seo Crash Course on Search Engine Optimization | Carolina Kreative | Greenville Web Design


In order to make the search engines happy, you need to understand the exact words and phrasing people are using to explore your industry on the internet.

Say what?

Crash Course on Search Engine Optimization

STEP One: Early Development of Your Site

Part 1: Naming Convention

How you name your files is important. It has been a long-standing tradition to place underscores (eg. this_is_an_example.html) as separators of words, but it is better to use hyphens (eg. this-is-an-example.html). The same goes for image files as well. AND, be sure to name the file using key words found in the title. For example, let’s say the title of the page is “Three Blind Mice.” You would want to name the page accordingly; three-blind-mice.html.

Part 2: Layout

From the very beginning, be sure to have the idea of SEO in mind. Even the layout of a page has much to do with indexability. Typically, the information provided by your page is weighted according to its display position: more important towards the top, least important towards the bottom.

Part 3: Styling

Make sure to use tags, such as heading and strong, to create a logical order of information (much like an outline). When people visit a site; larger fonts and bolder text are typically seen as main points or important ideas. This works the same way for search engines — to a search engine, heading text is weighted heavily in relation to the rest of page content.

One other thing that is beneficial is the use of lists (ul, or ol tags). These are great for SEO because they serve as a quick way for search engines to get an idea of what the webpage is about and the content order. A lot of people like to use styled lists as their page navigation. This is a great idea.

Part 4: KISS — Keep It Simple, Stupid

The less code, the better. Be sure to use external CSS files and external Javascript files. This will help search engines to expedite the indexing process because there is less “junk” to sort through.

STEP Two: During Development

Part 1: Keep your SEO goals in mind.

Search engines love content. So be sure to keep the SEO mindset throughout all phases of development. When you are devising ways to deliver content, make sure it adheres to the styling and layout instructions provided in STEP One.

Title Tags are one of the quintessential elements of SEO as it is the first thing that search engines see when loading your page, and it is the first thing people see in search engine results. The Title Tag should be descriptive and to the point — for example, if your company name is “Joe’s Shrimp Shack,” and it is located in Point Place, Wisconsin, then you should obviously include those items in your title. Another thing of note is that the title is weighted by “most important” first, meaning, whatever is most important — you will want to be first (eg. Joe’s Shrimp Shack - Point Place, Wisconsin). This is just like the order of importance within each page’s content, as mentioned in STEP One.

Part 2: Title Tags

One last thing about the Title Tag. — A good practice to follow is preceding your company name and location with a few keywords that quickly describe that page’s content. (eg. Shrimp, Lobster, King Crab, All-You-Can-Eat, Family-Style Restaurant | Joe’s Shrimp Shack - Point Place, WI). The suggested minimum and maximum character values are between 10 and 80. Anything outside of that range will be penalized by search engines.

Mmm..Meta Tags. Delicious. These are where most people make mistakes, and they are the most misunderstood and misused factors of SEO I will now go over the correct application of these tags.

Part 3: Meta Tags

There are a few main meta tags of importance: description, keywords, and robots. Examples of other commonly-used tags, such as author, copyright, or date; don’t actually add any SEO value — they are typically added for internal use. Technically, you could define a Meta Tag to be anything you want — as long as it follows the standard setup.

So, the three Meta Tags we will focus on are description, keywords, and robots. *You should ALWAYS include these in EVERY page.

1.The Description Meta Tag should contain the “blurb” of information that you want to displayed below the title in search engine results. So naturally, you want it to be descriptive, concise, and to the point. The suggested minimum and maximum character values are between 20 and 200. Anything outside of that range will be penalized by search engines.

2.The Keywords Meta Tag should contain words that are found to be the most important, and are generally found more than once in the document. A good way to figure out what should be included in this tag is to use a keyword density checker/analyzer such as: http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/keyword-density. The suggested minimum and maximum character values are between 20 and 200. Anything outside of that range will be penalized by search engines. Additionally, make sure that words like a, an, and, the — are not used.

3.The Robots Meta Tag is one that has been overlooked in the past, but it is actually rather important, as it tells the visiting search engine bot whether or not it should index the page and also if it should follow the links on the page for indexing as well. While this has been rendered somewhat obsolete with the development and standardization of robots.txt, it is still considered “proper” to include this tag. Common values for the Robots Meta Tag are the following: index, follow, noindex, nofollow, noarchive.

THE FINAL, MOST IMPORTANT THING: Make sure that your title, keywords, and description ALL match whatever content is being served on that page — perfectly.

STEP Three:Post-Development

Part 1: Descriptor Attributes - Alt and Title

Just a quick note — you should include a Title Attribute within every link that you create. You should also include both a Title Attribute and an Alt Attribute in every image tag you insert. It doesn’t matter what the link or image is for — don’t question it — just do it!

Part 2: robots.txt

The robots.txt is a file which is placed in the main directory of your website. It contains information which tells legitimate search engines and bots what and what not to index.

Part 3: sitemap.xml

The sitemap.xml is placed within the main directory of your website and it is precisely what it sounds like — a map of your website. It helps search engine bots by letting them know what files exist within the site before indexing even takes place. This is beneficial to you, and to the bot, because it reduces the total indexing time.

Part 4: Let the crawling begin!

After completing the aforementioned steps, you are ready to submit your site to search engines for indexing. I suggest starting with Google, MSN Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, Alexa.

After you have those set up and ready to go, you should focus on link-building. It’s a little tricky at first, but you will get the hang of it.