An Introduction To Search Engine Optimization And Web Design

An Introduction To Search Engine Optimization And Web Design

Create a​ website and​ in​ no time at​ all you will be receiving visitors, right? Wrong. it​ can take time before a​ search engine finds and​ indexes your site. Once it​ does, it​ is​ by no means any guarantee that you will be one of​ the​ first sites listed under your subject. Search engines index billions of​ pages and​ even the​ most obscure subject can have thousands of​ pages. for​ example, the​ American Wirehair cat is​ extremely rare-only twenty-two were registered with the​ Cat Fancier's association in​ 2003. Yet, when I type in​ “American Wirehair Cat” into Google, it​ gives me 220,000 pages to​ choose from. That means there are about 100,000 pages for​ each cat! Yahoo gave me fewer choices--only 99,100 pages.

So how do you put your webpage at​ the​ head of​ the​ pack? it​ all comes down to​ search engine optimization. Search engine optimization, or​ SEO, is​ the​ term used to​ describe methods and​ tricks used that will help improve how search engines rank your page. the​ higher that your page ranks, the​ better chance your page will be selected by someone searching, resulting in​ more traffic to​ your site.

Search Engines like Google and​ Yahoo! use complicated, highly guarded algorithms to​ rank your website that can be so confusing Einstein himself would have trouble figuring it​ out. Instead of​ focusing on those issues, let us instead focus on a​ few basic areas that will help improve your websites ranking.

One final note about search engines: the​ most popular search engine in​ July 2018, according to​ Nielsen NetRatings, was Google. Almost half of​ the​ individuals they surveyed used that search engine. Yahoo! came in​ second with about 24% of​ users followed by MSN (10%), AOL (6%), and​ Ask (3%). All other search engines share about 8% of​ the​ market. for​ that reason, this article will focus mainly on Yahoo! and​ Google.

Choosing the​ right keywords for​ your page is​ the​ most important step in​ SEO. in​ actuality, "keywords" usually key phrases since you will be choosing about three or​ four key phrases for​ each page of​ your website and​ rarely focus on a​ simple word. it​ is​ important that you are specific when picking your phrases. You need to​ stay away from generic terms such as​ “cat,” “television,” or​ “car.” Pick phrases such as​ “American Wirehair”, “plasma television”, or​ “Chevy Corvette”. the​ more specific you can be the​ higher that your page will be ranked, and​ the​ better chance your page will be found by your target audience.

To pick the​ right phrases, think about what words you would type in​ when looking for​ your site. Ask your friends and​ family members what they would type into the​ search engine. Understand that television and​ TV are two different words and​ not interchangeable in​ the​ minds of​ search engines. Going back to​ my example of​ American Wirehair cats, I might choose the​ keywords of​ “American wirehair cat”, “Caleb's Cattery”, and​ “rare cat breeds” for​ the​ fictitious site for​ Caleb's Cattery. Keyword phrases should only be about three to​ four words long.

Domain Name
If you have not picked a​ domain name, it​ is​ best to​ pick one that uses at​ least one of​ your keywords in​ it. Use dashes to​ help separate the​ words, if​ desired. a​ website named or​ is​ better than for​ even better results, choose something like That said, it​ is​ believed that search engines may rank domain names with more two or​ more hyphens lower because they are usually associated with lower-quality or​ spam-ridden sites.

Anchor Tags
Anchor tags, also known as​ anchor text, are the​ visible hyperlinked text on the​ page. Search engines typically weigh them heavily. Make sure that your anchor tags contain as​ many of​ your keywords as​ possible. Also, they should not be too long, although there is​ no limit, and​ be a​ clear indication of​ what the​ user will find by clicking on it.

When designing a​ webpage for​ search engine optimization, it​ is​ important that you use headings (, , ) for​ your titles instead of​ graphic images. Search engines weigh headings heavily as​ an​ indication of​ what content to​ index your pages. Therefore, it​ is​ important that your page have headings that include your keywords. Pages without any headings rank lower in​ search engine results.

Meta Tags
Meta tags help search engines index a​ website correctly. Although there are quite a​ few meta tags to​ choose from, the​ two most important are description and​ keywords. if​ you do not place these two in​ your heading section of​ your website, search engines will decide for​ themselves, usually by taking information from the​ first text it​ can find. Here is​ an​ example of​ each of​ the​ meta tags.

• meta name="description" content="An introduction to​ search engine optimization, or​ SEO, including how to​ pick and​ use the​ right keywords, use meta links, title tags, alt tags, image names, site maps, links, and​ headings.

• meta name="keywords" content="search engine optimization, SEO, webpage design, choosing keywords, anchor tags, headings, meta tags, title tags, alt tags, image names, site maps, robots.txt, keyword spamming or​ stuffing, web content development

The description should be about 170 characters long and​ never exceed 200 characters--including spaces and​ include all the​ major keywords for​ the​ webpage. Notice that commas separate the​ keywords and​ there is​ no comma after the​ last keyword in​ the​ sequence. Also, try not to​ repeat a​ word more than twice in​ the​ listing. a​ lesser important meta tag is​ the​ author tag. While it​ will not help your website be ranked higher, including it​ will help your company or​ your name be recognized.

It is​ critical that your description and​ keywords are accurate and​ relate to​ that page. Listing words or​ phrases that are not included in​ the​ text of​ the​ page lowers their relevance ranking. Search engines will rank the​ relevance of​ terms based on how many times the​ term occurs on the​ page, the​ position they are located in​ the​ document, the​ length of​ the​ document and​ the​ “weight” of​ the​ search term. Weight is​ determined by how often and​ the​ location of​ the​ keyword. Words that appear in​ the​ title, headings, and​ tags are considered heavier than other terms.

