Onsite Search Engine Optimization

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When you design a website, one of your major goals will be that it will attract lots of visitors. Assuming the website has good content, your focus must be on helping visitors find that content.  The website can be submitted to all sorts of search engines and directories, but unless it is built with user searches in mind potential visitors will not find it. A website appears in search engine listing because the search engine finds a match between the keywords entered in the search and the website content. If you are careful about how these words are placed in the page content, your website will appear further up the search engine listings. The following tips will ensure your website has the best chance of success.

A web page consists of two sections - the head section and the body section. The head section contains information about the web page, but this is not displayed to the user. The body section contains the viewed content. It was initially the case that a website was promoted through keywords placed only in the head section. Now all content is indexed by search engines.

In the head section, the three key tags that need to have keywords added are the Title, Description and Keyword tags, in that order of importance. The text in the Title and Description tags appears in search engine listings. Keywords should be added to them in a form that makes sense to humans as well as search engine software. A title of approximately 9 words should be included in the Title tag and a paragraph of approximately 100 words in the Description tag. The Keyword tag is given little prominence by search engines as its function has been so abused in recent years; however it is good practice to add keywords here for completion. In all cases, add the most important keywords towards the start of the text.

The body section is often forgotten about by website developers. They place content in the page without any thought as to how it will be indexed by search engines. Some care and attention here will also be a boost to search engine rankings. The prime consideration is that you include text in the body section. Where the page content is largely a collection of images, or consists of a Flash movie, search engines will have nothing to index. They won’t know that the images are the best in the industry or the Flash movie contains some of the best scripting available. Search engines only index text, so you need to provide it for the search engines to read.

The overriding principle in adding text to the body section is that you should include keywords wherever you have reasonable opportunity. This includes file and folder names, image names, alternate text in images and title attributes in tags. Text used in hyperlinks is an important indicator of website content, so keywords should be included in these where possible.

In addition to adding keywords to particular tags, they should be added to the general body text. The web page topic will be reflected in the keywords. Appropriate keywords can therefore naturally be included throughout the text. Don’t overdo this. Where you include an unnaturally high density of keywords, search engine software will spot this and will penalize your website. Include the keywords evenly throughout the page, from the first line to the last. They should be included in sentences as normal text and not be obviously noticeable to human readers. Keep the text as natural as possible, split into appropriate paragraphs.

The search engine optimization tips outlined above will help you to design a website that search engines can read and will recognize as being strongly relevant to your chosen topic. Include keywords naturally at all opportunities and your web pages will be given the best opportunity to feature prominently in the rankings. Above all, ensure each page contains appropriate text content. Without text, search engines are blind.


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