Website optimization should be an essential part of building a website if you’re hoping to get decent amounts of traffic. By doing just a few of the right things, you can make big difference. Here are the things you have to do…
Websites generally have two audiences, human visitors and electronic visitors (search engines).
While you ultimately build your website for the benefit of human visitors, you have to pay attention to electronic visitors too. Afterall, electronic visitors bring you human visitors.
That is what website optimization is all about.
A Little Background…
Search engines are in the business of delivering the best possible websites that answers the question (search phrase) that the search engine user typed into the search box. To be able to do that, the search engines have to know the topic of each web page on the internet.
Each search engine has their own “spider” or “robot”, a software program, that “crawls” from one web page to the next and collects data about each web page. Among other things, it collects the important words on each web page and then uses these words, and how they relate to each other, to determine the topic of the page.
Our job in website optimization for search engines is therefore to place each page’s selected keyword (and related keywords) in the right places on the web page to make it easier for the search engines to determine the topic of the web page.
I want to stress that the goal of website optimization is not to trick the search engines, but to help the search engines determine the topic of the page.
Website Optimization – What To Do
If you have followed my article on finding high-paying keywords, you should have a list keywords, with one keyword (keyphrase) set aside for each web page. To help the search engines determine the topic of each of your website’s pages, here are the website optimization actions you need to take:
- Page Name: Use your keyword as your page name. If your keyword is “my best keyword”, then your page name should be “my-best-keyword.html”. If your keyword consists of multiple words, as will mostly be the case, put hyphens between the words.
- Title: The page title is entered between the <title></title> tags. Enter a title of no more than 70 characters. Include your keyword once in the title. Capitalize the first letter of each word in your title. Keep in mind that search engines use your title as the heading of your page entry in search results.
- Description: The page description is entered inside a <meta name=”description” content=”…” /> tag. Enter a description of no more than 156 characters. That’s all that the search engines show. Include your keyword at least once, but not more than twice. Make sure that it entices the reader to want to see the page, without being misleading. The search engines use your page description in search results, so that’s where you would gain the most value from a good description.
- Keywords: Your keywords are also entered inside a <meta name=”keywords” content=”> tag. Enter your main keyword first, followed by one to four related keywords. Keywords should be comma-separated. These days many search engines no longer look at your keywords entry, so if you want to omit this, you can.
- Page Heading: Your page heading is typically placed between <h1></h1> tags at the top of your page. Use your keyword once in a heading that is compelling and no more than 80 characters long. Capitalize the first letter of each word in your heading. The search engines don’t care about that… it just looks better!
- Body Content: Body content refers to all text on the page after the heading and before the page footer. Use your keyword in the opening paragraph, preferably the first sentence, and then about once for every 100 words on the page. Also use other words that are related to your main keyword. Make sure that you use each word that you added to your keywords tag.
- Images: Search engines can’t read images, but the <img> tag that you use to place images on a web page has an alt attribute where you enter alternate text that describes the image. Include your keyword in your alt text. The image tag looks like this:
<img src=”photo.jpg” alt=””>.
These steps in website optimization are all fairly easy to do and will go a long way towards helping search engines to figure out what your page is about.
Website Optimization – What To Avoid
When search engines were still young and unsophisticated, they were easy to trick into bringing you traffic. They have grown up however, and these days they are very smart. If you try to trick them, they will probably catch you and then you risk being banned.
Here are some things to avoid:
- Keyword stuffing: Loading up your page with keywords that are either too small for humans to read on the page, or with the text color set to the same color as the page background. The same goes for adding extra title tags to load up with keywords. Don’t do it!
- Non-relevant keywords: In the early days of website optimization, some people used to load their keywords tag with porn-related keywords because porn sites were getting so much traffic. That trick hasn’t worked in a long time. Besides, if someone is looking for porn, and your website isn’t about porn, they’ll simply click away and the visit is meaningless to you.
- Doorway pages: This is a special arrangement where the web server hosting your website is setup to detect when search engine spiders try to access your site. The server then serves a special set of pages to the search engine spider that is different from the pages delivered to human visitors. This is a big no-no. If a SEO company suggests this to you, run away as fast as you can…
The problem with trying to trick the search engines is that it is a never-ending game of cat and mouse. The target shifts continually as the search engines get smarter. And if they catch you, you could get banned, which means they remove their information about your existing pages from their database and add your website to their blacklist. Then you get nothing from them!
The key to good website optimization is to be honest and not to be over-obsessed with it. Some people will tweak their pages endlessly. You don’t have to do that. Simply implement the good things I mention above, deliver high-value content on your pages, and then move on to the next page.
The search engines and your visitors will be happy with you!