Four Vital Steps for Optimizing Your Website
Search engine optimization is best defined as the art and science of building web pages that are both search engine friendly and user friendly. Below are four basic steps that you should take when optimizing your web pages.
1. Emphasize Text and Not Graphics.
While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a search engine is trying to classify pages by text and not by images. If you have an opening page with a beautiful picture of a flower arrangement in a wicker basket and only two words of text saying “enter here” then this page will not rank high in searches for Wicker Baskets. Similarly, if you have a headline with important text containing your site’s keywords, it should not be displayed as a gif or jpeg image. Pages that are all flash (will not display on most iPhones and iPads) or all images are not search engine friendly, and often are not user friendly as well.
2. Links to Your Interior Pages Should Be Easily Found by Search Engines
While most people will probably enter your site through the main page, many will enter after doing searches which lead them to your inner pages. The best way to make sure that search engines will find and index your inner pages is to include text links to these pages. If you are using images to draw attention don’t forget to add alt tags to the images to make them searchable as well.
3. Build Your Pages Around Specific Keywords or Phrases
Robotic search engines and human users have one thing in common: they are trying to figure out what your site is all about. It is possible to build separate web pages which explain and give importance to various aspects of your organization’s activity. These sub pages can be optimized so that they perform well in searches for your various keywords.
4. Your Keywords Should Appear in Strategic Portions of Your Web Pages
If your site is about wicker baskets, then these words should appear in the following places of your html pages:
a. In the File Name or the URL.
If your site is called www.wickerbaskets.com then this will give you a head start in any searches for this term. Similarly, if your company is called Acme Crafts, you may have a web page with this url: www.acmecrafts.com/wickerbaskets.html
The URL or file name is an important indicator to a search engine, so don’t miss the opportunity to put your important term either in your main domain name or in your file names.
b. In the Title Tag
The text that is displayed in the blue line at the top of your browser is your title tag. The title tag is located in the <head> section of the document. If your main phrase is “Wicker Baskets” then the title tag in your html document should look something like this: <title>Wicker Baskets: Wicker Basket Information by Acme Crafts</title>
c. In the Description Tag
The description tag is not seen on the web page but search engines often display it as the text which gives the searcher an idea of what your page is about. The description tag should be compelling, and make someone want to click and see your page, while also containing the keywords that are in your url and your title tag. A description tag for this site might look as follows: <meta name=”description” content=”Wicker Baskets: Design your Wicker Basket with the help of Acme Crafts. You will find up-to-date information on designing your own wicker baskets on our website.”>
d. In the Headlines
Just as someone reading a newspaper looks at headlines to find out what is important, a search engine robot looks at the headlines of a web page in order to pick up the essential feature of that page. Put your main phrase in a headline and place it near the top of the page. Your headline text should be enclosed with special header tags such as <h1>, <h2>, <h3>. A headline tag for our hypothetical page could be written as follows: <h1>Design your own Wicker Baskets with our online basket builder .</h1>
If you don’t like the look of the h1 tag, then use a smaller tag, h2 or h3, or adjust your site’s style sheet so that the h1 tag is displayed in a small font which better matches your body text.
e. In the Body Text of Your Page
Your main keywords or key phrase should appear in the first paragraph of text and in a natural way throughout the text and also at the end of the page. In normal writing you would first introduce your subject, then explain what it is about and then summarize at the end. Follow this same procedure when you start writing your web page. Pages written in this style will automatically have correct keyword density and distribution.
f. In Anchor Text on Your Page
Anchor text is the clickable portion of links on your web page. Suppose you are describing your Wicker Baskets and you want to direct your web visitors to an inside page with more information about this subject. Instead of making a link that says “click here,” it would be better to have a link that says “Click here for more information about Wicker Baskets” or even better, the link text will only be “Wicker Baskets” and the “click here” will be rendered as normal text.
If you follow these search-engine-optimization steps when building your website you will end up with web pages that are easily understood by your visitors, and easily classified and indexed by search engines.