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SEO Tutorial

Search Engine Optimization Tutorial - "How To SEO"

Search Engine Optimization -- the process of making a site "search engine-friend
ly" also known as "SEO" -- is probably the most important aspect of website desi
gn. Many, many commercial websites are designed and set up by people who know li
ttle or nothing about search engine optimization how to give the search engines
what they need to see when they index your site. This long page contains the inf
ormation (or links to it) that web designers SHOULD know about optimizing a webs
ite for the search engines.
The most important thing to know about search engines is that SEARCH ENGINES ONL
Y INDEX TEXT. Make that your mantra while designing and optimizing your website.
They don't index images well, and they don't index Flash well. Although there a
re some exceptions to that rule, as search engines are becoming more intelligent
and more able to index files such as PDFs and the captions of graphic files, an
d some of the text in a Flash file for all practical purposes just remember that
rule: Search engines only index text and you won't go too far wrong in search e
ngine optimization. (To see what the search engines can index in your Flash file
, go here: search engine indexing of flash files.) For a technical "how to" on o
ptimizing Flash files, see this page from J E Hochman, and for an up-to-date lat
e-2010 summary of the pros and cons of trying to optimize Flash, see this articl
e from WebsiteMagazine. (Note that we use these same techniques when optimizing
Flash sites.)
There are a lot of small things you can do when designing or re-designing a site
to get better rankings in the search engines and every little bit helps in the
end result. There is no one magic thing you can do to get top placement at a sea
rch engine for your website. But you can do a bunch of small things that will ad
d up to excellent placement in the search engines for the key words you select t
hat are relevant to your web pages.
You can and should optimize more than one page of your website for the search en
gines; it's not something you do on just one page and skip doing on the rest of
the site. You can optimize your home page for your single most important keyword
phrase and other pages for different key word phrases. If you sell different pr
oducts on different pages, each page can be optimized for that particular produc
t. That's a good way to organize it. We recommend search engine optimization on
at least a dozen main pages of your site, for the best effect. Don't bother opti
mizing pages on which you do not have public content, or pages such as a "contac
t us" or "privacy policy" or "copyright info" pages. (No one will be searching f
or your copyright info.) The pages you want to optimize are the pages you want p
eople to find those pages with content about your service or product--whatever y
ou are selling.
Note: If you have a database-driven website, there are special concerns. Click h
ere for more info on how to optimize a database-driven site for the search engin
Also Note: If you have a website that is designed using <frames>, there are spec
ial concerns. Click here for more info on optimizing a frames-built website for
the search engines.
If you are designing a site from scratch, see also especially this page: SEO Tec
hniques in Web Design.
Search Engine Optimization Let's get started!
To get a good feel for what is required in optimizing a normal commercial websit
e for the search engines, let's pretend we're creating a website which sells aft
er-market accessories for the "Alfa Romeo Alfetta", a 70's 4-door sports car tha
t provides a snap-your-head-back kind of driving experience. (It is a car with a
small but fanatical base of fans.) Our site will sell floor mats, hood ornament
s, key chains, steering wheels, and so on -- all for the Alfa Romeo Alfetta.

Alfa Romeo Alfetta

Pick a Good Domain Name
This step is not very important - but every little bit helps. For the perfect do
main name match-up in a search engine so that a page of our "Alfa Romeo Alfetta"
website comes up #1 in the search results, the website itself would be best nam
For more info on picking a good domain name for optimum search engine placement,
and what you can do if you already have a domain name that isn't very good in t
his respect, click here. Don't sweat it if you haven't got a great domain name,
you can skip this step. This aspect of search engine optimization doesn't count
for much, just a little.
Back to top of page.
Pick a Good Web Hosting Company
What type of website hosting company do you have? This can be very important to
the search engines. Free website hosting is usually bad for search engine rankin
gs, for several reasons. For a detailed article about how your website hosting c
ompany can affect your rankings in the search engines by Larisa Thomason (Senior
Web Analyst for NetMechanic), click here.
The most important factor is that your website should have its own "static" IP a
ddress. In other words, its numeric IP address should be stable, and not be diff
erent every time someone types in your URL--that's called a "dynamic" IP Address
and is typical of Windows IIS Hosting. Big hosting companies typically use "dyn
amically assigned" IP addresses which work this way: when someone types in your
URL into his browser, the HTTP request is presented to your hosting company's se
rver, which quickly assigns an IP address to your website files on its server an
d connects the visitor to your files. Some search engines don't like this, for v
arious technical reasons.
