Talking about search engine optimization is as exciting as watching grass grow. Only read on if you feel compelled. Bit like a root canal…
Research shows that web users prefer organic listings to paid listings, considering them more relevant and trustworthy. Organic (natural) results are those that occur naturally within search engine results pages (SERPS) and high results depend on both technical construction of your site and the content within it.
Search engines employ complex mathematical equations, known as ranking algorithms, to order search results. Google’s algorithm alone relies on more than 200 individual factors to decide which result, in which order, to return to web searchers.
Domain Name Selection: Domain names (URL) are a key factor in both search engine and directory positioning.
Web Site Copywriting: Web page copy is of major importance for search engines, directories, and customers. Search robots need machine-readable content (text) in your pages and HTML tags to index your site. Directory editors decide whether or not to list your site based on unique and relevant content. Customers make buying decisions based savvy marketing copy.
Text: near the top of the page is important to search spiders, as are keywords at the beginning of paragraphs and in headings. Write your text first, then create meta tags relevant to specific page content. Write for people first and search engines second. It’s not easy to write compelling marketing copy that skillfully integrates your keywords, so it’s a bonus to have content written by a pro.
Meta Tags: Despite less reliance on meta tags, it pays to provide title, description, keywords, heading, and alternate tags in the head section of all your indexable pages. All your meta tags should be unique and apply to a specific page. These include title, description, meta keywords, heading and alt tags.
Basic Links, Hypertext Links and Sitemap: Search spiders must have plenty of basic links to follow. Search engine spiders will index the text on your homepage, then attempt to follow links from there to other pages in your site.
Most search engines can’t follow dynamic links (question mark in URL), so basic links or image maps must be provided.
The text in website links is important and should include keywords related to the page it’s linking to.A site map is imperative to provide links for search spiders.
Hypertext Links: Ideally, links should have a keyword in the link text or in an .alt description of the image or area tag.
Sitemap: Makes it easier for search spiders to find all web pages. Also useful for site visitors. This tool includes a categorized list of all the pages on your site.
Directory and File Names: Because many engines and directories index file names and even directory names, it pays to create these using keywords whenever possible.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a major player and has become a standard in website statistics. Google Analytics shows how people find your site, how they explored it, and how their visitor experience can be enhanced. Google Analytics is a powerful tool for monitoring all aspects of website traffic, from referrals to search engine activity. Can’t beat the cost (free) and its rich feature set. Analytics code must be embedded on every website page.
Robots Exclusion File: It’s important to have a robots.txt file present in the root directory because some search spiders will not crawl a site if they don’t find the robots.txt file.
Link Popularity: Most search engine algorithms now include link popularity, which started with Google’s PageRank. This technology works by first identifying the link structure of the entire Web, then ranking individual pages based on the number and importance of pages linked to them. Identifying inbound links and increasing the number of important, relevant inbound links is an essential part of SEO strategy. Integration with social media is taking on greater importance and is crucial for the ultimate success of any website.
And as a reward for wading through all this technical stuff, enjoy the viral video of the month: