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Search engine optimization - part 2


How to optimize web site for search engines - Web page optimization


Page title optimization

Page title (and description) is one of the most important factors. With good, catchy title, you can "gain" five to six position. How?

Well, that is confirmed with example below.
Long time ago, one web page, optimized for very competitive keyword was at the second position at search engine results. Other page, from my second site, was on top of the second page, receiving maybe two times more visitors than better positioned page.

After little thinking, conclusion was:

1. Lots of visitors are going to the second page of search engine
results, because they can't find what they are looking for
on the first page.
2.My title on the better positioned page is crap, because it
was tweaked for search engine position, not for visitor.

So, my decision was to risk with title tweaking again, now optimizing title for visitors. It was not bad decision at all.

That page slipped to the 6th position, but now hits tripled.

So, combining good, catchy title (with keywords) is the must. If you remember from Site theme , visitor is not reading, he is "scanning" pages. Search engine results are pages too.

Once he is on your site, your content must be relevant with that title, or visitor will leave.


Description and keywords meta tags

Although they are not important for ranking like before, some search engines are still using these tags.

Description meta tag: Briefly description of web page content, includes your most important keywords. Natural sentence(s). Do not use too many commas to separate words.

Keywords meta tag: Most important keywords/phrases on beginning, comma and/or space separated, without stop words (on,the,what,why,to...),and those word/phrases must be in body of page (content) too. Do not use the same word more that three times. 10 to 15 words long keyword tag content is the best.


Content optimization

First, Content is the King. Bad content will not bring you visitors. However, there are popular websites, not even optimized, with high position on search engines. Great content is attracting visitors and links. More links means higher popularity, i.e. higher position on SERP.

New website with great content needs a little boost for the first time. A few links from authority (popular) websites and a simple onpage optimization, to show the world that is here. Popularity will then raise naturally, what search engines simply love.

Design (look) is not important here. Search engine spider is looking at the source code of page. Most important content, what have to be written as additional description of page, should be positioned at the top, when looking at page source, i.e. first paragraph on page: first 200-300 words appearing on the page (source) are important. That is your real description. They need to describe theme of the page (keywords included).

Navigation (menu) is usually on the top of source. Link description (title, anchor text) could be also used to determine page and website theme. If your menu (links) contains text what can be used as additional keywords on page, leave it as is. If there is no value (for that page) in those keywords, push menu to the bottom of source. It can be positioned using CSS or tables. If active link to that page is present in menu, unlink it if is keyworded.

One more world about design. If you are using tables, avoid extensive nesting (tables under tables), this could be a problem for search engine spiders. Disabling CSS (moving page only to the different folder), you can see how page is looking to search engine spider.

Exactly the same, what is said above for page title, is recommended for page description and content.

Just take a look at the search engine results. There is a small description below title. Description could be taken mostly from page content, it contains keyword surrounded with text. So, think about that. If you are targeting some keyword, be sure that surrounding text is related and descriptive, that could be displayed as description of your page.

<H1> - header tag is important. Use that tag for main keywords related to page content. Use CSS to control font.

Bold and italic fonts are important too.
Alt tags (picture description) are no more important as before, when we are looking where to add keywords, but be sure to add description about picture, not "click here". Anyway, include keyword there, but in descriptive way. Be sure that targeted keywords are included in content, in a natural way. Don't worry about "keyword density", and similar SEO stuff.
Just use keywords in a natural way, a few times in content - top, middle, bottom . Add more if page is longer. You can tune that later.
And, do not target only one phrase. Use additional related and low competitive keywords here and there, to describe theme better and to target "long tail" keywords.


Misspellings

Even when search engines are offering correction when word is misspelled during searching, you can use this advantage to catch more visitors. Common misspelling of your keywords can be used to attract more visitors. This incudes variations in english language used in different countries, if those visitors are targeted too. Use this with care. Do not overload content with misspellings, and carefully choose them to fit theme.


Keywords and "keywords"

Not every keyword is a good keyword. Some phrases are seasonal, some are popular for only a month, for some there is no any searches. And for some keywords, you could optimize site for wrong search engine.
Say, optimizing this site for MSN search is the waste of time. This site could be first on SERP for some specific marketing keywords, but who is using MSN search to find something about marketing? To illustrate better, for some group of keywords connected with marketing and affiliate programs, there is 100 visitors from Goggle, 20 from Yahoo and 2 from MS search. For keywords connected with games, you can expect more visitors from Yahoo and MSN too. So, stop to worry why there is no visitors from MSN search. It could be that nobody is searching there for your keywords.


Recycling old pages

New pages added to site must be found from search engine spider, indexed and listed on SERP after next update. Old page is already indexed, and if visited from SE spider, any change will be updated. Add new content to some old page, or just replace that old page. New content will appear on SERP much faster than when it is added on new page.


Content or site look changes

Many sites are using one template for all pages. Many webmasters are often playing with new site look, testing different templates. Changing site template, means changes on all pages at once. If it is combined with content changes, Search Engine spider will take that as suspicious move. Avoid mass changes if you can, that can hurt your ranking.

One more problem with templates is possibility of duplicate content. Say that you have large template, and a little text (content) per page. That could trigger duplicate content penalty, due to very similar content on pages. Dynamic content (SSI, includes) can make those pages different. See below.


Code to content ratio

Saw this at some SEO site, I don't think that this is important for ranking. Anyway, good observation. Keep your javascript and CSS codes in separate files, make simple and "spiderable" pages, and that is all. Use CSS to avoid additional HTML tags. More content, less tags. Be sure there is minimum of 250-300 words (clean text) on page. Web page weight - including HTML code, not more than 30-60kb, including other dependencies (images,scripts), not more than 100kb.


Link to content ratio

Better is explained in the next part, just be sure that you have more text (content) than links or pictures on the page. Include few links to important pages in page content.


CheckList

Before uploading, check:
- Spelling & grammar
- For broken links
- Validate HTML code
- How page is looking using other browsers?





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