As the primary Social Media contact for ChuckPalahniuk.net, I have dealt with my fair share of negative feedback. Our Twitter profile has over 340,000 followers and our Facebook page clocks in with over 300,000 'friends.' With numbers like that, there's bound to be some unhappy people on certain days. I'm...
The rules for proper SEO guidelines seem to change on almost a weekly basis. Most recently, Six Revisions published an article on the dimishing importance of Google's PageRank. But while the web shifts away from the basic tricks of SEO compliance, let us not neglect nor ignore these simple methods you can follow to help optimize your site. In this series of articles, I'll touch upon some of these key rules, with the goal of helping you, the webmaster, optimize your site for long-term SEO success.
Content Is King
A scenario: the name of your company is The Lawn Kings. You specialize in selling landscaping equipment. Well, a search engine like Google needs to know this. So let's look at the three things a search engine does when it scans your site.
Indexing: This is where the search engine effectively makes a copy of the pages on your site. Google is going to read and store the HTML content it finds -- all of it. This means that any place on your site you can attribute relevant keywords, you better be doing it. If you have an image of a lawnmower, you should assign Alt Text to that image telling Google it's an image of a lawn mower.
*Hover your mouse over me and tell me what you see.
If you have a programmer who handles the coding of your pages, make sure they have a list of your 15-25 most pertinent keywords.
Here is a list of meta keywords I found attributed to a random landscaping equipment site: commercial lawn and garden equipment, lawn care, yard care, lawn maintenance, clippings, debris, debris removal, debris systems, dumpster, portable dumpster, landscaping, landscaping truck, lawn maintenance trailer, grass, grass clippings, lawnmower, debris hauling truck
Makes sense, right? Well, you'd be shocked how many websites don't do this.
Retrieval: Now the search engine will find all the matching documents relevant to what the user searched for. Picture a person going to the library for a book report on a specific subject. They're not sure which books will provide them with the best information. So they'll borrow a large stack and scan through each of them. The ones that are most helpful are the ones that will be applied to the homework assignment. In other words, relevance, yet again, is key.
Tips that will help you tell a search engine which words are more relevant include:
- Frequency of keywords most pertinent to your business
- Bolding and italicizing these keywords
- Using these keywords as anchor text for a hyperlink
- Including these keywords in your main page headlines
- Making sure they're represented in your meta data, alt text and even image file names
Ranking: Now that the search engine has all the documents it needs from the Index and Retieval process, it will look to rank these documents in order of importance. This is where search engines each fall into their own secret algorithms. In their Help section, Google lists the factors for a successful page ranking as relevance, comprehensiveness, freshness and speed. But really, what it comes down to most is popularity. The more high-end sites you have linking to you, the better. Google has already ranked these sites, and the higher they stack, the more they'll help you if they link to you.
What this all boils down to in the end is content, content and more content. Pretend you're Neo for a moment, and you've finally become The One, and this enlightment allows you to see the Matrix for what it really is...a collection of strung together code.
Well, being the Neo of the Internet, you'd be able to see it for what it really is: a collection of text. Search engines like Google are the spiders that crawl through all that text, indexing it, retrieving it and then ranking it. So quite simply, content is king. Everything from blogs to content-rich descriptions improve your chances at placing better in your site category. Just remember to make this content fresh. Stay topical. And stay relevant.