But more importantly, if your web hosting company has some "bad hats" (spammers
or pornographers or whatever) who have been banned from search engines for good
reason, your site could also be banned "by association" because, to the Search E
ngine your site's IP address looks to be that of the bad hats. In the eyes of th
e search engines it has an identical numeric IP address -- the one that belongs
to your web hosting company.
If you are serious about getting good search engine rankings for your site, you
need to have a static IP address of your own. If you don't know whether you do o
r not, call or email your web hosting company and find out whether your IP addre
ss for your site is static or dynamic. If it a static IP address, they should be
able to tell you exactly what your static numeric IP address is. Find out what
that is. For example, the static numeric IP address for Words in a Row is: 65.38
.173.39. You should be able to substitute your numeric IP address after the "htt
p://______", type that into your browser and go directly to your website.
There's another way to find out if you have a dynamic or static IP address, and
that is to use this tool provided free by Bruce Clay:
Put Your URL to Check in this box:

it will tell you exactly what the numeric IP address of your site is, and a bunc
h of other info about it. Did your site pass the test? If not, contact me and I
will try to advise you what to do to fix the problem.
You can also "ping" a website to find out the IP address being used. For example
, if you open a DOS command prompt window on your Windows PC, you can type the f
and it will return the IP address of You can ping any website, get
its IP address, and try to reach it through HTTP:// at that IP address. If it h
as a static, dedicated IP address, you'll get to the website. If not (and that's
usually the case) you'll either get a different website, or a generic message f
rom the server saying that there's no website configured at that address.
Now take the numeric IP address from that report and type it in your browser aft
er typing "http://" don't put in "www" just type the four numbers after the "htt
p://" if it returns a "404 page not found" or some site other than yours! -- you
have a dynamic IP address. If your site shows up in your browser, then that fou
r-part number is your static IP address. (Many thanks to Bruce Clay for providin
g this tool!)
We like the website hosting from Data393 for many reasons - one of them is that
they will set up hosted websites on their server with static IP addresses. If yo
ur hosting company does not offer static IP addresses, my advice is that you sho
uld change web hosting companies. Data393 is a good choice but not your only cho
ice -- you could also use Verio or many others. In 2010, even Godaddy.com offers
cheap hosting with a dedicated static IP address for an extra $3.00/month. WebW
izards.net also offers inexpensive hosting and a dedicated static IP address. Wo
rds in a Row also offers hosting, but only to our marketing or web design client
Unless you are locked into a proprietary shopping cart or content management sys
tem, it is not usually very difficult or expensive to move your site from one ho
sting company to another. Just make sure your new hosting company gives you a st
atic IP address and that your site passes through the Bruce Clay analysis tool (
the form above) without any problems.
In our experience, with all other factors being equal, the site with its own sta
tic IP address will rise to the top at the search engines over those with dynami
c IP addresses. This is something your hosting company may dispute--especially i
f they don't provide static IP addresses. Approximately 97% of all IP addresses
on the web are dynamically assigned, so do not be surprised if your site has a d
ynamic IP address when you check it.
Here's a blog post from BruceClay.com about their tests of static vs. dynamic IP
addresses to see if they really make a difference in search engine rankings.
Here's an article from Michael Banks Valentine of About.com, about "Playing Hide
and Seek with Search Engines". It explains in detail some of the ways your serv
er setup can make your site a problem in the search engines.
Back to top of page.
Figure Out Your Key Word Phrases
Your next step should be to do some homework and figure out what your key word p
hrases should be for your website pages. You need to make a short list of 1 or 2
key word phrases for each page of the site you want to optimize. Each phrase sh
ould be no more than three or four words. It is okay if the same words are in mo
re than one key word phrase, and it is okay if some of the pages overlap their k
eyword phrases.
For each page you should wind up with a list of no more than two key word phrase
s, each less than three or four words long. Longer phrases are less effective. S
ingle words are often useless. The word "Software" for example, is ignored by ma
ny search engines - it is what they call a "stop" word, like "the" or "a" - they
just ignore it when you search for it, unless you put it inside quotation marks
or otherwise make it clear it is part of your search.
For more info about picking the right key word phrases for your website, click h
ere. There are several tools that will help you pick the right keywords. One gre
at free tool is the Google External Keyword Tool.
