SEO (search engine optimisation):

Here are some of the basics of search engine optimisation (SEO) site building, that I have picked up over that past two years. Over time I will add more advance details of SEO with links to good SEO sites and tools.

First start at the top page, the section that's not visible to the user META tags. These tags are read by the robots that index your site, i.e. Google bot. The first tag is <meta name="keywords" content=""/> here you need to enter keywords that your page is about, so if your site is about loans you would enter <meta name="keywords" content="loan,loans,personal loan"/>. Note each keyword is sepeated by a comma, you should not overkill the number of keywords per page. Best to keep it to about six or seven keywords per page. Once you have entered the required keywords for your page you then need to include those keywords within the copy (page text). It's best to have about 12% of the keywords listed within the page copy to gain good listings.

The next step is to add a description tag (META tag), this will tell the search engine what the page is about. This is the text displayed within the search results, next to the link to the page. You can if you wish not add the tag or have a blank value for the tag. If you do leave the tag blank or not add one to the page, the search engine will generate it's own description of the search results. This can be random sections of the page, so it's best to add some description so you can try and invite people to your site. This is the tag <meta name="description" content=""/>, you can put this before or after the keywords tag.

Note all meta tags should be placed between the html head tags, so look for <head> and </head> and add the tags between these two tags (if they don't exist).

Still staying within the head tags, look for the title tags. This is the tag that displays text within the browser tab (and top left bar) for example for this page you should see Garry Pritchard: SEO. So just add or edit the tag section <title> </title>, with a short description of the page for example <title>Contact us</title>.

Note the title tage, keywords and description tags should all have related text. So if the page is about loans all three tags should contain the word loan or loans.

Now we have the basic tags of the page set-up, we now need to move onto the copy of the page, this is the text visible to the end user.

The first tag within the body tag section should be the h1 tag, this should be high up within the page. This tag again should contain one of the keywords listed within the meta keywords tag (and the other tags title & description). So within this page the h1 tag contains the text "SEO (search engine optimisation):", just look for and edit <h1> </h1> (or just add it to the page). You main keyword needs to be within this tag, and the page should only contain one h1 tag per page. If you have other keywords use the other h tags, like h2, h3 etc. You can use CSS code to style the h tags so they look the same, such as colour, style and size.

The text of the page should contain about 12% of the keywords entered into the meta keywords tag. The text should be between the paragraph tags <p> </p>. Once you have done, you now need to turn to the HTML code and the standards set by the w3c.

What you need to do now is check that your HTML code and CSS code is compliant, the more complient the code and the more the website passes the accesssiblity guide lines. The more the search engines like it, and you should see improvement in your search rankings. To test your site, to see if it passes the w3c standards copy your URL into the online validation tool or upload your HTML. Click this link for the w3c online validation

HTML has serveral types of doctypes i.e. XHTML strict, transitional etc. If you can set your HTML to be XHTML strict and check your page passes the w3c validation, over time this should help to improve your search rankings.

More to come soon...