Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Guide

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1 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Guide

2 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has two very distinct areas; on site SEO and off site SEO. The first relates to all the tasks that you can carry out on your website to ensure it is as relevant to your product or service and is as friendly as possible to the rules and requirements of search engines. The second concerns activities outside your website. These activities are the real marketing efforts for your site. Think about on site SEO as preparing a shop ready for customers. You need an attractive window display, an attractive, relaxing shopping environment, a well stocked shop with products on display and all correctly priced and in size order, an efficient checkout to enable people to purchase and a good stock control system. Off site SEO is how you get customers to your shop. Taking the shop analogy, you would have local adverts, maybe leaflets, you would raise awareness in the local community to get people talking about your products or services through events, exhibitions, recommendations, partnering with others etc etc. The split in effort and budget to make your website give you the best financial return should be around 20% for on site SEO and 80% for off site SEO. On Site SEO Off Site SEO

3 On Site SEO 1. An introduction to Search Engine Optimisation Simply submitting your web site to search engines will not drive traffic to your site. Although submission is an integral part of any effective search engine optimising strategy, you must achieve good search positions for anyone to find your listing. Our useful hints and tips will help you optimise your site and achieve that top ten position. Any search engine optimisation company will tell you, getting you site listed in the first ten results for a specific keyword is as much art as a science. Anyone can get to number 1 on a unique word or trade name, but on a generic key phrase, it's much more tricky. Search engine optimising can be difficult and confusing, but once you are aware of the key optimisation techniques, time and effort can bring in huge rewards if it is done the right way. A Search Engine Optimisation company will ensure that the relevant words and phrases appear in the best positions on the pages. There are many other considerations which are complicated by the engines modifying their preferences on a monthly basis. It is vital to keep up to date on how the search engines work. 2. Site design considerations 2.1 Do not use frames! Most search engines do not index the text within frames. A frame is an HTML page that "frames" other HTML pages. If your site uses frames you homepage is actually a frameset with no real content. Several major engines (including Excite, WebCrawler and HotBot) do not support frames, others do not index framed sites very well. If you site uses frames we recommend redesigning your site without them if you want to get good listings in the search engines. If you must use frames, include text in the <NOFRAMES> tag. Another solution is to create pages (without frames) to act as doorways or alternate entrances to your site for the purpose of giving these engines something they can see and index. 2.2 Do not use dynamic URL's Most search engine cannot list dynamic URL's which are commonly listed on database driven sites using scripting languages such as VBScript within Active Server Pages (ASP). An example of a dynamic URL is shown below.

4 2.3 Do not have an entirely FLASH homepage Search engines cannot index pages made entirely with FLASH. When you submit a page to a search engine a spider will follow the links on the page and listing the rest of the site. The best way to fix this is to create a site map that uses normal html links to every page on your site. Also add a standard HTML link on each page of you site that links to the site map. 2.4 Do not use image maps as the only method of navigation Search engines cannot index the code that makes up image maps. You can use image maps in your site but you should also include standard html links. As with a Flash site, create a site map that uses normal html links to every page on your site. Also add a standard HTML link on each page of you site that links to the site map. 2.5 Do not use javascript as the only method of navigation Search engines can't follow links that are within Javascript, so your site will not get spidered unless you also have some form standard HTML hyperlinks that they can follow. You should add some standard HTML hyperlinks to all of your pages on each of your pages so that your site will be spidered properly. An easy way to do this is to create a site map page uses standard HTML links to link to every page on your site. Then add a standard HTML link on each page of your site that links to the site map. 3. Carefully choose your keywords Target the wrong keywords and all your efforts will be in vain. Choose the right keywords and you ll see your traffic dramatically increase. Therefore, think long and hard about what keywords people are most likely to use when searching for your site. Make lists of single keywords and then combine them into phrases. For more information on choosing and the optimisation keywords for particular search engines have a look at our keywords section. 4. Optimisation of your Title Tag The title tag of your page is an extremely important factor to consider during the optimisation of a web page for search engines. Many engines and directories place a high level of importance on keywords that are found in your title tag. The title tag is also what the search engines usually use for the title of your listing in the search results. What it looks like: Here's an example of a title tag that could be used for this paragraph if it were a web page: <TITLE>optimisation of your title tag for search engines</title> Where it belongs: The correct placement for the title tag is between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags within the HTML