Back to top of page.
Set up your Meta Tags
There are several "tags" that go into the HTML code for a page of a website. The
se tags are placed between the <HEAD> and </HEAD>. These are invisible to the av
erage person browsing the site but are used by the search engines when they come
crawling through your site and index the pages--a process called "spidering". T
hese tags should be present on every page of the website. The most important tag
s are:
The <title> tag
and the "description" <meta> tag.
The "keyword" <meta> tag used to be important but is basically useless now.
Back to top of page.
Set up your <Title> Tag
Our site would contain a <title> tag like this:
<title>Alfa Romeo Alfetta Accessories</title>
What we put in here is based on the key word phrases we figured out above. It sh
ould contain our main key word phrase, "Alfa Romeo Alfetta" at least once. It sh
ouldn't contain more than 60 characters. In fact, if you can make it seven words
or less (discounting words like "and" and "for", which the search engines ignor
e anyway) you're better off.
The <title> tag must contain the main keyword phrase for which you are optimizin
g that page. Google in particular places heavy emphasis on what is in your page'
s <title> tag. So does Bing.
Back to top of page.
Set up your Meta Keyword Tag
The <meta> keyword tag will contain our key word phrases for the specific page w
e are on:
<meta name="keywords" content="Alfa Romeo Alfetta, automobile accessories, after
market, hood ornaments, floor mats, auto parts, blah, blah, blah">
Don't make this more than about 250 characters long. Don't use the same key word
more than twice in it. Vary the capitalization. Don't use all capital letters u
nless the word is an acronym, like "SEO", which is short for Search Engine Optim
ization. Don't use words in it that don't show up in the body text on the page.
In practical terms, you can delete this keywords meta tag without any consequenc
e. Better not to have a keywords meta tag than one that is filled with keywords
that don't show up on your pages; it can count against you!
Note: Don't obsess about the keywords tag. It is mostly disregarded nowadays due
to abuse by people stuffing keywords that didn't belong into it. You can almost
skip it entirely.
Back to top of page.
Set up your Meta Description Tag
The <meta> description tag is a description of the page. It should contain our k
ey word phrases for the specific page we are on:
<meta name="description" content="Alfa Romeo Alfetta accessories, blah, blah, bl
This tag should describe the specific page it is on, not the whole website. This
is the description of the page that shows up at the search engine when someone
is lucky enough to find this page in a search. Don't make the description more t
han about 200 characters long. Make it descriptive, and make sure it contains yo
ur key word phrases!
We won't repeat individual key words more than twice in any one meta tag because
that can get a site banned from a search engines for something called "spamdexi
ng", which is "spamming" the index of a search engine. It's also known as "keywo
rd stuffing"; don't do it! For more info on how to avoid spamming the search eng
ines, click here.
Note: The description meta tag should include a call to action, such as "Call fo
r a free consultation" or "Click here for a discount coupon" or something else t
o make it stand out, so people click on it when your listing does show up in the
search engine results.
Back to top of page.
Put Key Words in Headings
Back to our Alfa Romeo Alfetta site: It will have "headings" like the one at the
top of this section. It was created using heading tags that look like this: <H2
>Put Key Words in Headings</H2>.
These "headings" make your browser display the text larger and set it aside from
the rest of the text, on its own line. Search engines will look for and index o
ur headings when they index the pages on our site, so our headings should ALSO c
ontain the main key word phrases for our site, like this:
<h1>Alfa Romeo Alfetta</h1>
<h2>Alfa Romeo Alfetta - Hood Ornaments</h2>
<h2>Alfa Romeo Alfetta - Maintenance Manuals</h2>
<h2>Alfa Romeo Alfetta - Floor Mats</h2>
and so on through as many headings (in this case our products for sale) as we ca
n think of that we want to include on that page.
Headings like that are weighted heavily in the search engines -- many of them us
e a formula that LIKES the key words in headings more than elsewhere in the site
. Don't neglect these. Use them to set off areas of text, in the same way this p
age you are reading is divided up by headings.
Note: Some people detest using headings because they tend to be big clunky eleme
nts in web designs, and they can add a lot of space down the page. You can easil
y bypass this using a simple inline style command, like this:
<H1 style="margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 12px;">This will make a small heading
with no space after it!</H1>
Back to top of page.
H1 headings should be used for branding of your site. H2 tags should be used for
keywords, to help outline what's on the page visually. Don't use more than one
H1 tag on a page.
