SEO Basics for Better Sites and Happier Webmasters

SEO for Webmasters – Mini-Series PART 1

When webmasters are not familiar with search engine optimization basics, they could lose their focus and start getting scared of the Google zoo where the much-feared Panda and Penguin romp around.

Panda and Penguin are simply cute nicknames for two search engine algorithms that were developed and are continuously updated and refreshed by Google. Algorithms are vital for determining which websites are the most relevant to any given search term that is being looked up.

For example, a web surfer searches for the word “banana.” There are so many sites devoted to this search term, and obviously, not all of them are about the same thing. There are sites about the fruit, recipes, calories, a clothing brand, a movie… the list could be tremendous.

Algorithms calculate which sites to display based on numerous factors, to come up with the ones most relevant to the query. Relevancy is determined by having search engine robots crawl, index, and understand millions of sites, looking for indicators within each site that show what any given site is all about.

Search Engine Optimization Basics

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is all about making adjustments on your site so that your User experience will be positive and relevant. SEO is not about fooling search engines so that your site will rank high up on the SERP.

SEO is about giving the User with a site that properly answers their needs related to a search that they have made. That’s the most basic thing to remember about SEO because when User experience is positive, it means that the site is relevant and the site’s performance in organic search results will improve. Organic means non-paid placements in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Basic SEO Steps to Take to Improve Your Site

These steps are very simple but powerful. Follow these steps and see a world of improvement!

• Use unique and accurately descriptive page titles. For example, if your site is all about Haircuts of the 1950s, your page title should not be something like: This is My Site! Haircuts FTW! Instead, you can use something like Fashionable 1950s Retro Haircuts – What’s Hot Even Now!
• Make the best use of SEO Meta Tags, especially the “description” meta tag. This part should summarize what your site is about: Retro Hair Fashion. See the fashionable 1950s haircuts that never lose appeal.” Avoid using a template description for each page of your site.
• Spiders no longer give weight to the “keyword” meta tags for SEO, so don’t waste time stuffing keywords in it. You will just be lowering the value of your site in the eyes of the search engines.
• Make your URL structure easy to understand by both human Users and search spiders. This not a good URL structure:
This is a good URL structure:
• Make your site easy to navigate for Users. Make a site map that the spider can review and follow. Your directory structure should be logical and start from your homepage.
• Use text for navigation. While Flash and Javascript may look good, it does not do much for search purposes. You can use CSS in their place to improve site design.
• Have a useful 404 page. Show options on how to get back on track.
• Create good content. Only use fresh, original content. Always. No exception. If you must quote from other sites, give proper attribution. When you use keywords, let them blend in naturally with the rest of the text. Do not cram or stuff keywords at the start and near the end of your pages.
• Use a variety of anchor text for Internal Links. Do not spam your own site by using only one keyword as anchor text.
• Optimize your images by using the alt attribute properly. Use short, descriptive filenames and alt text.
• Use Heading tags properly. Think of headings as outlines within your pages. Don’t overuse them.