Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies, 4th Edition
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If the very best location on the web is on page one of the search engines, you need to know the SEO elements that can get you there. A good place to start is with keywords.

Search engines use advanced processes to categorize and analyze keyword usage and other factors in order to figure out what each website is about and bring searchers the web pages they’re looking for. The more relevant your keywords and content are to the user’s query and intent, the better chance your page has of ranking in a search engine’s results. Keeping the keywords clear, precise, and simple helps the search engines do their job a whole lot faster.

The advantage of an SEO-compliant site

Having an SEO-compliant website entails tailoring your website so that it follows search engine guidelines and communicates clearly what it’s about and in a way search engines can understand.

Communicating well with search engines includes optimizing your page titles and metadata so that they contain relevant keywords for your subject.

Also, make sure that your web pages contain searchable text and not just pretty Flash animations and images, and that all your images contain an Alt attribute with brief text that describes the content of the image.

You also need to be sure that all your internal content as well as your links are organized in a hierarchical manner that allows both search engines and users to easily understand what a site is about. Use this list to get yourself organized:

  • Title tag

  • Meta Description tag

  • Meta Keywords tag

  • Heading tag(s)

  • Textual content

  • Alt attributes on all images

  • Fully qualified links

  • Sitemaps

  • Text navigation

  • Canonical elements

  • Structured data markup

  • URL structure (file naming, limiting parameters)

  • Ordered and unordered lists

  • JavaScript/CSS externalized

  • Robots text (.txt) file

  • Web analytics

  • Keyword research

  • Link development

  • Image names

  • Privacy statement

  • Contact information

  • Dedicated IP address

Defining a clear subject theme

Another way of getting a high keyword ranking is having a clear subject-matter theme to the site. If you’re selling kits to customize classic cars, keeping your website focused on the topic of classic car customization not only makes it easier for users to navigate your site and research or purchase what they need, but it also increases your credibility and your chances of ranking for related keyword queries.

Search engine spiders are programs that crawl the World Wide Web to search for and index data. The more similarly themed keywords you have on your pages, the better. It’s the nature of a search engine to break up a site into subjects that add up to an overall theme for easy categorization, and the more obvious your site theme is, the higher your results will be.

It’s kind of like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and deciding you want to get a salad. You, the search engine, immediately go to the salad corner of the buffet because it’s been clearly labeled, and from there, you can do your breakdowns. You want romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing, so you go to where they keep the lettuce, the trimmings, and the dressings in the salad bar section.

It’s easy to find what you want if everything is grouped accordingly. But if the restaurant stuck the dressing over with the mashed potatoes, you’d have trouble finding it because salad dressing and potatoes don’t normally go together.

Similarly, when you keep your website content organized with everything in its proper place, the search engine views your content with clarity, understanding what you’re about — which in turn improves your credibility as an expert and gives you a better chance to rank. Siloing is a way of structuring your content and navigational links in order to present a clear subject-matter theme to the search engines.

Focusing on consistency

Methodical consistent implementation is the principle that says that when you update your website, you should do it the same way every time. Your site should have a consistent look and feel over time without massive reorganizations at every update. In order for a search engine to maintain efficiency, you need to keep related content all placed in the same area.

It is confusing to customers to have things constantly changing around. Search engines and visitors to your website face the same challenge as a restaurant patron. The restaurant owner shouldn’t scatter the salad dressings according to the whims of his buffet designer, randomly moving things every time he gets in a new topping or someone discontinues one of the old dressings.

You also need to keep all your updating processes consistent. That way, if something goes wrong during your next update, you can pinpoint what went wrong where without too much hassle.

Building for the long term

You need to consider your persistence for the long term., as with any business, you want to build your website to last without letting it fall behind and look dated. Relevancy to the current market is a big part of this, and if your site is behind the times, it’s probably behind your competitors.

The technology that you use to build your website is inevitably going to change as the Internet advances, but your approach to relevancy should remain the same, incorporating new technologies as they arise. In the early days of the web, for example, frames were used to build sites, but that looks very outdated now.

A few years ago, splash pages (introductory pages, mostly built in Flash and providing little content or value to the user) were very popular. Today, they are discouraged because the search engines cannot typically see much of the content behind the Flash programming and therefore don’t know what the page is about.

Web developers and designers should use code that is compatible with the search engines.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Bruce Clay has been a search engine optimization consultant since before there was Google. Today, Bruce Clay, Inc., is a leading search marketing company providing SEO services and consulting, pay-per-click advertising management, content development, and social media marketing services. Learn more at Kristopher B. Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing agency and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay in 2009. He most recently founded three-time SEO agency of the year finalist and DIY Software company

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