Google Matters Most
There is no denying that Google is King in search. When optimizing your web site, you should focus your efforts on what is known about how the Big G delivers search results. Luckily, there are some great resources out there, packed with valuable info.
Go ahead and bookmark “Webmaster Central Blog” right now. This is the “official” information clearing house for webmasters, from Google.
Matt Cutts, a software engineer at Google, has a blog filled with solid SEO advice.
Chose a Domain Name that Describes Your Business
Imagine, for a moment, that you own a dog biscuit business named “Mother’s Goodness”. Obviously, the first domain name that would pop into your head is mothersgoodness.com, but how effective will this be in SEO terms?
Your business’ web site generally won’t have a hard time ranking for your business name, regardless of the domain you choose. So, what if you secured a domain that targeted surfers searching for the products or services your business deals in? TheBestDogTreats.com, now we’re cooking with gas!
Pay Attention to Your Title Element
Each individual web page should have a title element. The title element is located between the <title></title> tag pair, in the document head (<head></head>), and should be limited to 60 characters. Anything over 60 characters will be ignored when Google indexes your web page.
The page title should consist of readable plain text, relevant to the contents of that page. Each page within a web site should have it’s own page title, when possible. A format I like to follow, when writing a good title tag, is “Keyword/Phrase: Brief descriptive title containing keywords”.
Example: <title>Dog Biscuits: The best dog treats your puppy has ever sat for!</title>
The Keywords Meta Tag Does not Count
End of story. There was a long debate on whether or not Google considered the “keywords” meta tag. On September 21, 2009 Google finally put an end to the debate, stating that they “do not use the “keywords” meta tag in our web search ranking.”
Use Heading Tags Appropriately
H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 tags mean something, for crying out loud! These heading tags describe the hierarchy of the contents of your web page.
The main title of your page should be encased by the <h1></h1> tag pair. This should be the only instance of the h1 tag pair being used on the page.
As you proceed down the page, use the remaining heading tags to show the order of nesting for the rest of the page contents. A sub topic title would be contained within the <h2></h2> tag pair. H2-H6 heading tags may repeat within the same web page.
Accessible Documents Are Good For Karma
If you practice building accessible web pages, you will not only be assisting physically challenged surfers, but it will help your search engine rankings too. Semantic HTML and proper use of the “title” attribute increases accessibility and provides you with added opportunity for including valuable keywords and phrases. Using the “title” attribute with images allows surfers using non-visual browsers to understand the content, and some browsers will also display an image’s title attribute as a tooltip message. Text entered within the title attribute is indexable and will affect your search engine rankings.
Create a Sitemap
Sitemaps allow webmasters to point out all of their web site content to search engines. For a variety of reasons, search engines might run into trouble while indexing your pages. Creating and submitting sitemaps are a way to be sure that search engines are aware of the pages of your web site you want them to be aware of.
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Be Strategic with Your Incoming Links
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