SEO for beginners
Overview Short description of SEO in general Basic overview of HTML and CSS This will only serve to highlight the uses of these languages for SEO Ways in which we implement SEO Viewing and measuring results
How to maintain your SEO campaign
Introduction to SEO SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) involves altering website code, content, and presence in order to increase rankings in search engines At least half a billion searches are made worldwide on a daily basis
If you are ranked at the top of a search engine, you are essentially running a free marketing campaign.
Introduction to SEO Which search engine? There are some main players which you must always consider optimising for, namely Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and AskJeeves Although Google makes up for almost half of worldwide searches, it is not always a good tactic to relate your site prominence only on Google If half a billion searches are made per day, this means that over 250,000,000 are made on other Search Engines
Each search engine searches the web and ranks sites differently, so when you may be at the top of one search engine, you might not even be listed on another one
Introduction to SEO Search Engine Statistics
Search engine market shares in November 2005 for searches in the USA
Introduction to SEO How a search engine works Search engines use programs called spiders, or bots, to search the internet and document their findings. Spiders firstly go to a webpage and analyse it Goes through the HTML code and categorises the most important words (keywords) in the document. It then moves on to any pages that linked from the current page. This is one way how search engines find new pages.
It also visits pages that may not be linked by other pages, but were submitted by search engines.
Introduction to SEO What a search engine sees Spiders do not see a page like humans do, as it cannot describe an image, or tell you how pretty a site looks Instead, it looks at the HTML code and structures it to make sense.
Using a text browser, or disabling images and CSS are a good way of seeing your site through a search engines eyes.
Introduction to SEO What a search engine sees (cont.) www.ialc.org without CSS and Images
Introduction to SEO What a search engine sees (cont.) www.ialc.org WITH CSS and Images
Crash Course in HTML/CSS (X)HTML is used to describe the data that is on your page CSS is used to format HTML and make it look more presentable. Web standards are continuously trying to separate content from presentation Previously, HTML was used for both content and presentation.
Latest Versions of the languages
Crash Course in HTML/CSS HTML Basics HTML uses <tags> to describe data Data is usually enclosed in these tags Tags can be images, paragraphs, titles, tables, and more Browsers render these tags differently on your screen.
There is a tendency to depend on these tags also for formatting, e.g. using tables to keep non-tabular data
Crash Course in HTML/CSS HTML Basics (cont.) Every HTML document has some mandatory elements : <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C ... ml1-transitional.dtd"> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <meta … /> Extra information about the document
Crash Course in HTML/CSS HTML Basics (cont.) Here are some basic tags important to SEO <h1></h1> , <h2></h2> , <h3></h3> , … Header tags – Makes text large and bold <img src=“location of pic” alt=“alternate text”> Image tags – note the alternate text for SEs <a href=“link URL” title=“link title”>link</a> Link tags - Browsers makes the text inside a link
Not recommended, but is said to help in SEO
Crash Course in HTML/CSS CSS Basics CSS can make a simple HTML page look completely different. CSS has little or no impact on SEO You can make a site look like whatever you want without losing SE rankings CSS code can be placed within an HTML document, or in a separate file If you use a separate file, you can use it for every page
This makes updating the way your site looks very easily, because you only need to update one file.
SEO Techniques Keywords Keywords are the words on a webpage that best describe that page Keyword selection is the most important step to effective SEO The keywords you use will be the phrases where you want to be highly ranked on SEs Time and research should go into selecting the appropriate keywords before doing any SEO
What are the words one would use to find your site?
SEO Techniques Keywords (cont.) Continuation on how search engines work… When a spider goes through a webpage, it determines the weight of frequently used words in the document, and considers them the most important in the document. The more you use a word in important places, the more search engines give importance to it.
The words with highest weight are more likely to bring up your web page when used as a search term.
SEO Techniques Keywords (cont.) You must decide whether to focus on less frequently used keywords (niche) or compete for the commonly used ones. Here are some tools you can use to see which keywords are searched for frequently Google Suggest (beta) (free) http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en
Offers a free keyword tool with its adwords services
SEO Techniques Meta Tags Meta tags are used to provide a description of the page, and a list of main keywords it uses. There is a debate over whether to cram loads of keywords into these tags, or just select the most important ones. Search engines are getting smarter everyday, so they may penalise you for cramming
Some search engines reportedly don’t even look at the meta tags (e.g. Google)
SEO Techniques Title Tag The text in this tag shows up on the top of your browser window. Quite important to include keywords here, as the title will give a general summary for what your page is about.
