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Search Engine Optimization SEO Tips by Greg Kerr by ywp5Yn

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									Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips
by Greg Kerr

Consider these useful tips to making your Web site more search engine friendly:

1.    Write good, clear text content without typos. The text should include words
      (keywords or keyword phrases) that are likely going to be used by people in
      search engines to find pages like yours.

2.    Have a relevant title (title tag text) on all your pages. Consider using the
      site/company name (not the URL) in conjunction with what the specific
      page is about. It's also important to have different titles on other pages,
      although they can all include the site/company name. If your company is
      Nifty Tours, and the page is a contact form, a good choice is:

                                 Nifty Tours | Contact
                                          or
               Contact us about your tour and travel needs | Nifty Tours

      Title standardization is also a good idea and this is less about SEO than it is
      for user experience. In other words, if you have "Nifty Tours | Contact" on
      one page, don't switch the order to "About | Nifty Tours" on another page,
      nor alter the punctuation to "Nifty Tours -- About" on another page.

      It's also preferred that you have the company name after your keywords,
      not before them.

      The W3C has determined, for the compliant browser, that the title should
      be no more than 64 characters. Some search engines cut off titles that are
      over 40 or 50 characters in their databases.

3.    Use keywords in your text content on pages, and it's best if the keywords
      are higher up in the HTML, particularly in the title and header (h1, h2, etc.)
      tags.

      Don't use the same keyword phrases on every page. Try to alter their order
      or grammar and use synonyms as appropriate. In other words, if you say "a
     Portland independent film company" on one page, use "an indie film
     company based in Portland" on another page.

     Avoid keyword stuffing which can have your site excluded from search
     engines. This Wikipedia article about keyword density can help you
     determine how often you should use certain words on your site. This
     keyword analyzer can show you how your pages rank in terms of density.

4.   Always have alt text on all your images and area maps (hotspots). The alt
     text should be relevant to the picture and in proper English. Use the title
     attribute with non-image objects, like Flash, in the same way. Also, it's best
     that the alt text on every picture of your site is unique -- if the image is
     duplicated on every page, like a logo, you can still use different alt text on
     each one on each page.

     The HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) specification does not define a
     maximum length for values of alt attributes. Current versions of the leading
     screen reader programs have no limits on the amount of alternate text they
     will read. However, some screen readers (or automated services that
     translate written data to audio) divide the alt attribute text into distinct
     chunks of 125 characters each (excluding spaces), and read those 125
     character chunks separately. Due to the way it’s divided and read, it will
     give the feel to the listener that the 125 character chunks might go with
     separate images if more than one is read per image. So this provides you
     with one technical justification for keeping your alt text to a minimum (125
     characters or less).

5.   Do not use hidden text: text the same color as background, div with
     visibility: hidden property or display: none, or have text placed outside of
     normal browser window. Search engines, like Google, can detect this and
     will either lower your ranking, or remove your pages from their databases.
     (This is considered "Black Hat" SEO.)

6.   Straight-forward HTML links are preferable, not Javascript or Flash links.

7.   The text used in your a tags should include text related to the target and, if
     possible, keywords related to the content of your site/page. This gives you
      a double bonus because the text is considered text content and is read by
      the search engine in that context, then the search engine reads it a second
      time as link content.

8.    Avoid duplicate content on separate pages. Google and other search
      engines take into account the number of links pointing to your page to
      determine how important your web page is. If you have identical content
      appearing on two different pages on your website, some sites will link to
      one page while others will link to the alternate page. The result is that
      neither of those pages will be regarded as very important in the search
      engine's index since you have effectively halved the links pointing to your
      article.

9.    Validate your HTML (or XHTML) and CSS.

10.   Meta tag keywords and descriptions are useful for many search engines.
      Never use the same meta descriptions or meta keywords from page to
      page. Alter their order or grammar. It's also best to craft the meta
      description text after the text content on the page has been written so the
      description relates to the text.

      The meta tag descriptions are more important than meta tag keywords and
      the descriptions should be 155 characters maximum and be written more
      like a sales pitch.

      Here's an example of a meta description on the contact page of
      gregkerr.net:
      "Contact local Portland writer Greg Kerr for more information about
      screenwriting and independent filmmaking in Oregon."

      Though their relevance has changed over time, currently it's best to use
      meta keywords and descriptions than to not use them. Try not to make
      them sound too generic:
      http://www.thesitewizard.com/sitepromotion/meta-description-tag-
      problems.shtml
      Stick with specific nouns and their relevant adjectives for your keywords.
      Avoid stop words such as "a", "an", "and", "the", etc., because they are so
      common they no longer are useful as keywords. For example, if you're
      selling boxes on your site, be specific about what kinds of boxes. Instead of
      "boxes" use "cardboard boxes".

      For keywords in the meta tag, use a maximum of 45 words or 1000
      characters. Always put the most important first. Google doesn't use these,
      though other search engines do.

      Here's a keyword discussion forum that provides many useful ideas for
      writing and using keywords.

11.   Use real URL links as opposed to Dynamic URL links as described in this
      article:
      http://www.searchtools.com/robots/goodurls.html

12.   Update your content regularly, if possible. Consider using an interactive
      forum or blogs on your site that have articles that are posted regularly.
      Having articles that users can comment on will cause your pages to update
      more frequently in search engines.

13.   Avoid frames.

14.   Use real headings with h1 through h6. It's best to have only one h1 tag per
      page and have it close to the opening of the body tag. The h1 should also
      be unique content on each of your pages and be related to the content of
      the page. The h1 is really the topic statement that summarizes what the
      page is about, so it should be clear and related. The use of h tags is very
      important to how search engines categorize your content in their
      databases. Use them like you would an outline (that you may have learned
      about in a writing class):

                      1. Main Topic of the page (h1)
                           a. Sub-topic 1 (h2)
                                  i. sub-sub-topic 1 (h3)
                                 ii. sub-sub-topic 2 (h3)
                             b. Sub-topic 2 (h2)

15.   Use links from your site that go to sites that are related. Broken links will
      likely hurt your SEO.

16.   Get linked to by legitimate sites. Avoid paying for links or getting links from
      sites that do not have similar content as your site.

17.   When naming Web pages, images, folders on your site, or even the domain
      itself, use keywords in their names separated by hyphens if possible. Never
      use spaces as separators. The folder that contains the blog for gregkerr.net
      is called greg-kerr-indie-film-blog and the image of Greg Kerr on the home
      page of gregkerr.net is named greg-kerr-portland-independent-
      filmmaker.jpg for example.

      This may seem extreme, however, these can provide more keywords and
      improve your search engine ranking in many search engines.

      Also, search engines view hyphens as separations between distinct words.
      On the other hand, underscores, like "greg_kerr_filmmaker" indicate that
      the separated words are actually one word, so this would be viewed by a
      search engine as "gregkerrfilmmaker". Always use hyphens when
      separating words, and underscores if you want to combine words.

If you are targeting Google directly, here are some other useful ideas:
http://www.thesitewizard.com/archive/google.shtml

								
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