SEO Fundamentals

SEO Fundamentals



SEO Fundamentals
Introduction:
Firstly,​ thank you​ for taking the​ time to​ view my SEO hints and tips e-book on​ the​ often forgotten aspects of​ SEO .​
This book was written from the​ collective knowledge and information gathered by Chris Diprose,​ owner and manager of​ Kanga Internet .​
Kanga Internet are located in​ Melbourne,​ Australia and they focus on​ Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Web Development for the​ Joomla Content Management System (CMS).
With Search Engine Optimization there are lots of​ unknowns,​ educated guesses and knowledge gained from personal and associative experience .​
Google,​ Yahoo and MSN keep their cards close to​ their chest when it​ comes to​ revealing how their ranking systems actually work .​
They tell the​ community trickles of​ information on​ what things can affect search engine results,​ how they can be improved and what to​ do in​ certain situations,​ but mostly knowing what to​ do to​ achieve good results is​ achieved by studying and hard work .​
Much alike other SEO consultants I​ have gathered information from various sources and worked constantly on​ improving results for customers .​
I​ am always looking for new intelligent ways to​ improve search engine results .​
I​ believe in​ White Hat (or more appropriately,​ Grey Hat) principles.
Edition 1 of​ this e-book is​ intended for people looking to​ improve their websites from the​ ground up .​
I​ address SEO design fundamentals; the​ things you​ need to​ consider before embarking on​ any text and keyword analysis .​
I​ hope you​ find these hints and tips useful.
Enjoy the​ readings herein.
- Chris Diprose
The Website Revelation – What owning a​ website actually means.
As a​ Web Developer and SEO consultant I​ deal with many existing website owners who are looking to​ modify or​ improve their website .​
I​ also deal with many people who are looking to​ start their web presence with a​ new website .​
Through both of​ these interactions there is​ often a​ common theme; a​ misunderstanding or​ an​ attitude .​
I​ call this a​ misconception of​ reality,​ as​ often the​ reality of​ what the​ Internet can actually do for the​ persons business and what they think it​ can do differ massively.
Often it​ is​ presumed that by simply owning a​ domain and having a​ website built and published on​ the​ Internet,​ thousands of​ people will magically find the​ website,​ visit it​ and buy their products .​
If you​ build it,​ they will come should be removed from the​ vocabulary as​ soon as​ possible if​ you​ are to​ adjust attitudes to​ the​ underlying search technology .​
As a​ businessman in​ the​ real World,​ it​ is​ obvious that it​ would not happen outside of​ the​ Internet ether,​ so what is​ so different online? Maybe it​ was the​ Technology boom 10 years ago that caused a​ rift in​ understanding or​ maybe the​ buzz that caused the​ meteoric rise in​ the​ stock prices of​ Tech Companies,​ I​ can hear the​ thoughts of​ the​ small businessman,​ surely this can be replicated for my business – in​ answer I​ would say,​ well,​ it​ is​ unlikely,​ but you​ should be able to​ achieve some results over time.
It is​ most important when taking on​ a​ project like Search Engine Optimization for a​ website,​ to​ know that it​ is​ important to​ be committed for the​ long haul .​
It is​ no small task and sufficient funds need to​ be allocated to​ the​ project .​
Delivery deadlines need to​ be correctly scoped against required changes,​ in​ order to​ meet client expectations .​
The key points of​ responsibility to​ the​ SEO project are in​ knowing that there are big changes near the​ start and during setup but the​ changes do not stop after setup,​ there are a​ continuous ongoing refinements to​ the​ design and system over time .​
In this regard I​ find it​ important to​ manage expectations and set realistic long term goals on​ what a​ website can be expected to​ achieve and in​ what time frames those goals hope to​ be met.
So what should your goal be when you​ are delving into SEO for your website? Well,​ everyone’s goal is​ exactly the​ same; improve page rankings,​ improve page visits and hits and finally gain more sales through the​ website.
