Friday, 11 December 2009

SEO Basic Steps - Part 2

Continuing from Part 1 looking at search engine optimization strategies (SEO) we are going to expand on some of the other points. Last time we discussed keyword selection and content creation. This time we are going to look at meta data and checking the files for the important tags.

Add Meta Data

Now, this step used to be the only way to get your page ranked but it was open to abuse! If you put an entire dictionary in the meta data, your site used to show up no matter what. This is partly the reason that most search engines ignore meta data as much as they can.

Having said that, some don't. So you still have to add the data in order to allow for these older engines.

I have a template I use in order to produce my meta data. It consists of the keywords section, descriptions, robot instructions (although the google spiders ignore them) and a recent addition is geo-tag information. If you use this template, just fill in the blanks and it will help you in your rankings:

<meta name="author" content="" />
<meta name="description" content="" />
<meta name="keywords" content="" />
<meta name="robots" content="index,follow" />
<meta name="Googlebot" content="index,follow" />
<meta name="revisit-after" content="1 day" />
<meta name="distribution" content="Global" />
<meta name="DC.Title" content="" />
<meta name="DC.Description" content="" />
<meta name="DC.Date" content="2008-10-20" />
<meta name="DC.Type" content="Interactive Resource" />
<meta name="DC.Format" content="HTML" />
<meta name="DC.Identifier" content="" />
<meta name="DC.Language" content="en-gb" />
<meta name="DC.Coverage" content="Global" />
<meta name="DC.Rights" content="" />
<meta name="DC.Creator" content="" />
<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="en-gb" />
<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache" />

Adding this code and filling in the blanks will cover the basics of any meta data required. Add the geo-tag information to the meta data and this will help the meta data.

Basic HTML Check

There are a few basic commands which are used by most spiders to find items on your site. It is important to keep these items on the pages or they will not rank well. The things to look for are:

  • H1 - Heading tags or H1 are used to say what your site is. The H1 being the main heading should be located at the top of the page so it is easy to find.
  • Alt Tags - A handy way to get more keywords in, these are used to describe your pictures. Make sure they actually do describe the picture or they will be of no use.
  • Title - In the head section of the page, there should be a title. I generally put the site name then a comma and then some of the keywords for the site, but keep them relevant to the content!
  • Meta Tags - As above, keep them relevant to the site though,

These are the main areas, it is also worth noting that div tags are generally the preferred method of creating the layout of the page. Tables do work but they are slower to load and you do not have as much control as you do with divs.

That's it for part 2, part 3 will be coming soon.

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