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Search engine optimisation (SEO): The basics

What is SEO & why is it important?

SEO is about making your website in such a way that it will appear higher in the search rankings. A website that's optimised for search engines can reap huge benefits on to your website and your business.

You must choose effective keyword phrases

Effective keyword phrases are frequently searched for (high demand) but not being targeted by many other websites (low competition). Please read the article, How to find good keywords for more information.

You need to use these keyword phrases effectively

Now that you've found some great keyword phrases, you need to put them in the important places within each web page. Search engines give higher relevance to certain words and phrases within HTML documents so it's essential that you put your keyword phrases in the correct places.

The more confident a search engine is about the subject of your website, the higher your web pages will be in the search rankings. If you only place your keyword phrases in the META tags your website will not get a high ranking.

Some of the best places to put keyword phrases are:

  • Page title tag
  • In headings
  • As links
  • In bold text
  • In the first 25 words on the page (this refers to the first 25 words of text placed in the HTML document, which is often navigation)
  • In the file name (i.e. the URL)
  • META tags

HTML pages have to be easy for search engines to follow

Search engines scour the Internet looking for web pages to index, following links from one web page to the next. To ensure a search engine ranking, all pages on your website must be accessible to search engines. Some search engines have problems with:

  • Links accessible solely through frames, image maps, or JavaScript
  • Very long pages
  • Very short pages
    Flash pages
  • Long JavaScript (JavaScript should be placed in an external document)
  • Dynamic URLs

If any of these describe pages on your website then your web pages will probably not achieve a high search engine ranking.

Your website must have a high number of quality links into it

Inbound links to a website play a significant part in determining its position in the search engines. Be aware though, it's not just the quantity, but also the quality and click-through-rate of links to your website which is of importance. To find out more about building up links to your website please read the article, Build up links to your website.


About the author
This article was written by Trenton Moss. He's crazy about web usability and accessibility - so crazy that he went and started his own web usability and accessibility consultancy to help make the Internet a better place for everyone.

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