When it​ comes to​ SEO and achieving these goals you​ have to​ have principles and my main principle is,​ Good websites get good ratings and bad websites get bad ratings or​ none at​ all .​
As time goes on​ with the​ improvement of​ search engine technology and the​ refinement of​ search engine results this statement becomes truer and truer .​
I​ believe in​ results through white hat(reads; Grey Hat) principles and methodologies.
What are white hat principles? I​ guess I​ would compare it​ to​ doing things the​ honest way and the​ right way without risk .​
So develop a​ good site,​ promote good linking,​ have good informative content and keep working on​ it​ and then you​ are on​ the​ road to​ good rankings through White Hat principles.
So,​ why should you​ do things the​ white hat way? Well,​ search engines do have some kind of​ understanding,​ an​ artificial intelligence .​
They soon catch on​ to​ websites spamming or​ linking to​ websites with no relevance and bad cross linking .​
It’s about being smart,​ in​ for the​ long term and wanting your business to​ grow organically,​ naturally.
So how do I​ go about improving my site and making it​ optimized for search engines naturally? Well,​ that’s why you’re here! So let’s run through few of​ the​ things you​ should be doing in​ your websites from a​ fundamental level.
Domain names:
When choosing a​ domain name,​ choose one that is​ relevant to​ the​ product or​ service you​ are going to​ provide and that is​ as​ simple as​ possible .​
There are considerations of​ branding and product/service provided that should go into this choice .​
Involvement of​ marketing personal and product understanding is​ required but also consultation with your SEO professional is​ advantageous .​
In this step I​ would say,​ take some time and choose wisely .​
Keep it​ simple and easy to​ remember,​ often saying it​ out loud will make it​ clear whether it​ can be understood by a​ simple man.
It is​ a​ strongly held belief by many SEO professionals that buying a​ domain which is​ older,​ and that has been around for a​ while,​ means it​ will not be sand boxed by Google .​
What’s the​ sandbox effect? Well,​ it​ refers to​ what Google does to​ a​ website or​ domain that is​ new or​ is​ relatively unknown by Google .​
In many instances Google’s Sandbox effect relegates the​ new domain to​ sub-optimal inclusion in​ search results .​
Regardless of​ the​ sites optimization it​ lowers the​ websites relevance and ranking to​ the​ term searched upon .​
If you​ can use your old business domain name,​ then consider this very important.
If,​ however,​ you​ are buying a​ new domain name then keep it​ relevant to​ the​ product or​ service being sold or​ offered on​ the​ website .​
Keep it​ close,​ relevant and simple .​
Relevance is​ primary.
Location specific domain or​ international domain ( .com or​ com.au)? Personally I​ think dot com’s are better,​ mainly because they appeal Internationally but if​ you​ want to​ you​ can keep it​ location specific and to​ your region then consider purchasing all similar higher level domains,​ yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com.au,​ if​ you​ can.
Choosing a​ Host:
Fast,​ reliable and gives you​ all you​ that you​ need and want .​
Preferably gives a​ unique IP .​
Again some SEO professionals believe this can also have a​ detrimental affect in​ Google rankings but from my experience it​ sometimes does and it​ sometimes doesn’t .​
I​ have had some sites come in​ with high PR rankings on​ shared IP’s and others when I​ shifted to​ a​ new IP the​ PR of​ the​ site jumped,​ so this is​ still a​ bit of​ a​ mystery when it​ comes to​ Google rankings .​
I​ guess a​ consideration
Traffic considerations: When choosing your host ensure the​ plan you​ are on​ can be expanded so that any new increases in​ traffic can be accommodated accordingly.
Site Design:
There are several fundamental things to​ consider when you​ are modifying or​ designing a​ website.
Flash:
Flash is​ has been popular for a​ few years now and I​ truly believe it​ has its place .​
It is​ a​ great way of​ showing many products or​ services in​ a​ small area,​ has great visual impact if​ done properly and can set a​ good friendly tone to​ the​ website visitor .​
Having said that,​ I​ also hate flash; it​ can be an​ absolute nightmare when it​ comes to​ search engine optimization.
What you​ should know about flash; it​ cannot be read by a​ search engine as​ the​ search engine cannot read the​ text or​ the​ images contained within it​ nor can it​ interpret what is​ in​ the​ pictures being shown.
