SEO. search engine optimisation. basic principles

Website last updated: Friday September 16, 2016

seoIn order to get your website high in the rankings it is essential that you consider search engine optimisation or SEO for short. Search engine optimisation has many facets to it but arguably the most important is relevance. It is essential that the web page content is highly relevant to the search that the user makes. It is no good typing into Google “german shepherd dogs” and landing on a page that describes border terriers. If you think about it logically it makes sense. Not for nothing did Google become one of the biggest companies in the world. They did it because people use their search engine service and trust them to supply high quality, relevant results that are pertinent to their search. To illustrate this point check out this Youtube video from Google’s Matt Cutts. Matt is Google’s official spokesman on such things so ignore his advice at your peril!

Essential steps

Having established that your website has great content and is well written with good spelling and grammar what else can you do? There are a number of things that are considered to be essential steps which can enhance the rankings of your site such as:

The keywords on the page should, once again, be relevant to the subject and  not overused. An early technique that used to be common was to saturate the page with keywords whilst making them invisible by using, (say), white text on a white background. That way the search engine spiders could read them but humans didn’t notice them. In the early days of the internet this worked a bit but search engines have got a lot smarter over the years and nowadays you get penalised for such techniques.

Using keywords

The keywords in the meta tags are ignored by a lot of web designers but they help to get the site ranked well. There are three types of meta tag. The first is known as a title tag and this should contain the sites main and secondary keywords but should not be longer than about 60 characters or so. If you want to see these, (normally invisible), tags right click the web page and choose “view source”. Look near the top. These are the tags from my forklift training site.:

<!--BEGIN META TAGS-->
<title>Forklift Training| All you need to know about forklift training and all FREE</title>
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="Free information on forklift training, accidents, legislation and technical information. Free on line training course. practical test details, written test information.">
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="forklift training, fork lift training, forklift licence, forklift test, health and safety training, safety training">
<!--END META TAGS-->


Notice another tag is called “description” This should be readable by humans and as the name suggests, should describe the page content. The maximum length for this is around 160 characters and this is displayed in search results so it’s an opportunity to get your sales message across. Another tag is called “keywords” and whilst they are useful they are no longer as important as they once were but some say it's still worth including them.



It’s not that well known but Google doesn't’t actually rate web sites! Instead it rates web pages individually and for that reason every page should have it’s own set of meta tags as described above. Just having the correct meta tags will not help however if the page content is rubbish. Another "trick" lies in making the page name relevant to the subject. For example www.german-sheperd-dogs.com for a website dealing with them. You might not be lucky enough to have a domain such as www.fork-lift-training.co.uk as I got that many years ago and all the good domain names have now gone. That doesn't stop you naming the pages in your domain correctly.

Linking from other web sites

Getting other sites to link to your website gives it a certain authority as it suggests that other people are recommending it. This idea has been much misused over the years by so called “black hat” techniques such as paying web sites and unscrupulous persons to link to your site. Once again it worked for a while but now Google will penalise a website if it spots that it has a large number of irrelevant links to it. (See the video above). If, on the other hand, you can get links from other relevant sites to yours it will help the page rankings. A good idea is to email owners of web sites which deal with a similar subject to yours and ask them if they would participate in a reciprocal link scheme.

Age is also an important factor. There is no way a new website can rank as high as a comparable website which has been around for ten years. Once again, Google assumes the older site has more authority. Some people who want fast results actually buy old domain names to get this effect.

For complete details on search engine optimisation check out this great website.

links

Google Adwords Theory
Using Google Adwords
Keyword Density Calculator
Using Keywords Correctly
Google's Keyword Tool
Website Keyword Tool
Website Design Options