10 Most Useful SEO Techniques For Your Website :
This post tells you how search engines work and how to make search engines work for you.
Search Engine Optimation (SEO) is a set of techniques that allow you to make your websites rank higher on search engines. Search engines follow a specific set of rules to rank websites on their search results for various keywords.
SEO allows us to promote our websites via search engines for free. Search Engines are the greatest source of traffic for a website and since there are many competitors for every single keyword, optimizing your website for search engines is extremely important and useful.
Before going into SEO, let’s first look at how a search engine works. Note that through out this guide, the terms “search engine” and “google” will be used exchangably. But all search engines – including Google, Bing & Yahoo – work on the basis of the basic procedure:
Step 1 : Crawling & Indexing
Search Engines create programs called spiders/crawlers/search bots/search robots which are like an army sent to find web pages from all over the internet. So how do spiders work? The Search Engine Index is a list of websites that are already on the search engine.
For instance, The Google Index would have all the pages or websites that show up in Google Search. The spider are sent on all these websites periodically to check for new links. On finding new links, they crawl through the new links and index them as well. This process continues until no more links are left to be indexed.
Note – This is why it is important to build links to be listed on a search engine.(a major part of off-page search engine optimization which we would be defining soon) Let’s say you start your own blog with your own domain name and write your first post. If you post this new post on your Facebook wall – there are very high chances that a spider would index your page – since Facebook.com is already in the Google Index, a spider sent on Facebook will find and crawl though the link on your Facebook Wall. It will then index your page on Google!
Sounds simple? Not yet. Indexing is not the only thing you should worry about – your greatest interest is Ranking – the third step that search engines follow.
Step 2 : Ranking
Once the website information and links have been received from the spider for indexing on the search engine, the search engine ranks the website based on individual keywords and positions it on the search results accordingly. Remember seeing a million results for a keyword you searched on Gooooooooooooo……gle? This is where the real SEO comes in – to decide which position the result shows up on.
We must understand how there search engines really rank websites. Search engines use a questionaire consisting of some 200+ questions and the answers to these questions determine the rank on the website on the search results. (Note that “rank” means which page and which position of the search results does a particular website show up on the search engine for a particular targeted keyword)
Some of these questions are realted to the number of times the keyword comes on the page, if the keyword appears in the title or not, if the page has synonyms of the keyword or not, how the website quality is and so on. Now, SEO is nothing but making the answers to these questions favorable for our website – thus, making it rank higher in search results.
Once you know these basic workings of a search engine, you get get a better idea of how performing SEO techniques will help rank your website higher in search engines. Note that SEO techniques can be of two types : On-Page SEO (like keyword optimization on the page itself) & Off-Page SEO (like link-building and submitting to web directories.
Here are the 10 most useful SEO tips and techniques to improve your search engine rankings:
1. The Title Tag : The html title tag is a very useful tag for search engine optimizing your website. While writing your titles, assume that the words in your title are really keywords for search engines. hence, make sure you include your keywords in the page title.
Note that this page title is also the search result title shown by the search engine. Make sure that you use uniqui titles for each page. Also, keep your titles breif but descriptive.
2. The Meta Description : The meta description is also shown on the search results as a preview of your web page in the search result.
<meta name=”description” content =”__________”>
Search engines may also find a better description of the page and replace your meta description by their own description, but this is the one usually used – so make sure to choose the best and most specific description for your page. Using a paragraph is recommened and using only keywords is NOT recommended.
3. URL Structure : The third component of your web page’s search engine result is the URL of your page. make sure that your URL structure consists on WORDS that can be understood and relate to the page content – and do NOT use numbers that make no sense to the search engine or the people using the search engine.
For instance, WordPress has the default link structure consisting of the year/date/month. Always replace the default structure with categoryname/postname for the best results. ie. www.durofy.com/internet/seo-tips works MUCH better than www.durofy.com/2012/6/3.
It is also important that you keep all your URLs in the LOWERCASE. Note that the URLs of website hosted on a windows server are NOT case-sensitive however for a website hosted on a Linux server, all the URLs except for the domain name are case-sensitive.
4. Site Structure : The easier it is for spiders to navigate your website, the easier it is for them to index your website. Hence, always make sure you have simple and effective navigation. Some basic guidelines for better site navigation are as follows:
- Use Sitemaps – XML sitemaps work best for crawlers since sitemaps give a hieratchial list of the pages on your website.
- Use breadcrumb links so users can keep a track of which pages they come from – as shown in image – Note that these got their name from the Hansel & Gretel fairy tale in which children drop breadcrumbs to form a trial back home.
- Always use simple text links for navigation. They work much better than animations or flash elements.
- Always make a custom 404 page that guides users back to your website. Make the 404 page design similar to the rest of your website.
5. Link Optimization : Links are the main components of your web pages the search engine spiders as well as your users are looking for. So make sure they’re not hidden by means of some stupid CSS color combination. Use specific and descriptive links. using a link title is more important for users than for search engines. It helps them know where exactly they’re going. However, It doesn’t help the search engines much.
But always remember, what comes first? Unlike the egg and chicken or the egg question, we do have an answer here – the users always come first. Because search engines are not the only source of users. A major, but not the only one.
By the way, just for your information – the chicken came first.
<a href=”_____” title”_____”>___________</a>
6. Image Optimization : After the text content on your website, the images are the second most important component for search engine optimizing your website. Image SEO includes adding accurate “alt” tags for your images. Use the alt tag with all your images.
<img src=”_____” alt=”__________”>
Make sure you have no missing image alt tags – and not even missing images! Here’s a tool that checks for missing alt tags on images on your website :
To ensure you do not have missing images, upload all your images on a reliable server on one single folder. Hence, you will need to check only one single folder for missing images.
7. The “robots.txt” File :
The robots.txt file tells the search engine robots/spiders weather they can access parts of your site or not. Good SEO involves efficient use of this file. You may also use the “.htaccess” file to protect directories.
8. The Meta Robots : The meta tag allows to you add no index and no follow links to your pages using the meta robots tag
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow” /> and
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow” />
and <meta name=”robots” content=”index,nofollow” />
The no follow tell search spiders to not follow the links on the page and the no index tells them not to index these links.
9. Off Page SEO :
Most of the techniques discussed above are on-page SEO techniques. However, off-page SEO techniques are equally important for your website. These are basically techniques for promoting your websites in order to optimize it for search engines at the same time. This includes increasing backlinks for your website. You can do this be leaving comments on similar blogs and so on.
Try to avoid the link exchange programs to increase backlinks because you want backlinks from quality websies ONLY. Use social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Digg & so on to promote your website and also rank higher on search engines.
10. Avoid Black Hat SEO :
Black Hat SEO is unethical SEO that works only for a short-time and becomes a problem thereafter. SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, creating invisible text for higher search engine rankings, using doorway pages and website cloaking are all black hat SEO techniques – which are neither recommended nor discussed further.
Also, Do keep in mind that when it comes to creating content, always make sure you create content for the users & not for the search engines. Follow the above techniques for SEO but do NOT try to stuff keywords into your content and write senseless stuff with the sole aim of ranking higher on Google. It won’t work.
If you use the above 10 tips for SEO, you can be sure to get excellent “results” from your website. Always use these guidelines while creating a new page on your website. If you still need an SEO expert for your website, drop a mail at email@example.com. All the best!