When it​ comes to​ flash I​ would suggest,​ not making your whole website flash .​
If you​ are designing a​ new website and you​ want to​ use flash then use it​ in​ high impact areas to​ capture the​ attention of​ your intended audience but use it​ sparingly .​
It is​ important to​ ensure that as​ much text content(to a​ maximum discussed in​ my next book,​ generally 300-500 characters) is​ available on​ the​ webpage and in​ simple HTML.
Frames:
Many older websites were designed with frames .​
Frames are where the​ main home page is​ actually a​ frameset page that includes several other pages into it .​
This makes the​ page hard to​ index in​ search engines and should be avoided .​
While Google do now index framed sites,​ it​ is​ important to​ note that most of​ the​ other top search engines still cannot follow frame links .​
They only see the​ frameset page and ignore the​ rest of​ the​ inner frames .​
This presents an​ SEO problem to​ us because it​ is​ highly likely those inner pages contain our content keywords.
Nowadays this is​ not really a​ huge issue as​ it​ is​ so uncommon for a​ designer to​ actually use frames but the​ easiest way to​ resolve the​ issue would be to​ enforce a​ no use policy on​ frames.
Page Layout:
According to​ research the​ Googlebot trawls web pages from left to​ right and top to​ bottom .​
So given this little tidbit of​ information it​ is​ clear that you​ should be putting our most valuable keywords and information on​ the​ left and near the​ top .​
Of course this is​ a​ blanket statement and does not take into account design principles and beautification .​
Just keep it​ in​ mind during design of​ page layout .​
Position your move relevant keywords to​ the​ left of​ the​ page and near the​ top.
Good HTML Coding:
A lot of​ HTML generator programs out there bloat HTML to​ the​ point it​ is​ 3-4 times larger than what it​ would be if​ you​ hand coded it .​
Keep it​ simple,​ use a​ text editor,​ edit your HTML the​ old school way; until there is​ a​ HTML generator tool worthy of​ use .​
If you​ can’t code HTML then do a​ search on​ the​ Internet and find a​ decent,​ free,​ e-book and learn how to​ do it.
Javascript:
This is​ very popular among many web development professionals for menu’s,​ popups,​ scollers etc etc .​
It would be my suggestion to​ use simple plain HTML menu’s or​ as​ little Javascript as​ possible in​ web pages .​
There are many small JavaScript menu’s out there that are slim on​ JavaScript code to​ reduce this issue and make it​ almost negligible .​
Don’t over clutter your site with JavaScript as​ it​ increases page size,​ page load times and the​ search engines won’t understand it.
Image Sizes:
Keep them small and use only what you​ need to​ .​
This is​ essential for decreasing page loading times and getting information onto the​ users screen as​ soon as​ possible.
Overall page size and loading:
The overall page size is​ an​ important factor .​
It should load quickly and be easily trawled .​
If you​ have followed the​ HTML hand coding,​ used minimal javascript,​ used simple table layouts and good image sizing then you​ should be fine .​
There is​ much evidence that supports the​ fact that Google and probably the​ other search engines also,​ do not like to​ scan huge files,​ so keeping your overall HTML page size below 25k is​ my suggestion.
Dynamic URL’s & page/file names:
Dynamic pages are roadblocks to​ high search engine positioning .​
Especially those that end in​ ? or​ & .​
In a​ dynamic site,​ variables are passed to​ the​ URL and the​ page is​ generated dynamically,​ often from information stored in​ a​ database as​ is​ the​ case with many e-commerce sites .​
Normal .html pages are static - they are hard-coded,​ their information does not change,​ and there are no ? or​ & characters in​ the​ URL.
Pages with dynamic URLs are present in​ several engines,​ notably Google and AltaVista,​ even though publicly AltaVista claims their spider does not crawl dynamic URLs .​
To a​ spider a​ ? represents a​ sea of​ endless possibilities - some pages can automatically generate a​ potentially massive number of​ URLs,​ trapping the​ spider in​ a​ virtually infinite loop.
