Every website needs to woo search engines like Google and Yahoo. But forget boxes of chocolates, flowers and expensive dinner dates, search engines are only interested in one thing…optimisation.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art of courting search engines. Yes, they can be the most elusive of prospects. But don’t get yourself into a hot flush; there are plenty of ways to win search engine love. So here’s our quick and easy guide to becoming a true search engine aficionado.
Speak the language of love
How do you charm a search engine? Well, you can’t just whisper sweet little nothings in its ear – that won’t work. Instead, search engines coo to the tones of something called metadata, and thankfully this sliver-tongued art is relatively easy to master.
Metadata appears at the top of a HTML page (in between the <head> and </head> tags), and its here that the keywords, which can melt search engine hearts, reside. Simplicity dictates that keywords should be relevant to your site’s name (as seen in the URL), theme and purpose. But, as so often in affairs of the heart, things can get complicated. So here are some handy SEO tips for keywords:
1) Firstly, establish which words people use when searching for your type of site.
2) Try to use keywords your competitors haven’t used.
3) Think about whether your site has a unique niche which it can exploit, such as a service or location.
4) Remember, people aren’t machines – they type all sorts of phrases when searching online, so it pays to think creatively.
5) Also, use keywords for your link text – never use ‘click here’.
Create the right impression on dates
Search engines rank sites by periodically assessing their content. This is kind of like an infinitely recurring first date, so your site needs to spruce up for every fresh encounter. Search engines hate dates when the conversation dries up, or becomes repetitive. That’s why you should never duplicate your site content from another site. Always create original material and endeavor to create fresh content as often as possible (at least once a month).
It can be tacky, but let’s face it – sometimes you need to splash the cash, and search engines are very easily impressed by a big spender who picks up the bill on a date. So make sure you buy all the available Top Level Domain (TLD) extensions (i.e., .com, .co.uk, .biz, .info) for your brand name. But just for good measure, here are a few more FREE ways to serenade search engines:
1) Use unique and relevant titles on every page of your site.
2) Validate your sites, so spiders can crawl through faster.
3) Keep your pages under 1 kilobyte.
Hopefully this post will help you along the often rocky road to search engine romance. Please let us know if you’ve got any SEO tips you’d like to share with your fellow readers. In the meantime, good luck with setting those search engine hearts all aflutter.