Use Key Words in Your Text
Our optimized page would contain TEXT of at least 250 words, with the key word p
hrase "Alfa Romeo Alfetta" occurring several times near the beginning of the tex
t. If a page doesn't contain at least 250 words, some search engines won't bothe
r to index it. It's preferable to have 500 words or more if possible, on a page.
You'll get better results from the search engines if you have more text.
It also seems to help to put the key word phrase near the end of the text, too.
Search engines use a factor called "key word density" to determine how relevant
that key word you're using is to the page. If it shows up a few times in the tex
t, it is more "dense". Key word density is a good thing, up to a certain point.
The main thing is to make sure you have some text that describes what you do or
what you're selling - that makes your page a resource worth indexing.
In the HTML code for the page, the text should be as close to the beginning of t
he page as possible, because there is a limit to how far down into a page a sear
ch engine spider will go to try to find text. It is generally agreed that this i
s 3kb. That's only about 80-100 lines of code! So make sure your text comes befo
re some really long JavaScript menu in the code for the page, or else the search
engine won't make it far enough into the page to index the text. They'll never
see the text if it is buried way down at the end of the code.
There's a trick of the <table> one can use to keep your menu bar on the left sid
e of the page (where most people put a navigation menu) and still have the text
of the page come first in the code. Normally to display to the left, the nav bar
has to come first in the code. But not if you use this table trick. Of course i
f you use HTML/CSS only (no tables) then you won't need the table trick.
Back to top of page.
Put Key Words in Alt Tags

Pictures on a website can and should contain a little text description that only
shows up when you move your mouse over the picture. That little description is
called an "ALT tag" ("ALT" is short for "alternate"). Hold your mouse over the p
icture on the right for a couple of seconds and your browser will display the AL
T tag for the picture in most browsers.
Some search engines index those ALT tags, so we will make sure we label every pi
cture with an ALT tag--every last picture. Wherever it is possible and appropria
te, each ALT tag will contain our main key word phrase "Alfa Romeo Alfetta".
Note: Some people surf with "pictures" turned off, to speed up their browsing. T
he visually handicapped also use the ALT tags to "see" what's on a picture--ther
e is special software for the blind which reads aloud to the person what's on th
e page. If there are no alt tags, the pictures are invisible to them, so it is w
orthwhile to put an alt tag on every picture. If you can appropriately place som
e key words in those alt tags, so much the better.
This article by Robin Nobles quotes SEO researcher Jerry West's research showing
that the alt tag is not used by the main search engines at all. My own research
tells me that alt tags are only a small part of what the search engines do look
at. Even so, I still recommend that you put alt tags on all images (because tha
t is one thing needed to make your HTML code "valid", and that you put keywords
in the alt tags of any images that you use as links where using keywords would b
e appropriate in helping to describe the image to someone who cannot view the im
age (i.e., someone who is visually impaired or who is using a text only browser)
. My research shows that some search engines do use those alt tags describing th
e image used as a link to determine what the page they point to is about.
Keep image names real, don't stuff keywords into them. You need to have an alt t
ag on every image (in order to have valid HTML code), but page design element im
ages (such as lines, color blocks, etc.) should just have an empty alt tag, like
this: alt="". Also, if you give design elements names that are just numbers, su
ch as 1.jpg, 2.jpg, etc., Google won't bother indexing them, and they won't dilu
te the importance of images that you DO want Google to index, such as your produ
ct images. Don't use numbers as the names of product images if you want Google t
o index them. Try to use keyword-rich image names and alt tags, of any image tha
t you want Google to index.
Back to top of page.
Put Key Words in Anchor Tags
Hypertext links on your site usually look something like this:
<a href="floor-mats.html">. Those are called "anchor tags" that's what the "a" s
tands for. You can put some other information in there, which will show up when
one mouses over the link. It would look like this:
Sample Anchor Tag:
<a href="blah.html" title="Alfa Romeo Alfetta floor mats"> Alfa Romeo Floor Mats
-- if the link points to the floor-mats.html page. When someone mouses over the
link, they will see what you put in the title. These "titles" for the anchor tag
s get indexed by the search engines. Every little bit helps! Make sure the words
that you wrap the anchor tag around are keywords, too, whenever possible.
Back to top of page.
Is a Robots Tag Necessary?