As a​ general rule,​ search engines will not properly index documents that:
• contain a​ ? or​ &
• End in​ the​ following document types: .cfm,​ .asp,​ .shtml,​ .php,​ .stm,​ .jsp,​ .cgi,​ .pl
• Could potentially generate a​ large number of​ URLs.
To avoid complications,​ consider creating static pages whenever possible,​ perhaps using the​ database to​ update the​ pages,​ not to​ generate them on​ the​ fly.
Slightly Off Topic Thoughts:
The topics covered here are not considered completely SEO topics but in​ terms of​ overall objective – increasing sales,​ this section is​ very important .​
Take these things on​ board,​ consider them,​ consult with your designer and marketing team .​
Make educated and informed choices on​ these topics when considering your audience and what your website objectives are.
Screen Size:
Over 65% of​ all screens in​ the​ World are set to​ run at​ the​ 1024x768 resolution .​
Of the​ remaining percentage,​ 13% are running at​ 800x600,​ 20% running at​ larger sizes and 2% are unknown .​
So this affects the​ way you​ design .​
It would be my suggestion to​ always design for the​ smallest user to​ visit your site,​ but often I​ find 800x600 restrictive so I​ tend to​ design for slightly larger .​
Not large enough to​ make an​ 800x600 user angry but large enough to​ make it​ look good on​ larger screens also .​
I​ weigh up my target users,​ my intended amount of​ content and find some happy medium .​
I​ generally design for 1000x620 as​ this is​ the​ perfect amount of​ real estate for a​ 1024x768 user when they have the​ browser top bar and status bar and Windows taskbar.
colors and themes:
One important aspect of​ marketing - selling - is​ the​ use of​ color .​
Meanings are attached to​ colors in​ the​ same way meanings are attached to​ words.
• Gold is​ the​ color of​ wealth and prosperity.
• White is​ the​ color of​ pure innocence and cleanliness.
• Pink is​ the​ color of​ femininity and softness.
• Green is​ the​ color of​ natural things and freshness.
• Red is​ the​ color of​ danger and stress.
• Blue is​ the​ color the​ calmness,​ intelligence .​
The majority of​ the​ World selects blue as​ a​ favorite color .​
It often represents trust
Use of​ color to​ establish an​ image or​ a​ brand is​ common in​ the​ marketing community,​ yet when you​ visit the​ websites of​ many search engine optimization professional’s,​ it's obvious that color significance plays no part in​ their own web optimization .​
Some of​ the​ colors I​ found on​ SEO websites:
• Baby Blue,​ a​ color which implies weakness.
• Red,​ a​ color which implies risk,​ or​ danger.
• Orange a​ color which implies a​ cheerful levity .​
Orange is​ one of​ Americans’ least favorite colors.
Although color selection is​ off topic for SEO I​ would consider it​ a​ very important factor in​ what SEO is​ trying to​ achieve,​ in​ the​ end,​ for your website – selling more product,​ creating loyalty to​ your brand and customer impact .​
color research is​ something you​ should seriously consider .​
In summary of​ color choices I​ would suggest studying and learning more about your customers,​ researching color choices and their relevance to​ your underlying products and making informed choices on​ these in​ collaboration .​
If in​ doubt then I​ suggest sticking to​ safe and trusted colors within safe eye pleasing designs.
Gifs for logos & jpgs for pictures:
Ensure you​ are using gifs for logos and background placements and jpgs for photos on​ your website .​
This helps reduce size and improve clarity of​ the​ web site overall.
Browser:
It is​ vitally important to​ ensure your web page works in​ both IE,​ Firefox and Opera .​
Testing other browsers is​ also an​ advantage but these are the​ main three in​ use nowadays (2018) .​
I​ think quoting stats on​ the​ browser breakdown are irrelevant as​ you​ need it​ work in​ all browsers .​
W3C cross browser compliance is​ great for this.
So,​ this brings us to​ the​ end of​ Volume 1: Fundamentals of​ SEO Web Design .​
There are many things to​ consider when designing a​ website or​ modifying a​ web site to​ make it​ more SEO friendly .​
Clearly I​ have a​ few more volumes left in​ SEO for websites.




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