Most search engines see this tag as an important tag for categorising what type of site you have.
SEO Techniques Anchor Tags One of the most important tags you must use for SEO. Spiders use these to crawl your site, so you must have links to pages throughout your site. Other sites that link to yours will send spiders your way also. Google (and others) use anchor tags to rank your site in many ways: Firstly, text in anchor tags are given a lot of importance. If other sites link to you, this must mean your site is popular, and so you increase in rankings.
The most popular sites would, in theory, be linked to by many websites throughout the internet.
SEO Techniques Anchor Tags (cont.) Since anchor tags are so important, it is vital that you include keywords in these tags SEs think the words to describe a link should give a good indication of what that page is about. This is one reason why it is good to have a navigation bar that uses links to all your sites. Better that you use words, not images Try and use <a> tags, and not image maps, flash, etc.
A sitemap is also an effective way of tying your site up if you link all your pages to this site map.
SEO Techniques Anchor Tags (cont.) Page 1 Page 3 Page 4 Page 2 Sitemap This is a website without a site map. This is a website with a site map. Page 1 and 2 can only reach page 3 via page 4 Page 1 and 2 can now reach page 3 in many ways
Here is an example of why a sitemap is effective
SEO Techniques Text and Content Throughout your page you will need to use keywords in order to rank well for that word The most important places of your content to put keywords are in the headers, at the beginning, and the end of paragraphs. It is importance to balance the overuse of keywords for the sake of SEO and keeping the text relevant, readable, and informative
There is no point in having a highly ranked page if it provides no information to a user, as they will leave your site immediately
SEO Techniques H1, H2, H3, etc. Tags These tags are considered by search engines to be a description of your page. Very important to put in some keywords there. It is always a good idea to structure your content so that it contains these tags at beginning of paragraphs, tables, sections, etc. It is quite logical that a search engine gets the overview of a paragraph from a header tag
We know what this slide is about by looking at the title of the slide
SEO Techniques Images Images are not read by search engines, and so you should avoid using too many images on your site Many sites use images for fancy fonts, when they contain keywords that are never read by a search engine Always use an alt attribute when including an image
This gives a spider a description of the image, and also doubles as making your site accessible to blind people.
SEO Techniques Code Structure It is important to look at your HTML code and see the structure of it. Some pages have too much code, and too little content Some code makes it so that content is found at the bottom of the page. Pages that use tables for layout are notorious for doing this. Make sure that keywords are found at the top of your source code as well as on the actual web page
Remember, SEs don’t see pages like we do, they only see our HTML code.
SEO Techniques Update your site regularly Sites that are updated regularly are spidered and indexed more frequently by SEs Sites that change often are considered by SEs as sites that provide current information, and must therefore (although not always) provide up to date information This would provide a more relevant set of results than providing a user with pages that were made 10 years ago
News Items are a great way of including a regular changing page.
SEO Techniques Dynamic Code Dynamic code can make updating your site very easy Also useful for creating pages on the fly E.g. A shopping cart with items you want to buy SEs do not always look favourably on pages with dynamic data These pages usually have a ? after the page name and are followed by data
You have to regularly update your site if you want to do well with dynamic pages
SEO Techniques Inbound Links As said before, links from other sites are very important. Google will no list your site if its not found on an other webpage listed by them
Methods to get links on other pages
Measuring Results Once you have started your SEO campaign, you need to measure your results and make sure you are improving on SE Rankings When you first make changes, SEs may take up to about four weeks to scan your site for changes.
There are millions of web pages for them to crawl, and so it takes time for them to get to you.
Measuring Results Reasons for no improvements Sometimes, you may not notice an improvement in your rankings This can be due to many reasons as many factors affect your SE rankings Competition may be doing better
More linking from other sites
Measuring Results Statistics Monitoring You can view statistics of visitors to your site. You can see what engines are used more to find your site You can also see which keywords are used to find your site, which helps with keyword research
This can help you target particular search engines and accommodate their searching methods.
Measuring Results SEO software SEO software can be used to scan many SEs for phrases of your choice and produce visual results of how your website is doing. Much faster than doing this manually You can run regular searches and monitor your positioning easily and efficiently
Some SEO software can also help you scan you pages and make suggestions for improvements.
Measuring Results SEO software (cont.)
Resources Links to further SEO resources www.onestat.com/html/aboutus_pressbox.html www. searchenginewatch.com