In our experience, a Robots meta tag with instructions to index and follow the l
inks on the page is simply ignored by the search engines. You can safely omit th
e robots tag if that's all you have been using it for. In the old days of the ne
t (a few years ago) you would have put this tag in the head of your document:
<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
It might have done some good a few years back - in today's world it can safely b
e omitted.
The robots meta tag is more useful for pages you do not want indexed. If you don
't want a page to be indexed -- such as a test page, or a page you put up for yo
ur own use, then put this robots tag in the head of your document:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
That will keep the page out of the search engines that recognize and follow thes
e tags. Of course, to actually prevent the page from being indexed by the search
engines, you need to add the page name to the robots.txt file as one of the dis
allowed files. A robots meta tag is not enough to prevent the page from being in
dexed by some of the search engines that ignore them completely.
Back to top of page.
Use a robots.txt file
Make an empty file. Name it "robots.txt". Put it in the root directory of your s
erver; usually this is the same directory where your index.html file is kept. (B
ut not always - sometimes your index.html file is in a sub-directory. In which c
ase, make sure you have a copy of the robots.txt file in the root directory - us
ually the root directory is as high as you can go in the directory tree on your
While it is possible to set up a "robots.txt" file to exclude some or all of the
search engine robots, what you probably want it to do is to allow every robot t
hat comes along to index your site. If you do want to exclude specific robots fr
om indexing certain directories or certain files, you will have to put some comm
ands into the robots.txt file. For more info than you probably want about the us
e of the "robots.txt" file, go here. If you want every robot to be able to index
your site, just leave the robots.txt file completely empty but make sure it is
Experience has taught me that on some servers, it is wisest to put something in
that robots.txt file and put it in both the root directory and in the directory
where your index.html file is located. This text works inside the robots.txt fil
e, to allow robots to access everything except what is noted:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /tmp/
Disallow: /private/
That example lets the robots coming to your site index everything except what is
in your cgi-bin directory, your tmp directory, and your private directory.
To see the robots.txt file in place on Words in a Row, click here
Here is an article called "Search Engine Spiders lost without Guidance" by Mike
Banks Valentine, which covers in detail many aspects of creating a robots.txt fi
You can validate your existing robots.txt file using this robots.txt validator t
ool from searchengineworld.com.
Note: You should have a line in your robots.txt file that says where your sitema
p.xml file is. That line looks like this, on my site:
Sitemap: http://www.wordsinarow.com/sitemap.xml
You'll want to put your own domain name in there, of course.
Note: If you have a huge site, you may need more than one sitemap.xml file to li
st all the pages of your site in it. Here's an explanation of how to set up a si
temap index
Back to top of page.
Validate your HTML code.
Everybody knows that robots, in general, are not too smart. The search engine ro
bots which gather information from your site can really only do two things: 1. R
ead text. 2. Follow links. That's all.
These days, modern browsers are much, much smarter than robots. So while you may
be able to look at a page using the latest version of Firefox, Safari, Google C
hrome, or Internet Explorer, the search engine robots are too dumb to see anythi
ng at all if there is a big error in your HTML code. If you have an unclosed HTM
L tag - for example if you have complicated nested tables, any of which aren't c
losed -- then that may be the point where the search engine robot gives up tryin
g to read your site. To validate your site, use this link: http://validator.w3.o
rg/. This will tell you where your HTML code is "busted" and needs to be fixed s
o you don't confuse the search engine robots. There's plenty of advice there on
how to make your HTML code validate. If you or your webmaster can't figure out h
ow to make your HTML code valid, we can help with that. Note: this page you're l
ooking at right now has valid HTML code.
Click this button to validate now!
Back to top of page.
Register by Hand with the Search Engines and Directories.
As soon as the website is finished and up on the web, it should be submitted to
(registered with) the search engines (like Google and MSN) and directories (like
Yahoo! and the ODP). Most of these are free -- some of them charge up to $300 f
or submitting your website. Don't scrimp here. If people can't find your site it
is doomed.
There are several programs that can automate this process for you -- but we don'
t recommend them because, in our experience, they do not get as good of results
as you get when you register your website by hand.
We've set up a page to make it easy to register with the search engines and dire
ctories by hand, here.
Here's a website that offers a service to get your site listed in 300 small dire
ctories, for $450. It's a fair amount of work to get all these inbound links. Yo
u can do it yourself, but your site will definitely need links to do well in the
search engines.
