Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is both art and science. It is what you do to your site to bridge what people search for with how search engines rank sites. Check your site listing frequently and resubmit as necessary.
What words will people use to search for your site?
- Keywords are words or phrases two to three words long that describe your web page.
- Each page in a site may have different keywords that fit the content on
To optimize a site, keywords should appear in specific locations:
- Title tag - include the most important keyword for
the page (50-80 characters including spaces).
- Try to use keywords in the beginning of the page's body
text. Each page should have at least 200 words.
- META description tag - are important for ranking and may be unique on every page (<255 characters).
- Image ALT attributes.
- Use text navigation and use the keywords a the link text in order or priority.
- Use text for important names, content or links instead of images.
- Create a text sitemap of the most important pages (do not exceed 100 links) and link to it from every page.
- Your URL counts too. Try to have your URL include your keyword and have your URL be the last text on the page.
Use hyphens between word in your.
- Note: tables can push content further down the page in successive columns.
- Note: META keywords tag are not used by search engines to rank sites. You do not need to add this tag to your site.
Keywords must reflect the page content.
- Use sufficient HTML for text. Your keywords should be frequently used,
high on the page, but not excessively used.
- Donít rewrite keywords in text. If people search for "fish food" use "fish food" in your text, not
"food for fish".
- Use relevant text as links to other pages. Use "buy fish food" as your
link, not "buy some now" and never "click here".
- Some search engines index ATL attributes of image tags. The ALT
attribute should be text that can substitute for the image if it isn't
displayed. Include keywords there but don't make all ALT attributes the
- HTML text must be visible to be indexed. Tiny fonts or
background-colored fonts may not be indexed and may get you
blocked by search engines.
Avoid Search Engine Stumbling Blocks
Items to avoid for keyword placement:
- Image maps - if used, include html links too
- Frames - some engines canít index frame sites
- Multimedia (Flash, Shockwave, streaming video)
- Text as images
- Pages that require registration, cookies, or passwords
- Java applets
- PDF (except Google)
- Dynamic content - URLs with "?" in them (except Google)
- URLs with symbols may not be followed
- Bleeding edge technology
Build Popularity through Links
Links from other web sites related to your topic increase your rank. Search using your keywords and ask the top sites to link to your site.
No Search Engine Spamming
Spamming will backfire. If a search engine detects spamming it may penalize or ban your site.
- Your keywords must appear in the body text or you may be accused of spamming.
- Donít overuse keywords.
- Keywords must relate to your siteís content.
- Donít duplicate pages with different URLs.
- Donít use tiny fonts or background-colored fonts to trick search engines.
- Donít use comment tags to list keywords.
- Only visible text, meta, title and alt text will be indexed.
Submit Your Key Pages
Don't rely on submission services.
- Use a robots.txt file (http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/robots.html) to let search engines know where not to search.
- Manually submit your top two or three pages to the major search engines. Most search engines follow links when indexing, but they might miss an important page.
- Verify your listing; occasionally search for your site to make sure it is listed and resubmit if necessary.
- Resubmit after making significant changes.
- Resubmit a couple times a year.
- Check the top engines for their suggestions on how to optimize your site
before you submit your URL.
In Addition to Search Engines
Search engines are not the only way people find your site. Add your URL to all your marketing material and advertising.
Web site promotion