Title Tags
Technically, the​ title is​ a​ meta tag but because it​ is​ probably the​ most important one, it​ is​ listed separately. it​ is​ also what search engines list first, so it​ should be carefully thought out. Make sure you have a​ unique title for​ each of​ your pages.

The title tag is​ placed in​ the​ header section inside . Most people simply place the​ name of​ their site in​ the​ title tag, which is​ not good SEO. Instead, place your most important keywords phrases inside the​ title tag without listing them. for​ example, instead of​ saying “Caleb's Cattery” say, “Caleb's Cattery - Home of​ the​ finest rare American Wirehair cats in​ northern New York”.

Length is​ also important. Google displays 66 characters of​ a​ title tag, cropping between words. for​ example, in​ the​ above example, Google would simply list the​ title as​ “Caleb's Cattery - Home of​ the​ finest rare American Wirehair cats.” Yahoo! allows much longer titles, up to​ 120 characters. Therefore, you are best to​ include a​ title that is​ at​ least 66 characters long and​ subtitle that is​ an​ additional 54 characters long. You also want to​ consider what will be displayed by web browsers, such as​ Microsoft Internet Explorer or​ Mozilla Firefox, and​ what would be displayed if​ a​ visitor bookmarked your site or​ on browser indexes. Explorer displays the​ first 95 characters at​ the​ top of​ the​ page, the​ first 48 characters on its tabs, and​ the​ first 60 characters in​ its bookmarks. Mozilla Firefox displays at​ least 130 characters at​ the​ top of​ its pages, 55 characters on its tabs, and​ 43 characters on its bookmarks.

Alt Tags and​ Image Names
Search engines only index text. However, they do index the​ alt tags associated with images. This is​ why you should label each image on your website with tags that use your keywords whenever possible and​ relevant to​ the​ image. Do not include alt tags that are simplistic. if​ Caleb has a​ picture of​ a​ new batch of​ kittens on his site, the​ alt tag should list it​ as​ “American Wirehair kittens from Caleb's Cattery” instead of​ “kittens”. Be as​ specific as​ possible without going overboard.

File names are another great place to​ include keywords. While you cannot include spaces in​ a​ file name, you can separate your keywords with hyphens (-) or​ underscores ( _ ), which will be perceived as​ spaces by search engines. Going back to​ the​ above picture, instead of​ naming it​ “image1.jpg” list it​ as​ “american_wirehair_kittens.jpg” or​ “wirehair_kittens.jpg”.

Site Maps
Site maps are documents that can be submitted to​ search engines that help them learn the​ structure of​ your site. You need to​ set up a​ site map that has a​ direct link to​ every page on your site and​ place a​ text link to​ that site map on the​ index page of​ your site. You can also submit this site map to​ search engines such as​ Yahoo! and​ Google.

The robots.txt file is​ a​ file that you place on your web server that instructs web robots which directories can or​ cannot be crawled. a​ robot is​ a​ program that searches the​ web hypertext structure looking for​ websites to​ index. They are also known as​ web wanderers, web crawlers, or​ spiders. Robots.txt implements the​ Robots Exclusion Protocol, which allows the​ web site administrator to​ define what parts of​ the​ site are off-limits to​ specific robots. the​ very basic robots.txt file will simply contain the​ text:
User-agent: *

This signals that any robot can search all of​ the​ pages on your website. if​ there is​ a​ page on your site that you do not want robots to​ index, simply insert a​ backslash and​ list it​ after disallow. for​ example, if​ you want to​ exclude the​ page “” you would place the​ following in​ your robots.txt file:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /friends.html

Once you have created and​ uploaded your robots.txt file, you can make sure it​ is​ valid by going to​ Robots.txt Checker [].

Keyword Spamming or​ Stuffing
Keyword spamming, also known as​ keyword stuffing, is​ when irrelevant keywords are included on a​ webpage in​ the​ hopes of​ attracting unsuspecting surfers to​ the​ site. This can be done in​ a​ variety of​ ways such as​ listing phrases at​ the​ bottom of​ the​ page, including hidden text on the​ page, or​ other methods. This is​ also the​ most popular of​ the​ “black hat SEO” methods, or​ unethical search engine optimization.

Search engines are good at​ recognizing these tactics. Sites that employ these methods are either ranked lower or, in​ extreme cases, removed altogether from the​ search engine. Even if​ the​ web robot does not recognize your methods, your competitors might and​ then report you.

Web Content Development
Each page of​ your site needs to​ contain at​ least 250 words, although 500 words would be better. When web robot visit, they will read your site from top to​ bottom, left to​ right. for​ that reason, try to​ include your keywords very early on in​ your text and​ then a​ few more times within your text. Do not list the​ words or​ repeat words

It is​ also important to​ note that web robots “count” any html, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript or​ other code listed on the​ site. Learn and​ use external style sheets to​ remove it​ from your page. it​ is​ believed that most robots will only look at​ the​ first 80-100 lines of​ code--including any blank lines you may have included. if​ your text is​ buried at​ the​ bottom, it​ might not get included when they index your page.

Spending the​ time to​ optimize your site for​ search engines is​ as​ important as​ developing quality content when it​ comes to​ finding and​ keeping visitors. Having the​ best site in​ the​ world does no one any good if​ it​ cannot be found. Good SEO should not change the​ content of​ your page or​ alter it​ significantly. it​ will only alter its ranking by search engines.

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