The primary focus of search engine optimization (SEO) is to improve search engine results and improve user experience. Several simple adjustments can significantly create a noticeable impact to online visibility and traffic. Whether the plan is to launch a new website or a re-design project of an existing website now is a good time to evaluate and add improvements that will ensure the website is search engine friendly. However, without knowledge and proper application of its usage, there are potential dangers that can affect the reputation and visibility of a site; understanding the advantages and disadvantages of responsible (SEO) management save both time and money.
Create and include Meta tag data for the index or home page of the site. Place Meta tag data between the HTML <head> </head> tags of the page. Meta tag data includes at the least <title>, <description>, and <keywords> that accurately reflect the context of the business, product, or service.
For multi-paged sites, create page titles that are unique and accurately communicate the context of the page. According to Google's recommended practices, the title page should not use default values such as untitled, page 1, or a single title tag throughout all the site's pages. This step helps search engines to distinguish that page from other pages on the site.
Create page descriptions that are unique and communicate the context of that page. Page descriptions are included in search results to provide a brief overview of the page's content. Page descriptions that are generic across multiple pages, or have no relevance to the content, is hard to find via search engine technology.
Select keywords that are relevant to the context. Envision keywords and word search strings as if you were the reader. Select keywords that identify a main idea, topic, or support facts relevant to a category. Select keywords that reference primary information within the content of the body. Ensure the top keywords are included in both the title and description data; however, do not use repeat instances of the same keywords within the keyword Meta tag. Google offers a free SEO Ranking Tool to help site owners identify which are the words and phrases that most used and offers a detailed report.
Organization and Structure
Good organization and structure are the basis for finding information easily and quickly. Categories and filenames unique to it its content makes the pages more organized and easier for the search engines to crawl the pages. Page URL strings should be recognizable or at least relative to the content. According to Google, URL strings with unidentifiable IDs or parameters have a higher risk of exclusion from search query results. Like titles, snippets of the words from the URL appear in search results and are bolded if included in the user's search query. Choose URL links that go to specific pages, rather than generic company links. Too generic links can flag your content as spam.
A sitemap is a single or set of pages designated to providing a hierarchical listing of hyperlinks to all pages that exist on the site. It displays the structure, including, category and departments, that exist within a site. Although intended for user access when having difficulty locating needed information on the site, search engines also traffic site map pages and is a good source for page indexing and inclusion. XML sitemaps create an easier process for search engines to map and index pages from the site. Google offers an online Site Map Generator.
Emphasis draws attention not only to the reader, but also for search engine technology. Including headlines, subheads, bolding and italics are ways to add emphasis to key phrases and easy identification. Emphasized text adds positive meaning and impact for search engine results. Limit usage of jargon, innuendo, and words with double meanings because search engine technology does not understand concepts or ideas.
Knowledge is power when preparing to incorporate search engine technology and optimization practices into a site. Becoming familiar with terms, applications, and how search engines work will gain positive visibility and impact for the business. There are free resources available online such as Google Webmaster Guidelines and Google 101. Other sources include the
Webmaster Tools guide and Google Webmaster Central, each of which are good places to start when developing or redefining best practices and administration rules for website management.
There are no guarantees to gaining top ranking results. Advertisements that promise such guarantees, are simply false advertisements. As stated by Google, there are secrets, ad placements, or search engine applications that will grant priority rankings for any site. To add a site to Google, go to the Add URL page and submit the URL.