a simple list of things you can do to improve the search engine optimization of pages on your web site

A simple SEO checklist

  • Semantic Markup: Be sure your pages are well structured. A title tag is probably the single most important tag on a page in respect to search engine optimization, other important tags include heading tags, paragraph tags, strong tags, and emphasis tags. These tags should be used where appropriate and should contain key word which accurately describe the content of your page.
  • Meta Tags: Although not as important as they once where in respect to Search Engine Optimization meta tags are still relevant and should be used. The description meta tag for example is used by many search engines to allow site publishers to display a short description of pages in their own words within search results.

    and the no follow meta tag can be used to tell search engines that a page should not be indexed.

    Click here for more information about meta tags.
  • Site Map: A sitemap.xml file properly formatted and placed in the root directory of your site can be used to let search engines quickly index all of the pages on your site, inform them of which pages are most important, and how often certain pages are updated. XML-Sitemaps.com has a free tool you can use to instantly generate a site map for any site you chose. The free version has some limitations
  • Internal Linking: Aside from your main navigation using contextual links in the content of your site which accurately describe the page they are linking to can be very beneficial in search engine optimization. Consider the following link for example: Web Design Portfolio.
  • Keyword Density: Intelligently using words which describe your page or site as often as possible while maintaining usefulness and readability. Is a good way to let search engines know what your site is all about and what words should be used to find it. Key word density also ties in to semantic markup because keywords used in tags like the title tag, and heading tags have greater bearing on search engine results.
  • URL Keywords: Last but not least, another factor used in determining your pages relevancy by search engines are keywords in the URL. Rather they be a file name such as web-design.html or part of the file path like /web/design/ incorporating a keyword or to into your domain is a big factor in this step as well.

Things to Avoid

  • Duplicate Content: This is the most common mistake made by web publishers. It can occur by having large amounts of identical content in various parts of your site, or by have more than one way to link to your content such as
    http://www.mysite.com

    and

    http://mysite.com

    In most cases a search engine may simply decided which version of content to display, but in some cases where a search engine decides duplicate content is being used as part of a deceptive practice, a sites rankings may be penalized or removed all together. Some ways to avoid duplicate content is to use the no index meta tag for parts of your site that may contain some of the same content, or using permanent redirects so that content is only accessed by a single domain. Read more about duplicate content by clicking here.

  • Black Hat SEO: Refers to a set of spammy SEO tactics which break search engine rules and engage search engine users through deception. This most often involves presenting separate content to search engine users and the search engines themselves in order to achieve higher rankings for keywords that may not be directly related to the sites content. These sort of tactics should be avoided all together. For more info about Black hat SEO click here.

SEO Resources

Feel free to share any thoughts, ideas, or simple SEO tips in the comments below.

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