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SEO – The Complete Comprehensive Guide

A definitive guide on the art of SEO (search engine optimization).

Introduction of SEO (if you are already informed on the basic SEO idea you may decide to skip this)

First let me tell you why SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is so important that i decided to write a full guide about it. In today’s huge internet [...]

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A definitive guide on the art of SEO (search engine optimization).

SEO Optimization

Introduction of SEO (if you are already informed on the basic SEO idea you may decide to skip this)

First let me tell you why SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is so important that i decided to write a full guide about it. In today’s huge internet database of websites it is a true miracle if your website will be on anyone’s rather without you spending a bit of time to carefully craft a nice set of SEO compliant additions to your website. You may have amazing content with loads of great information but unfortunately that information may stay hidden from the World Wide Web unless you follow some basic guidelines. In general basic SEO can easily be achieved by adding a few meta tags, and naming your title tags correctly. By doing that you will make it easier for google/bing to connect you to all the people interested in your content. You will also guarantee people know what they are looking at right away. Well let’s get this party on the road.

The Meta

I recently read an article from Google’s Matt Cutts that explains how meta keywords do not matter to google now even though the keywords are not fully relevant to google’s results this does not mean you shouldn’t include them. Personally I just add very few but to the point keywords, that way even though keywords are not fully vital it helps most search engines figure out what the page/tutorial is about. To include keywords meta in your website add this:

meta name="keywords" content="Web design, blogging, css, html"

Next in the meta family we have the description. This one is actually pretty vital. For the most part google will use this to display it in the google search results for your page. This means that even if google doesn’t use it for placing, simply the benefit of attracting visitors by having a clean and understandable description will yield you benefits of great proportions. To add description to your website use this:

meta name="description" content="A fresh approach to Web Development in all its amazing aspects.
Experienced bloggers, new content, to the point articles."

And then there are some of the less important but not useless meta tags that will help you improve the clarity of your website for spiders (the bots google sends out to research the web for their search):

meta name="author" content="Emory Rowland"

Other Head Elements

Inside the head of your website you will find more than just the meta tags. One of the most important elements in the head is the title. The title is of uttermost importance. It has to be clear and to the point. I can’t express how important it is to have a very clean title.

Something else you should consider is a Canonical Link. This is used when two pages have the same content, this way you use a Canonical Link and the two pages basically become one. This is highly regarded by google and will save you a penalty for duplicate content which is looked down upon by google. Here is how:

Domain name and URL Segments

You wouldn’t think of it knowing that some of the most popular websites today have very random names (google, yahoo, hulu, digg etc) but your domain name matters to google and their search results. I didn’t know this for a long time, and today i am very happy my domain name is WebDevMania, yes it’s not perfect because Web Development Blog may have been better in that respect, i prefer it because its easily written and memorized and still has a keyword or two in it.

Also the url segment is important. For example my blog articles look like this http://webdevmania.com/archive/jquery_for_uttermost_beginners_video/ notice that the title of the article is in the url segment. This will be used by google when people search for something that relates to your url segment.

Content doesn’t come last

You can do the most amazing job at complying with all these SEO standards but if your website contains nothing of value they will not come. You should know what is the niche of your website, what category it falls into, and you should clearly include that subject throughout your website. Provide something new to the internet, but don’t forget to have quality content. Another big wall people hit in the content department is not adding new content, you can have amazing content but if you do not add new stuff your website will be left back in the dust. Give your users new things, be it articles, or whatever your website provides. Keep the users interested, create discussions, forums, etc.

Using the header tags in the right way

Turns out you shouldn’t use the H1 tag for any large text on the page… who woulda thought. I know it’s hard, so next time you build a website, look at some tutorials on proper tag use. The h1 should be used for the main title on the page. For anything else consider using h2. That way when google searches your site it doesn’t see a 100 h1’s and decides the importance of the text is rather minuscule. Also use the paragraph tags for big blocks of text… not to wrap a picture of a kitten so you can float it left.

SiteMaps are vital

Why make google do all the hard work, help google and help yourself. Create a sweet sitemap and give google/bing an opportunity to really get all the pages in your website. You can also add priority ratings for your website items.

Inbound Links

Inbound links are other websites linking back to you. This will for one thing guarantee you more google time, your website will likely be indexed more times. You may think there is other ways of flying into the top million websites in Alexa (traffic ranking website) but there really isn’t. Unless you are twitter and the whole world goes crazy about your website overnight, you will need to develop a network of inbound links. It’s usually a good idea for the inbound links to come from websites in your are of expertise. For example my website needs links from other blogs about web development. Sure having my link on digg helps, but having my link on woork.blogspot.com will help me much more. Inbound link also get you traffic, for example i have a couple inbound links from tutsplus and those are yielding a great return. Also don’t be scared to have link in your website link to all the other pages of your website.

Flash is the enemy

I know it looks great, and it does things html and css don’t do quite yet. But it is not going to be indexed by google. Your navigation will not be looked at at all… so don’t use flash for main page elements.

Avoid the “easy way”

I have seen and heard of a wide range of tools that say they will get you there faster. No they won’t, actually they might get you banned from the search engines for good. So avoid paying companies to submit your website to a bunch of link farms it will only bring you down. Avoid software that will do the same. You can use software to generate sitemaps and you can use software to help you finding the right keywords in your field, but that’s about it.

Have any questions about SEO, ask in the comments, i’ll be glad to help.

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