Search Engine Optimization Tips by ydc82540

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									Search Engine Optimization Tips
Prepared by Sean Tubridy
Creative Director, Blue Over Blue
www.blueoverblue.com

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a booming Industry. Unfortunately, most of the companies that claim to
be able to get you ranked highly on search engines offer nothing but tricks and tactics that usually don’t work.
While there are techniques to improve your sites visibility, there are little to no tricks to getting search engines
to rank you highly. If you optimize your site for your visitors, search engines will follow.


Good Content

Reading on the web is different than reading print. People tend to scan web pages rather than read them.
Keep your copy brief and to the point. Include words and phrases you think your visitors will search for on
a search engine. Bold important phrases and words. Use lists to organize ideas. Rich, informative copy that
is short and to the point will look professional to both users and search engines. Keep in mind however, that
once your site is ranked highly on search engines, it may not stay there. Keep your content fresh. While you
don’t have to rewrite all your pages all the time, you should have at least one section of your site that gets
updated regularly.


Meaningful Page Titles

Give the titles of your pages meaningful names that contain words you expect your visitors to search for.
Rather than name a page “our work”, name it “modern residential and commercial architecture in minnesota”.
Match the words in the title to the copy on the page to appear more relevant to search engines.


Friendly URL’s

A URL is the directory a browser is looking at on a website. It may be an actual file or information that is
pulled in from a database. You may have seen pages with URL’s that look like this:
www.abcsprockets.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/104-1971646-8119913?page=portfolio%3Daps

While some content management systems make this unavoidable, many now allow you to replace all that
nonsense with real words, making it easier for search engines to index and people to understand.

www.abcsprockets.com /portfolio/modern-minnesota-architecture
or
www.abcsprockets.com /portfolio/modern-minnesota-architecture.html


Links

While linking to other sites may help your rankings, getting linked from other sites certainly will. Make connec-
tions with owners of other sites and ask them to link to your site. Links only help if they are from good sites
with similar content that rank well on search engines.


Sitemap

Put a sitemap (a basic list of every page) somewhere on your site. Search engines can use this to index your
site quickly. Many content management systems generate one automatically for you.


Meta Information

While this is not nearly as important as some SEO companies would like you to believe, it doesn’t hurt to in-
clude meta information on your pages. This is information that only your browser sees and includes keywords,
descriptions and other information. Use a minimum of three and no more than ten keywords. Write a brief
one sentence description of what your page is about. This description will show up under your link in search
engines.


Web Standards

When the web was in it’s infancy, every company that made a browser built them to their own standards. This
meant that a page that looked good in Internet Explorer, might not have looked good In Netscape. Develop-
ers, fed up with building multiple versions of one site for every possible browser (and clients fed up with pay-
ing for them) got together and set up standards for building web sites that all browsers were meant to follow.
Today, most browsers follow (or try to follow) these standards, although none are perfect. Microsoft’s Internet
Explorer is still built off the original version and has used a band-aid approach to getting up to standards.
Firefox however, was built from scratch with web standards in mind.

Main Web Standards Features:
Content that is separate from presentation
CSS style sheets for layout and type
Div tags to structure pages instead of tables

All of the features above allow a design change to be made in one place and allow that change appear across
the entire site, usually without ever touching the individual pages or their content. They also create much less
code on individual pages, allowing sites to load faster and get indexed more easily.


Things to Avoid

Hidden text - text that appears in the same color as the background. This is considered spamming.
Too many keywords - 3 min, 10 max per page
Pages that only have graphics or flash
Automatic submission tools or services - if your content is good, search engines will find you.
Too much javascript, flash, sound
Splash pages, Flash intros
Image-based copy, headers or navigation
Drop-down menus
Surprise navigation - buttons that don’t say what they are until you roll over them


Closing

While high search engine ranking is great, it is not the end all and be all of web marketing. You will likely still
have to send out newsletters and mailings (both online and print), take out ads, promote yourself and your site
at events, and use many grass roots methods to promote your business.


Reading

Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve Krug

Web Bloopers: 60 Common Web Design Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them
by Jeff Johnson

The Web Content Style Guide
by Gerry McGovern, Rob Norton, and Catherine O’Dowd

The ABC of SEO
by David George

								
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