Then it will take some time (expect it to take several months) for the search en
gines to actually index and begin listing our site. Some of them only take a day
or two, others take months. We have to be patient. But eventually we would be h
ighly placed in a search for "Alfa Romeo Alfetta", on the first page of the sear
ch results in most of the search engines. We could expect to be the first result
on some of them for our keyword search for our keywords, "Alfa Romeo Alfetta"!
Register in the Search Engines
Here's where to go to register with the main search engines:
Register my website at Google
Register my website at Yahoo
Register my website at Bing
Back to top of page.
Don't Neglect The Little Things
What are the three most often neglected opportunities for getting better ranking
s in the search engines? Click here to find out.
Get Links Pointing To Your Site
After our website is created and put up on a server and registered with the sear
ch engines, we would then go out and find as many other websites as possible tha
t might have an interest in linking from their site to ours, contact them and co
nvince them to set up such links. We might have to offer reciprocal links back t
o their sites in order to convince them. There's no harm in that, you WANT lots
of links from your site to other sites--that's one easily-provided free service
you can give away.
Here's some good advice from About.com on the subject of "How to Request Links".
Don't bother with the Free For All Links pages. FFA links pages don't work, and
no one actually uses them. You want websites that are similar to yours, or which
provide related services, or which contain specialty listings or directories of
your type of business.
The rule is: The more links there are to our site, the more relevance it will ha
ve in some search engine results and the better placement it will get. A lone we
bsite with no links to it is a sad thing. It has no friends. Get plenty of links
to your site. Ten links to your site is a good start. A thousand wouldn't be to
o many.
To see which sites are currently linked to your site, go to Google and type in y
our domain name like this:
Of course, you'd substitute your actual domain name instead of mydomainnamehere.
Then click on the link to "Find web pages that contain the term 'mydomainnameher
e.com'." That will give a list of websites that Google shows linking to yours. [
Note that the Google toolbar's "backlinks" function is broken and has been for a
few years it gives incorrect results.]
MarketLeap's link analysis tool lets you put in your URL and find out the number
of links to your site that are being reported by Google, Hotbot, Yahoo, AOL and
MSN all at once.
We list several places to get inbound links on our page covering how to get link
Here is a helpful article on how to get worthwhile in-bound links, SEO One-way W
eb Links: 5 Strategies, by Joel Walsh.
Back to top of page.
Page Rank and Links
Page rank is Google's way of measuring your rank in terms of links to your site
from other sites, based on both quantity and quality. Google page rank varies fr
om 0 (terrible) to 10 (ideal). If you have lots of links from sites with low pag
e ranks, they will mean very little to your page rank, whereas even a few links
from other sites with good page ranks can make a difference. That doesn't mean y
ou should cancel existing links -- they still have value.
Your page rank is a good indicator of how your link campaign is going. You want
to be at 5 or above. Here is a link to a free page rank tool that tells you any
URL's page rank across all the Google data centers.
Having a good page rank at Google is great, as it will help you place above simi
lar sites at Google (page rank is likely a strong part of the algorithm that dec
ides placement when other factors are equal). However, we recommend you track it
primarily because the factors that Google tracks as part of your page rank are
universal. Improving your page rank will improve your entire web presence, in ad
dition to your placement at Google.
Underhanded sites can now fake their page rank (that displays in the Google Tool
bar). So, if a site with a great PageRank contacts you about trading links, we r
ecommend checking their actual PageRank as part of your standard actions. Use th
is page rank fraud detection tool from SEO Logs. The tool works by telling you t
he correct page rank for the site that you input, so whatever it displays is the
real page rank, regardless of what displays in the Google Toolbar when you brow
se to that site.
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Disclaimer: While SEO is very important in order to get visitors coming to your
site from the search engines, it is not the only thing you should be doing to ge
t traffic to your site. Here's an excellent article about some of the other impo
rtant avenues to use to get visitors to your site.
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SEO Tutorial - Summary
In a perfect world, no other site could receive higher placement in a search for
"Alfa Romeo Alfetta" unless the designer of it did exactly as we have done abov
e, only more of it! In THIS not-too-perfect world, our website might get dropped
out of a search engine for no good reason because of human error or a glitch in
a program somewhere. Murphy's Laws can't be avoided, even on the web. Or anothe
r site that should get kicked out of the search engine for "spamdexing" might no
t get kicked out. (You've seen this kind of thing when you do a search and the s
ame site comes up 50 times in the first 60 results, obscuring all the other rele
vant sites.)
