Courtesy of SEO-News: November 9, 2006 Feature Article
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Top Ten SEO Factors
By Scott Hendison - Editor, SearchCommander.Com (c) 2006
These are what I believe to be the top 10 most important things
(not necessarily in order) that you need, in order to get your
website found in the search engines.
There are many other factors as well, but if you follow these
guidelines, you'll stand a much better chance, and you'll be
off to a good start.
1. Title Meta Tag
The title tag is what displays as the headline in the SERPs
(Search Engine Results Pages). It's also what displays in the
top blue band of Internet Explorer when your site is displayed.
Your title tag of your website should be easy to read and
designed to bring in traffic. By that, I mean that your main
keyword phrase should be used toward the beginning of the tag.
True, there are websites being found now that do not use the
phrase in the title, but the vast majority still do as of this
Don't make the mistake of putting your company name first,
unless you are already a household name, like Nascar or HBO.
People are likely searching for what you have to offer, not
Your title tag should be written with a capital letter starting
the tag, and followed by all lowercase letters, unless you're
using proper nouns. Some people prefer to capitalize every word,
2. Description Meta Tag
The description tag is the paragraph that people will see when
your page comes up in the search results.
Your description tag should be captivating and designed to
attract business. It should be easy to read, and compel the
reader to act right now and follow your link. Without a
description tag, search engines will frequently display the
first text on your page. Is yours appropriate as a description
of the page?
A proper description tag is what people will see below your
title. You should make proper use of punctuation, and with
readability, use your subject and geographical references.
3. Keywords Meta Tag
The importance of Meta keyword tags fluctuates from month to
month among different search engines. There is a debate in the
SEO community as to whether or not they help at all on certain
search engines. In fact, in the summer of 2004 it appeared as if
they were losing importance altogether.
However, you'll NEVER be penalized on any search engines for
using relevant targeted keywords in moderation, and they can
only help you with most, especially Yahoo.
Avoid stuffing your keyword metatags with too many keywords.
Just use relevant tags that apply directly to the content of
that particular page, and don't overdo it.
4. ALT Tags
The small yellow box that comes up when your mouse cursor is
placed over an image is called the ALT tag. Every relevant image
should have an alt tag with your keywords or phrases mentioned
in the tag.
A proper ALT tag goes after the file name, and before the Align
* - The ALT tag is no longer being considered for ranking
purposes by some search engines. That said, it still cannot
HURT you, and will still help you with some engines. My
recommendation is to continue to use them, but be sure to
avoid keyword stuffing. Besides, who knows when the pendulum
will swing back the other way?
5. Header Tags
The text of each page is given more weight by the search
engines if you make use of header tags and then use descriptive
body text below those headers. Bullet points work well too. It
is not enough to merely BOLD or enlarge your text headlines.
6. Link Text
Search engine spiders cannot follow image links. In addition to
having image links or buttons on your web pages, you should have
text links at the bottom or elsewhere. The text that the user
sees when looking at the link is called the link text. A link
that displays products does not carry as much weight to the
search engines as a link called oregon widgets. Link text is
very important and is actually one of the most frequently
overlooked aspects of web design that I've seen.
7. Site Map
Using a site map not only makes it easy for your users to see
the entire structure of your website, but it also makes it
easier for the search engines to spider your site. When the
search engine spiders come to visit, they will follow all of the
text links from your main index page. If one of those links is
to a site map, then the spiders will go right to the sitemap,
and consequently visit every page you have text linked to from
that site map. On the site map page, try to have a sentence or
two describing each page, and not just a page of links.
8. Relevant Inbound Links
By relevant, I mean similar industry or subject related sites.
Right now, no single strategy can get your site ranked higher
faster than being linked to by dozens of other relevant
websites. It used to be that the quantity of incoming links
mattered most, but today, it's much better to have three highly
relevant links to you from other popular related websites than
30 links from unrelated low ranked sites. If there are other
businesses in your industry that you can trade links with, it
will help your site enormously. Link to others, and have them
link to you. It's proven, and it works. To see who's linking to
you, in Google type the following...links: yourdomain.com
9. Your Content
Not to be forgotten of course, is the actual content of your
webpage. It must be relevant helpful information that people
want to read. These days, each webpage should be laser focused
on one specific product or subject in order to rank highly for
that search phrase. The days of writing one webpage to appeal to
dozens of search terms are long gone. Ideally, each page should
have between 400 to 650 words on it. Too few, and the search
engines won't consider it to be relevant enough. Too many words
and the search engine spiders may have a hard time determining
the actual subject or focus of the page.
Use your keywords or phrases often, and use them at the
beginning of your paragraphs wherever possible. Don't overuse
them and make the page sound phony, but don't write a page about
a certain subject, and not mention that subject repeatedly
either. Reading it out loud to yourself is a great way to judge
how natural your text sounds.
Concentrate on writing quality pages that actually appeal to the
human reader. Write pages that provide the reader with exactly
what they are looking for; that is, information about the exact
search phrase they've entered.
10. Avoid Cheating
With all of these tidbits of information, it's tempting to
think that you can stuff 100 keywords into your title, or create
a page with the phrase oregon widget company being used 100
times in headers, text links, ALT tags, bullet points etc. but
that cannot help you. In fact, it can penalize you, and get your
website banned from certain search engines.
Scott Hendison is an internet consultant
(http://www.searchcommander.com)that specializes in search engine
optimization and internet marketing. He has written over 100
articles that are available on his website. He has also developed
a tutorial area for beginning search engine optimization, at
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