Search Engine Optimisation
What Does Google Like?
Google likes useful and interesting websites. Many companies specialise in trying to 'trick' Google into listing their sites higher, and often charge highly for it. Google's spiders and algorithms are designed to rank sites using criteria based on content, structure and popularity. If a website is useful, easy to use, interesting and well-visited it will almost certainly rank well in Google for relevant search terms. So - what features of your web page is Googlge looking at?
What Does Google Look At?
This is the page title that comes up in the blue bar at the very top of the browser window. It is the single most important meta tag. The ideal length is a maximum of 63 characters (including spaces) with all major keywords /phrases included if possible. Don't repeat any single word more than twice.
META content tag
This shouls consist of one or two readable sentences containing the main key phrases. Some search engignes use this as the listing text. (Don't worry about any other META tags, they are not important)
Keyword rich text
Mmake sure your major keywords/phrases come up regularly in the text on your home page but don't overstuff the text with keywords. Apart from anything else it needs to read OK for humans too.
Use H1 and H2 header tags
with key words for section headings but don't over-use these. Use appropriate ALT and TITLE tags for images (but don't stuff these with keywords)
Make sure that whichever navigation system you use can be easily followed by search engine spiders. If you are using a non search engine friendly system you must have text links as well, or at least a site map with a link to it on the home page. Good navigation should mean that you never more than 2 clicks from any page to any other page. Do not use frames for navigation.
‘Black Hat’ SEO
Some companies use dubious techniques to try to get Google to see a different website to the one human visitors see. If you employ this type of technique there is a very real risk that Google will penalise you heavily for this, possibly even dropping your site completely. These techniques include:
Submitting to search engines
This is no longer necessary with the exception of the Open Directory and specialist directory sites. Do not use automated search engien submission services - these can do more harm than good. Do make sure your site is submitted to and appears in the Open Directory.
Once you have done all the above you have done about as much ‘on-page’ optimization as you can and it is time to look at the business of getting relevant and significant incoming links. This is covered on our 'Getting Visitors to Your Site' page