Search Engine Optimization : SEO BOOK.
Your Site Useful and Telling People about it
It's important to create Web pages that search engines will read and
index, pages that, will rank well in the search results for the keywords
that are important to you.But if you are going to build a Web site,
you need to step back and start at an even earlier stage - you need
to figure out what purpose the site should serve and how it can accomplish
that purpose. Consider this: The more useful your site is, the greater
the chance of success. The more that people talk about your site, the
more likely it is that journalists write about it, the more likely it
is to be mentioned on radio or TV, the more people will link to it from
their Web sites. Search Engines marketing and non search engine marketing
are both important because either form of Web site search engine marketing
are both important because either form of Website promotion can lead
to more links pointing to your site.
The Secret but Essential Rule of Web Success
Simple rule to success on the Web:
Make Your Site Useful and Then Tell People about it
It's not so complicated. Figure out how your site can be useful to
people and then find as many ways as possible tolet people know about
it. You will use the search engines but you should be using other methods
too. Search Engines are not the only way to get people to your site.
In fact many Web sites have succeeded without using the search engines
as their primary method of attracting visitors to the site. It's unlikely
that search engines were a large factor in Amazon's success - Amazon
grew rapidly mainly because of the enormous press attention it received,
beginning in 1994. Many companies have done nothing or very little to
promote themselves through the search engines, yet they still turn up
at the top when you search for their products or services. Why? Because
their other promotions have also helped to push them higher in the search
engines, by creating thousands, even tens or hundreds of thousands,
of links to them around the Internet.
The Evolving "Secret"
Over the last decade, a number of popular ideas about what makes a
successful Web site have been bandied around, and all were wrong to
some degree. Here are some of those secrets to successful Web sites:
· Links : When the Web began booming in 1994, it was all about
links. You would hear in the press that the secret to a successful Web
sites was linking to other sites.
· Cool : Then people started saying that the secret of success
was to make your site cool. Cool sites were more entertaining and more
likely to attract repeat visitors.
· Community : Then people started talking about community; that's
right, that's the secret ! The secret to a successful Web site was creating
a community where people could meet and chat with each other.
· Content : Then , around 2000,people discovered that the secret
was content. By putting more stuff, particulary textual information
on your site, you could be more successful.
Specific one-size-fits-all secrets to success never make
sense. The most harmful of the preceding ideas was that your site had
to be cool. This idea led to the expenditure of billions
of dollars on useless but pretty Web sites, most of which have been
disappeared. Some of the it's all about cool crowd is still
in the Web business and still convincing businesses to spend money on
ridiculous, wasteful things such as Flash intros for their
The Real Secret Is….
Your Web site has to be useful. The problem with the secrets I just
mentioned is that they are too specific, leading people to build sites
that were in many cases inappropriate. Sure, links are important to
Yahoo! But they are much less so to the vast majority of Web sites.
If you own an entertainment site, you may want to make it cool and entertaining.
Certainly community can be an effective tool, but not every site has
to have it. Content is very important, too - especially from a search
engine perspective - but many successful Web sites don't have much content.
When you are planning your Web site, thing about what kinds of folks
you want to attract to the site. Then try to come up with ideas about
what features and information might be useful to them. Your site may
end up with a lot of link pages, providing a directory of sorts for
people in your industry. O may be you really need a cool and entertaining
site. Or perhaps you decide to use discussion groups and chat rooms
as a way to build community and pull the crowds into your site; Or may
be you decide to create a huge repository of information to attract
a particular type of customer to your site. May be you do all these
things. But the important first step is to think about what you can
do to make your site more useful.
A Bias For Content
Content is a special case. The Web's search engines are biased toward
ranking content heavy Web sites well for a couple of reasons:
· Search Engines were originally academic research tools designed
to find text information. Search engines mostly index text….That
· Search Engines need something to base their judgements on.
When you type a search term into a search engine, the search engine
looks for the words you provided. So a web site built with few words
is at a disadvantage right from the start.
Search engines do have other criteria for deciding
if a Web site matches a particular search, most notably the number and
type of links pointing to the site. But search engines
do have a huge bias toward textual content. This bias is often a real
problem. The real world simply doesn't work in the
manner in which the search engines see it.You cant ignore the fact that
search engines like content. However, you can compete
other ways. One of the most important ways is getting links from other
sites. Search engines like to see links on other sites
pointing to your site. Sites that have hundreds, even thousands, of
other sites linking to them often rank well. But they
still need at least some content for the search engines to index. And
the best situation is lots of useful content with
lots of incoming links.
Making Your site Work Well
Many of the rules of good site design just happen to match what search
engines like. And many of the cool tricks that designers love cause
problems with the search engines. So here comes the review of a few
tips for good site design that will help both your site visitors and
the search engines work with your site.
Limit The Use of MultiMedia
Most multimedia used on the Web is pointless because it rarely serves
a useful pupose to the visitor. It's there because Web designers enjoy
working with it and because many people are still stuck in the old "You
have got to be cool" mindset. Look at the world's most successful
Web sites, and you will find that they rarely use multimedia - Flash
Animations and Video, clean, black text on white background, with lots
of text and very little in the way of animations, video or sound. While
Yahoo! Or Google, too, or CNN.com or eBay - they're not cool; they just
get the job done.You can employ multimedia on a web site in some useful
ways. I think it makes a lot of sense to see Flash, for instance, to
create demos and presentations. Flash intros are almost always pointless,
and search engines don't like them because intros don't provide indexable
Use Text, Not Graphics
A surprising number of Web sites use graphics to place text onto pages.