5 that makes up your page. Tag limits: Generally, we recommend that your title tag, including spaces, be between characters long. This level differs from search engine to search engine, therefore we recommend using a tool such as Web CEO tool to analyse your page. 5. Optimisation of your page content Your page content is another very important factor in achieving better search engine listings. Your page content is the information that a visitors read on the page. Search engines look through and read the copy on your page to discover what you have to offer, the most important thing to include in the page content is keyword phrases! Page content tips: We recommend that each page you submit has at least 200 words. This text should include your most important keyword phrases, but should remain logical & readable. Include the phrases that you have used in your other tags (i.e. metas, alt, headings, title, etc.) during the optimisation process. Add additional content rich pages to your site. For example, how to articles, hint and tips, or tutorials. These type of content pages not only help you in the search engines, but many other sites will link to them too. 6. Optimisation of your META tags The head element contains general information (meta information) about a document. HTML also includes a meta element that goes inside the head element. The purpose of this meta element is to provide meta information about the document. Most often the meta element is used to provide information that is relevant to browsers or search engines like describing the content of your document. Some search engines will use the name and content attributes of the meta tag to index your pages. This meta element defines a description of your page: <meta name="description" content="free Web tutorials on HTML, CSS, XML, and XHTML"> This meta element defines keywords for your page: <meta name="keywords" content="html, DHTML, CSS, XML, XHTML, JavaScript, VBScript"> The purpose of the name and content attributes are to describe the content of a page. However, since too many webmasters have used meta tags for spamming, like repeating keywords to give pages a higher ranking, many major search engines have stopped using them entirely. Where they belong: The correct placement for both meta tags is between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags within the HTML the makes up your page. Their order does not really matter, but most people usually place the description first followed by the keywords meta.

6 Tag limits: We recommend that your Keywords Meta does not exceed 1024 characters including spaces. We recommend that your Description Meta tag does not exceed 250 characters including spaces. Meta description tips: Make sure you accurately describe the content of your page while trying to entice visitors to click on your listing. Include 3 4 of your most important keyword phrases. Especially those used in your title tag and page copy. Try to have your most important keywords appear at the beginning of your description. This often brings better results, and will help avoid having any search engine cut off your keywords if they limit the length of your description. Meta keywords tips: You should only use keyword phrases that you also used in the copy of your page, title tag, meta description, and other tags. Any keywords phrases that you use that do not appear in your other tags or page copy are likely to not have enough prominence to help your listings for that phrase. Don't forget plurals. Don't forget common misspellings of popular keywords that could be used to find your site. Watch out for repeats! You want to include your most important phrases, but when doing so it can be difficult not to repeat a word many times. There in no limit, but we recommend that no one word be repeated in the keyword meta more than 5 times. If your site has content of interest to a specific geographic location be sure to include the actual location in your keyword meta. 7. Optimisation of your images using "alt" The alt attribute is used to define an "alternate text" for an image. The value of the alt attribute is an author defined text: <img src="optimised.gif" alt="search Engine Optimisation"> The "alt" attribute tells the reader what he or she is missing on a page if the browser can't load images, it is also important for page reader software used by sight impaired people. The browser will display the alternate text instead of the image. It is a good practice to include the "alt" attribute for each image on a page, to improve the display and usefulness of your document for people who have text only browsers. Although not all search engines use the alt tab it can help your listings on some of them. We recommend using 2 3 words for each image and using it where ever possible. 8. Optimisation of Text Hyperlinks Search engines use complex algorithms to check that what you are linking to is something closely related to the content of your page. Some engines look for keywords in hyperlinks and in the surrounding text of the hyperlinks. We recommend including your most important keyword phrases in the link itself and possibly the surrounding text.

