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  • SEO Basics

    What is SEO?


    The purpose of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to make a website as search engine friendly as possible, so that it can be found when searched for and whenever possible have high rankings in search engines like Google.


    Search engines collect data about a website by sending an electronic spider to visit the site and copy its content, which is then stored in the search engine’s database for future reference.


    Spiders (also known as 'bots' start reading in the top left hand corner of a site, and will read content line by line from left to right. If columns are used spiders will follow the left hand column to the end then moving to the remaining columns. If a spider encounters a link it can follow, it records the link and sends another bot to copy/record data found on the linked document. The spider will proceed through the original web site until it records everything it finds.


    SEO makes it easier for the spiders to get around so the search engine's database fills accurately.



    Some Basics for Using it Right


    • Have a SEO sitemap. Link to a text-based sitemap in your footer. (Note, this is different than a design sitemap or a visitor sitemap.)
    • Limit access to your website with a robots.txt file (I use this)
    • Good site URL. Make a site URL as relevant to the site's purpose/uniqueness as possible (like
    • Good title tag. This shows in the tab of your web site and should also appeal to search engines.
    • Choose unique/specific keywords. Focus on niche keywords related to a product, service, or unique promotion of the site's contents, rather than many general ones. Also, use keywords that people actually use when performing searches on the subject your web site targets.
    • Description meta tag. This uses two or three complete sentences with the strongest keyword phrases woven early into each sentence.
    • Keywords meta tag. This is not so well-used now, though it does not hurt to use a number of relevant terms about your site in here.
    • Good clear content. Search engine spiders read basic body text 100% of the time. A solid SEO guideline is if you need to more than one topic on a page, you need more pages, which is actually less confusing to spiders.
    • Appropriate and consistent repetition. For the szteps above, be sure to use the same or at least consistent phraseology in each case, so that the search engines pick up a consistent message to use in your ranking. For instance, be sure to use the company name and/or niche phrasing in your Title, Metatags, Captions, Content, Accessibility Attributes, and Commenting.
    • Back Links. Back links are websites that link directly to your website. Per Google, the more back links you have, the higher your pages will be ranked.
    • Add metadata to the objects you insert in your website, like images, media, animations, slideshows, PDFs, etc. In the programs you use to create these objects, you can add meta information that will be embedded (hidden) into the object, so that if that object is linked to by someone else, your metadata is there.
    • Appropriate Link Building. Build links to your site from others by being a contributor to social media blogs and sites. When you do so, make sure your name/company name is included, and create a link to your site as allowed. You can also do this in the footer of your outgoing emails and text messaging.
    • Add Social media optimization. This is the methodization of social media activity to attract visitors to website content. Examples include adding social media features to your content (like RSS Feeds, sharing buttons that allow Like and Share, etc.), adding polls and user rating tools, and promoting your activities in social media forums. Definitely link to your Facebook, LinkedIn, and other key profile sites.


    Some Thou Shalt Nots


    • Too many/Non-relevant back links. Back links are good if they are from websites that are related to yours, such as LinkedIn and Monster links to your resume site. They are bad if they are links to every Tom, Dick and Harry that no one cares about. More is NOT better.
    • Link Farming. Exchanging reciprocal links with Web sites (particularly unrelated web sites) in order to increase search engine optimization is considered spamming. The occasional exchange is okay, but the wholesale farming for quantity is not.
    • Irrelevant keywords. Using keywords words totally unrelated to the site's content and purpose just to get rankings seems disreputable and search engines do catch this and penalize you.
    • Hidden links and keywords. Trying to overstimulate spiders with hidden keywords in the body of your website (like words that are the same color as the background or hidden in comment batches) is a bad idea. So bad that search engines can (and do) ban your site.
    • Duplicate pages. These are seen as spamming by search engines and also call for banning.
    • Poor or non-descriptive link anchor text. Anchor text or text link that does not the search engines what the linked site is about - 'Click Here' doesn't mean anything to a spider.
    • Ignoring best practices. An example of good practice: put keywords in ALT tags, page file names, headlines, title tags and link anchor text.