SEO Tips. These are the minimum your website's optimisation should include.
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A friend asked me today to give her a few SEO tips and tricks so she can have a better idea about how to optimise a website, or at least recognise if an SEO company is at least performing best SEO practice.

The answer to effective SEO is both simple and complex. It's simple in that there are only a few elements you need to focus on, but it becomes complex when you have to work out WHAT to include in those elements.

So, let's examine some of the elements you need to focus on:

SEO Tips
The browser title - <title> - is the name or string which appears at the top of your Internet browser. This is arguably one of the most important elements of your website, as far as Google is concerned. I can usually tell if a site has been optimised within seconds by looking at that title area. Restrict it to no more than about 60 to 80 characters.

The meta description - <meta name="description" content="" /> - is important to Google, but only as a fallback if it can't find a relevant snippet of information the page. A note to the wise: your SEO and page content should be in synch with each other - in other words, don't try and fool Google. Keep it short, relevant and descriptive - not long and "spammy". Restrict the description tag to no more than about 160 characters.

The meta keywwords - <meta name="keywords" content="" /> - is no longer used by Google, and hasn't been for many years. However, some search engines still use it, and one of Google's engineers has quite clearly stated that he does not rule out that they may in fact use it again in the future. Don't stuff it with spam. Keep it short - I usually add about 3 or 4 relevant keyword phrases "just in case".

The page title is displayed to your visitors - it must make sense (obviously), but also try and include your main SEO keyword phrase or target in it.

Headline tags (coded as <h1>, <h2>, <h3> <h4> <h5> and <h6>) are looked upon favourably by Google. You should use the <h1> only once on a page, which would usually be the title, and use the others for various sub- headings etc. Note that you do not need to use all of the tags to be effective, but they should be used semantically.

Navigation, or buttons, should be easy to use for visitors, but should also be able to be followed by search engines. A good basic check to see if your links can been seen by search engine crawlers is to place your mouse over a link, and see if it appears in the status bar of your web browser (the very bottom left of the program usually).

Further, your page URLs should be search engine friendly, and a good check of this is ask yourself if they are "people friendly". For example, let's say you sell shoes. If your links read like this, index.asp?pageid=586&catid=abc, rather than (e.g.) /womens-shoes/manolo-blahnik.html, then you have some work to do!

The on-page copy is how the search engines, in particular Google, determine how relevant your website is to a search query. As a rule of thumb, try and include around 400 to 500 words per page, and make sure your on-page copy matches your search engine optimisation.

As we all know, copy, or text, isn't the only element you should include in your website. Don't forget about images and video - all of which can be optimised to be attractive to Google, and help your search results.

Finally, sitemaps are a good way to tell Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc about ALL your pages. You should have an xml sitemap, as well as a html sitemap in your website.

There is much more to effective SEO than the few tips above. It helps if you have a basic understanding of what is required, but you should really use a professional search engine optimiser. When looking for someone to hire to help with your website's SEO, make sure the person (or company) you hire has a lot of experience, and has REAL results they can show you.

Liken SEO to plumbing. You can read all the plumbing books available, but would you really tackle the more in-depth, complex tasks involved in home plumbing? It does help to have some knowledge of plumbing techniques (or SEO) though, so you can see through a lot of the BS that is floating around.

For more information, or help with your Search Engine Optimisation, please contact Rob at JustWeb - www.justweb.com.au

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Rob - JustWeb

15.11.2010


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