7 9. Optimisation of Heading Tags Headings are defined with the <h1> to <h6> tags. <h1> defines the largest heading. <h6> defines the smallest heading. <h1>this is a heading</h1> <h2>this is a heading</h2> <h3>this is a heading</h3> <h4>this is a heading</h4> <h5>this is a heading</h5> <h6>this is a heading</h6> HTML automatically adds an extra blank line before and after a heading. Although they are used less frequently due to new technologies, HTML heading tags can help improve your listings in the search engines also. You should include you most important keyword phrases in the heading tags on your page. Some search engines use them in the analysis of your page content. 10. How long should I wait before re submitting to a particular search engine? MSN 30 days Google 4 6 weeks AltaVista days Fast days Excite 4 6 weeks Northern Light 30 days AOL 30 days HotBot 30 days iwon 30 days 11. Things to Avoid when Optimisation for Search Engines Do not try to trick a search engine in any way because you risk being blacklisted by them. Excluding the meta keyword tag, do not list your keywords one after another anywhere on the page An old trick is to try and keyword stuff the page by using the same colour text as the page's background. Search engines can detect this and view it as spam. Do not submit the same page to any search engine more than once in twenty four hours. Do not submit identical pages. You should instead give them different filenames and change the title and, if possible, the keywords for the page. Do not use any keywords in your keywords meta tag that do not directly relate to the content of your page. Don't use any keywords in your keywords meta tag that do not directly relate to the content of your page.

8 Off Site SEO Unfortunately On Site Optimisation will not get you a first page position on search engines, it is just the start. For a proper SEO campaign you need off site search engine optimisation which should account for 70% to 80% of your optimisation efforts. Off site optimisation consists of techniques not performed directly on your website which in essence boils down to back links from other sites. The different types of back links are Reciprocal: When you have a link to a site that links to your site. It is the easiest way to get back links since both you and the other webmaster are increasing back links but they have less importance than one way links. Do not overdo reciprocal links or you might be banned from the major search engines. Three Way Links: This is a technique created by webmasters to trick search engines into thinking the links are one way and not reciprocal. Three way linking is when you link your site to site b and the site b owner links back to you from site c. These links have more weight than reciprocal links as you are tricking search engines into believing that the link is one way only. Always keep in mind that search engines don't like to be tricked and in the long run they might penalize you as their algorithms develop. One Way Linking: Definitely the type of back link with the most value to search engines and the type that will increase your rankings the most. There are many ways to receive one way links, the most important factor is to keep the source relevant to your subject. Links Trading: The oldest technique in link building. Link trading is also know as reciprocal linking and 3 way linking. Make sure you always trade links with relevant sources to your market for better search engine recognition. We recommend you use websites that specialize in this service such as linkmarket.net.

9 Below is a list of work which also needs attention to improve your off site SEO Article Distribution: A really effective way to build one way back links. There are thousands of article distribution websites that allow you to include a personal link at the bottom of the article. Always make sure you write your own quality articles related to your subject or you might be banned. A well written article might also be used by other webmasters on their website if it is unique and properly written. PR News Wire: News wire is an extremely effective way to build one way links and search engines recognition. PR News Wires are expensive because are distributed to thousands of news sites and news channels. If you manage to write a good PR News Wire your story might be featured in newspapers which will boost your link building campaign. Directory Submission: This is a time consuming but definitely worth job if you submit your website to relevant directories. Many important directories require a payment or a long scrutiny by the category administrator. Some directories such as DMOZ, BOTW, Joeant.com and yahoo can make a huge difference in your rankings. Social Bookmarking: A great source of one way back links. Major Social Networking and bookmarking websites don t just provide a link to you but can also generate thousands of visitors. Forums: Forum signature links still have some value to search engines. Always try to post in relevant threads with relevant content. If you start writing fake threads just to promote your service you might be penalized and reported as a spammer. Write Reviews: Hundreds of websites and blogs review other sites, you can write your own review or request these websites to look at your product/service and post their opinion. Beware reviews can be good and bad!

10 Blog Comments: Do not spam blogs with irrelevant comments. If you are well educated on the subject, share your views and comments on the post. If comments are relevant, constructive and the subject is related, the webmaster will accept your comment and leave a link back to your website. Buy Links: This is a technique that should be used with caution as Google decided to remove websites from their index that were buying and selling links. If you decide to start using this technique do it in relevant websites and always try to make it look as natural as possible. Some pay per click engines show your posts as a valid back link. Do not overdo this or you might be penalized.

11 What Next? Everything in this guide needs to be done to achieve a search engine first page position for your most important keyword phrases. It is a lot to remember and it is a lot of work to do. You have 3 choices: 1. Do nothing and miss out on making real money from your site. Let your competitors get wise to SEO and get there before you. 2. You or your staff carry out SEO by making sure you understand how each and every task is actioned and devote the time and resources to achieve it. 3. We carry out SEO for you with the added benefit that we guarantee first page position for your keywords or we give your money back for each keyword phrase that does not achieve a Google first page position within 6 months. To proceed with this risk free option visit or call us now on

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