For help in optimizing your website for the search engines, contact us. It's our
specialty and a niche we fell into because too many website designers have not
studied up on how the search engines work.
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"Yeah, But Does It Work?"
By now you might be thinking, "Does all this stuff really help, in the long run?
" or "Is all this really necessary?"
Using these techniques we have gotten top placement at Google for our client, Mi
ami Condo Lifestyle, for the highly competitive keywords "miami condos".
To give you an example of the relevance of headings containing keywords, on the
Chandler's Natural Soaps website there is a glossary in which each ingredient of
the soaps is defined within a specially created <h2> heading tag.
The Chandler's Soaps site routinely gets visitors looking for a specific ingredi
ent, even though that ingredient may be mentioned only a few times in the whole
website. Putting key words into headings brings in traffic to the site.
The way this works is that a person searching through Yahoo! (or any search engi
ne) for a particular ingredient (like the herb "chamomile") sees our page come u
p in the search results and sees that our page is in a website featuring natural
handmade soaps. She may not be looking for soap at all, but if she is curious o
r it sparks her interest, she'll visit the site anyway and maybe buy something.
It's a form of impulse shopping via the web. It's human nature to get distracted
during a search for something specific by something related that looks appealin
g. (Witness the success of all the shopping malls out there with stores feeding
off of each other's customers.)
Also note that we optimized the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild website, and it usu
ally ranks at #1 at Google for the phrase, "handcrafted soaps" - click that link
to see where they rank today.
Read our search engine optimization client testimonials for more info about how
Search Engine Optimization might help you.
Want more proof? This page you are looking at right now often ranks #1 at Google
for the term "search engine optimization tutorial". Click that link to see how
this page you are looking at ranks today at Google.
So -- Yes, all this stuff works! And yes, it is necessary to use as much of it a
s possible. These are the guidelines we use when designing a website to optimize
it for the search engines. And no, despite the length of this page, this is NOT
a complete listing of all the factors that go into optimizing a website for the
search engines, only the most important ones.
To make it even more confusing, all of the search engines do things a little dif
ferently, one to another.
Thanks for reading all this. We hope that it will help you design (or re-design)
your website to optimize it for the search engines. If you need help doing that
, you can contact us here. SEO is our specialty.
There's a lot more that can be done to effectively optimize a commercial website
in a very competitive market; not every SEO technique is listed here, just the
basics that we try to use on every site we optimize.
Those of our competitors who read this information and are savvy enough to apply
it well are welcome to it! Good luck!
Return to Top of Page.
Summary: How to optimize a website to get the best possible placement in the sea
rch engines and directories.
Figure out your key word phrases.
Pick a good domain name based on those key words.
Pick a good web hosting company so you don't get banned from search engines.
Put those key words in the <Title> of your pages.
Put them in the <Meta keyword=> tag on your pages.
Put them in the <Meta description=> tag on your pages.
Put them in the Text on your pages.
Put at least 250 words of Text on any page you want indexed well.
Use the Table Trick if needed to keep your Text near the top of code for the pag
Use your key word phrases in Headings on your pages.
Use your key word phrases in Alt Tags on your images.
Use your key word phrases in titles for your <A href> tags.
Don't neglect the little things.
Is a <Meta robots=> tag necessary?
Use a "robots.txt" file.
Validate your html code.
Register with the directories, by hand.
Get Links from other websites to yours.
Does it Work?
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Unsolicited Testimonial:
"I would like to say thank you for providing such great information. I recently
opened an e-tail business, and realized that my site had not been submitted prop
erly or optimized at all. I did not know how to do this myself, and did not have
the funds to pay someone else. I used the knowledge gained from your site and a
m now in the top 5 listings on some engines, and in the top 10 on others. Thank
you so much for giving such great information in order to help others be success
Use these articles to confirm what we tell you on the Words in a Row website.
Search Engine Optimization Articles:
Google Advice to Webmasters about SEO
Glossary of SEO terms
An SEO checklist for small business by Daria Goetsch
Unsolicited Testimonial:
"... I checked on Google this morning, and I'm on the first page for two of my m
ain search terms. Looking through my order book, there is a huge increase in ord
ers since you did the [search engine optimization of my] site. March was a very
slow month in my store, but the internet orders made up for the slump."
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