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Optimize My Stuff and Junk

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Day 2 of the 30 Day Challenge

One of the most important things that you can do for your site is implementing a good SEO strategy. Whether you are a designer, developer or both, you should have a good understanding of SEO and how to make it work for your site.

With out getting into the history of SEO, I want to give you a brief overview. First off, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. What does this mean? In short its how you as a web professional translate the content of your site to search engines.

How does this work? The search engine sends out something called a “spider” (aka bot or robot) who will crawl your site (if the spider knows about it) and take the information that they can read back to their search engine. At this point your web page would be considered “indexed” in the search engine. Once your site is indexed then there are many factors that will go into what position you will show up in depending on the keyword that is typed into the search engine.

Whats a good strategy to follow? The first thing to know about SEO is that “Content is King”. Don’t try to chase algorithm changes in Google or Bing. Your time will be more productive if you concentrate on keeping good and relevant content on your site. Have good content and change it often. Good SEO will get people to your site but good content will keep them there and coming back.

Do your keyword research. Find out what people are searching for in your industry and integrate these into your content. The key word here is integrate not shoe-horn. Spammy content will just frustrate and confuse your visitors.

There are many gems that can come out of your keyword research. Imagine you run a ticketing website that does well for the Keyword “Bob Dylan Tickets”. You are doing your keyword research and notice that a lot of people are searching for Bob Dylan tickets in Minnesota. You can optimize your Bob Dylan page for Minnesota but that would change your rankings for your Bob Dylan results. Instead if you create a Bob Dylan Minnesota page with information specifically about the venues and performances by Dylan in Minnesota. This will allow you to keep your good standings in “Bob Dylan Tickets” results as well as getting you another page in the results that targeted that large demographic of visitors. A caveat to this is that you would want to use this sparingly. Too much of this and your content can become unmanageable.

Take a look at your site and analyze your content and other items that can factor into your SEO. I have broken up the factors for SEO into 3 different areas. On Page, Off Page and On Site. Here is a brief list. I will expand on each of these in my up coming posts. On Page Factors

These are elements on your web page that will affect you organic search position:

Title Tag
The most important element of on page to spiders. Put your most important keywords in the title tag. Put your most important one first.
Meta Tags
Not much weight, if any, is given to these anymore, but they are important for showing the description that you want shown in your search engine results. Keyword and Description meta tags are the main ones to focus on.
Heading tags
This is second to the title tag as the most important element on the page. H1 being the most important and H6 being the least. You want to stick with one H1 tag with your most important key terms in them. You can have multiple H2 -H6’s but you want to keep this to a minimum because it can be viewed as spamming and will dilute your page weight.
Inter Linking
See On Site Factors
Link Density
You want to keep the links on your pages to a maximum 100. Anything after 100 links that a bot sees on your site will be ignored
Formatting tags
Formatting tags like the `strong`, `em`, and heading tags will make the content that is in them look more important to spiders.
Keyword Density
The more of a keyword phrase you have on your page the better it will rank for that term. You don’t want to overdo it because that will end up looking like spam. You want to keep it spread out throughout the page and slightly vary it in places.
Keyword Position
The content that is higher on the page will be looked at as more important than content that is lower on the page.

On Site Factors

These are elements that are in your site but not necessarily on any page:

text file that is in the root of your site that tells bots where they can and cant go on the site.
Site Map
Usually and XML file that has all of the files in your site listed. Tells search engines about your content and makes it easier for them to index your content. You usually have to upload this via a Web Master interface for each search engine.
Inter Linking
You want to link your pages together so that when one page get crawled the spider can more easily have access to the rest of the pages on your site instead of hitting a dead end.

Keep important information at least 4 clicks deep, no more. Closer to the root the better. Keep shorter URLs for friendlier crawling

Off Page Factors

Links to your site
This is the most important off page factor. Search engines factor how important you site is based on how many people are linking to you. The more the better. The anchor text of these incoming links will also affect your site. The anchor text will add to how your site is seen by Google. EX: Some one links to with the anchor text of “Cool Design Site” . Google will then increase the positioning of for the search term “Cool Design Site”

Put on the Northface and have adventurez!