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What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO is improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site or page from the search engines using natural organic and algorithmic search results (SERPs).

SEO is actually a component of SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Which encompasses many avenues with which to promote a web site or page.
If you have come here looking for SEO help, you have found a blog that can help you. There is much information here to be held and please feel free to comment anytime...Even with a question.

June 10, 2007

DIY Guide to SEO Page Mechanics

Optimization means many things to many people. Today I am going to cover the TOP things needed in the area of page mechanics. I would highly recommend you read this, a document on search engine ranking factors collaboratively written by 37 of the industries top contributors.

  1. Target your audience with relevant text. Your main/entry page must be a concentrated playground of relevant text. Do not go off topic here, it will dilute your relevancy score. If you have other topics or areas, use landing pages for them.
  2. Your keyword research should be done with overture. Use your keywords in your description, title, and page URLs. Do not use "noise" or "stop words" in your META such as "a, the, and, to, or". You keyword tag should be 10 keywords and phrases or less. Too many looks like spamming and only dilutes the power of the ones you have.
  3. Your title tag may arguably be the most important element of your page when it's crawled, it should be 50-75 characters.
  4. It is imperative that you use a description tag. This tag tells the engines the content of each page. It should be around 25-250 characters. *Always use different META information for each page.
  5. META robots revisit tag. This tag is strongly suggested, set it for about how often you will update your content...but probably not shorter than 3 days or longer than 30. Read.
  6. Robots index tag. This tag helps tell the robots how to index or follow your page/site.
  7. Text, text, text.....No matter what kind of page you are trying to promote you need text. The engine's bots cannot read pictures, or videos, or even codes. The text on your page should be 250 words minimum for the average page. Keep the text/content relevant. Anything NOT relevant in your pages (even links can theoretically hurt you instead of helping you).
  8. Use "alt" text on every image and link on your page. Use your keywords in these "alt" descriptions 3 times, but no more.
  9. Use "anchor" link text utilizing but not abusing your keywords. This is the text the user sees containing the link, for example Free DIY SEO ... the "anchor text is "Free DIY SEO".
  10. If you use Java or Flash menus, then also hard link the pages some where on the page you are promoting. Most spiders/bots cannot read those links and will only be able to crawl one page.
  11. Use Heading tags to promote your keywords like H1 H2 etc. Additionally bots give more weight to underlined and bold/strong words too.
  12. Keep your most important text at eye line. Eye line is the imaginary line 25% down from the top of your computer screen. The theory is this is the place where most people look first and begin to read.
  13. Speed. Use CSS, image crunching, color reducing, and code cleaning (back up before code cleaning) to reduce the load speed of your page. The times you are looking for are under 30 seconds on a 28.8, or under 8 seconds on a 56Kbps.
  14. Code errors will also hurt your pages ability to be indexed. Check it. I am not saying your page must validate to be successful, but consider reducing any errors here as much as possible.
  15. Spelling is important too. The robots are just computer programs, and they cannot understand anything they are not programmed to. I know there are going to be very common word to us they do not have in their dictionary. However there are also changes you can make to reduce the number of alleged spelling errors on your page that will most certainly help your ability to promote. For example I had a page using Non-Medical which is completely appropriate, but not to the with out and loss of impact I changed it to Non Medical. Try this site for checking spelling, but be advised it is out of date for the code checker and will see most of your CSS as errors.
  16. Sitemaps. A .xml sitemap, commonly referred to as a Google sitemap is an absolute must. I would suggest that unless you are very skilled with xml that you use a generator. I use this one (not they are not paying me, actually I pay them), it is free for I think under 5 sites. The map goes in your root directory and gets named sitemap.xml
  17. I suggest additionally in sitemaps 3 things. Get a urllist.txt for Yahoo, a sitemap.txt, and a sitemap.html. This site will generate them for free. The urrlist.txt is for Yahoo read this the site does not make these, but just rename your sitemap.txt to urllist.txt and save it so you have both. The sitemap.txt is for some older but worthy engines that may pick up your site, they would still list you with out it, but with it that can list more pages. The html sitemap should be linked on every page in your site. It's good public relations, and when you are crawled it adds depth and certainty to getting your pages crawled. Remember to update these when you add or pages and directories.
  18. Sign up for and use Yahoo Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools.
  19. robots.txt This is the document where you tell the engine's robots/spiders where to, and not to go. It has only been since April of this year that we tell the bots "where" to go with the auto discovery of sitemaps within the robots.txt. You can read on that page how to make your robots.txt validate in your Google Tools. If you are concerned about writing the code try this generator, and then just follow the directions and add the sitemap, I would suggest allowing all agents (if you begin to have a problem..say with a porn bot you can add them later). When you are done upload your robots.txt to the root directory of your domain. Then before trying it in Google, validate it here.
  20. Check your links! Broken links will kill you on a crawl. Try this site. Additionally, make sure all of your links are formatted properly...all characters lowercase stay lowercase and upper stay upper, no flashy URLs for coding. All addresses finished absoloute with trailing slashes.

I have some free sites you can use to help you along the way. These all have their merits, different as they may be, and they are all free. I assure you I am paid by none.

  • SiteReportCard is my favorite, it does such a nice job of judging the top criteria. If you click the links it not only shows the problems, but the corrections!
  • WebSiteOptimization this is a nice, quick, and friendly analyzer I use it to check image file size, CSS size, and html size.
  • WebSiteGrader This is a down and dirty very intensive look and your site. It even checks for safe server redirects.

I wish you luck with your pages. Feel free to comment with any other helpful hints, or if you need help.

Peace and SEO