Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Common Sense SEO Tips

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often thought of as a mystical dark art. Many folks are making a good living off giving advice on how to increase your ranking in the major search engines, some of them even know what they're talking about. In many cases the "tricks" involved are common sense and can be implemented without too much trouble. The clever part is recognising what is the best approach for each particular site.

Here are my best simple tips to get you found via Search Engines

Search Term Targeting
Think about what terms people would type into a search engine if they wanted to find your site. It's better to get 10 visitors who will be interested in your content than 100 visitors who will immediately leave and never return. Compile a list of terms you would expect your site to be well ranked for and target those terms. Make sure these terms appear in your page's body text. Keep the list in a spreadsheet and record your Search Engine ranking so you can measure improvement.

Good Content
Make sure you have a decent chunk of crawlable text. Webcrawlers don't index text if it's just in an image. Make sure the content includes the terms you want to be found for. If your product or service is regional then include those details on every page (the page footer does nicely), then you'll be more likely to be found when people search for "kitten jugglers London SW15".

Page Title
The content of the page's <title> tag is taken as a description of the page content. This is a key index for your pages. Make sure the title is clear but succinct. Limit it to 5-10 words, including your company name. Don't use the same title on multiple pages or they may be grouped as one page in search engine results.

Well Formed Links
Never ever use click here links. Link text is one of the best indexing opportunities you have, don't squander it. The text in links to your pages are treated in a similar way to page titles but links to your pages are aggregrated.

Meta Tags
Do use the keyword and description metatags. Keep it clear and simple. The keywords tag is said to be less used of late due to heavy abuse, but Yahoo claims to still support it. The description tag should provide a concise explanation of your page's content.

<meta name="description" content="An introduction to the nocturnal habits of hedgehogs of United Kingdom">
<meta name="keywords" content="hedgehog United Kingdom UK Erinaceinae nocturnal insectivore furze-pig">


If your website includes mulitple languages, translated content or is not in English you should consider also using the language tag.

Seeding
If your site is brand new and hasn't been indexed yet, you can get the ball rolling by adding it to the Open Directory Project. Search engines are an incestuous bunch feeding off each other and this is a good entry point as it's used by AltaVista, A9, AOL, Ask, Clusty, Gigablast, Google, Lycos, MSN, and Yahoo.

Webmaster Tools
Google's Webmaster Tools can tell you if anything is going wrong on your site that could be affecting your search ranking. You can read about Webmaster Tools in an earlier post.

No comments:

Post a Comment