Web designers often employ this techniques so that all browsers can
view their carefully chosen fonts.
Use ALT Text
When you place images in a Web page, it's a good idea to include ALT
attribute text. The ALT attribute in an IMG tag was originally intended
to provide a description of an image for people using text-based browsers,
or browsers that are capable of displaying images but have the image
display turned off. Few people browse without images turned on these
days. Alt text can also be used by browsers designed for the blind,
which read the text out loud.
Search Engines sometimes use the ALT text as one more clue about the
page's subject matter. It's not as important as it used to be, but it
cant hurt. Remember to put keywords in the ALT attribute, like this:
<IMG SRC="rodent.gif" WIDTH="500" HEIGHT="100"
ALT="Rodent Racing Scores">
Don't Be Too Clever
Try not to be clever. From a usability standpoint, the problem is that
not all browser types works the same; they have different bugs and handle
technical tricks differently. If you are always working with the very
latest Web-development technology, more of your visitors are likely
to run into problems. Cool technology often confuses the search engines,
too. Google and other search engines like simple. The more complicated
your web pages are, the harder it is for search engines to read and
categorize them. You must strike a compromise between employing all
the latest Web-design technology and tools and ensuring the search engines
can read your pages. From a search engine perspective, one step behind
probably isn't enough!
Don't Be Cute
Some sites do everything they can to be cute. The Coca-Cola site was
a classic example of this a few years ago, Though it finally got the
message and changed. The site had icons labled Tour de Jour, Mind Candy,
Curvy Canvas, Netalogue, and so on. What do these things mean? Who knows?
Certainly not the site visitor. This sort of deranged Web design is
far less common now than it used to be, but you still see it occasionally
- particularly in sites designed by hip Web design firms. One incredibly
irritating technique is the hidden navigation structure. The main page
contains a large image with hotspots on it. But it's unclear where the
hotspots are, or what they link to, until you point at the image and
move the mouse around. This strikes me as the Web-design equivalent
of removing the numbers from the front of the homes in a neighborhood.
Sweet and sickly cuteness doesn't help your site visitors find their
way around and almost certainly hurts with the search engines.
Framed Web sites were very popular a few years ago; fortunately they
have fallen out of favor to a great degree. From a usability standpoint,
there is nothing wrong with frames. But there are a few reasons why
they are less prevalent today.
· Many designers misused frames, making their sites hard to navigate.
Often designers put too many frames into a browser window because
they designed on large screens with high resolutions and forgot about
the average Joe working with a small screen and low resolution.
· Search Engines don't handle frames well.
A few situations are there in which you can't use some other
mechanism rather than frames, so I advise you to stay away from them.
Make It Easy To Move Around
Web designing is constantly getting better, but it still surprises that
designers sometimes make it difficult for visitors to move around a
Web site. Think carefully about how your site is structured:
· Does it make sense from a visitor's standpoint?
· Can visitors find what they need quickly?
· Do you have dangling pages - pages where a visitor can't find
a link to get back into your main site?
Search Engines don't like dangling pages, and consider what
happens if someone on another site links directly to the page - visitors
can get to the page but not to the rest of your site. Step into your
target visitors' shoes and thin what they would want on arriving
at your site. Can your visitors get where they are going quickly and
easily? If they can't, you are probably also making it hard
for search engines to find their way around.
Provide Different Ways to Find Things
People think differently, so you need to provide them with numerous
avenues for finding their way around your site. And by doing so, you
are also giving more information to search engines and ensuring that
search can navigate your site easily.Here are some different navigational
systems that can be added to the site:
· Sitemap : This is the page with links to the different areas
of the site or in the small sites to the every page in the site.
· Table of Contents or Index Page : You can sort page thematically
· Navigation Bars.
· Navigation Text Links.
One technique can be used is to add simple text near the top,
rather than the bottom of the page. Users with slow connections see
these links quickly, and search engines are sure to find them.
Use Long Link Text
It's proven fact that Web users like ling link text - links that are
more that just a single word, but that actually describe where the link
takes you if you click on it. Usability testing shows that long link
text makes it much easier for visitors to find their way around a site.
A long link provides more information to visitors about where a link
will take them. Long links that explain what the referenced page is
about are a great thing not only for visitors but also for search engines.
By using keywords in the links, you are telling the search engines what
the referenced pages are about. You also have a problem if all the links
on your site are on image buttons - search engines can't read images
,so image buttons provide no information describing what the referenced
page is about. You can't beat a well keyworded text link for passing
information about the target page to the search engines.
Don't Keep Restructuring
Try to fix your site design before you get too far into the process.
Sites that are constantly being restructured have numerous problems,
including the following:
· Links from other Web sites into yours get broken, which is
bad for potential visitors as well as for search engines…or more
precisely, bad for your position in the search engines because
they won't be able to reach your site through the broken links.
· Anyone who may have boomarked your page now has a broken bookmark.
It's a good idea to create a custom 404e error page, which
is displayed in your browser if the server is unable to find a page
you have requested. Create a page with links to other areas
of the site, perhaps even a sitemap, so that if visitors and searchbots
can't find the right page, at least they'll be able to reach
some page on your site.
Spell Check and Edit
Check your pages for spilling and editing errors. Not only do error-free
pages make you site appear more professional to visitors, they also
ensure that your valuable keywords are not wasted. If your potential
site visitors are searching for rodent racing, for example, you don't
want the term rodint racing in your Web pages.