Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization- Search engine optimization, or SEO, involves a number of steps that can improve websites, their functionality for their visitors, and their ranking in search engines. Good SEO is of enormous benefit, especially to ecommerce sites. This article explains what search engine optimization is and how you can have better SEO on your website.

Website Search Engine Optimization

Google ranking is of significant importance for many ecommerce sites, and Google SEO tips can be extremely useful for helping know what to do where on your site to optimize it both for search engines and for visitors. Google’s approach as described in the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, is a good place to start because it focuses on some of the key elements of search engine optimization that also may be new to neophyte webmasters.

Search Engine Optimization Advice

Title Tags—The first thing Google advises is to create page titles that are both accurate and distinct from one another (unique). They belong in the <head> tag of your HTML document. Because title tags appear in Google search results, they can help users decide if the page meets their needs. Homepage title tags usually include the website/business name, but can also indicate location or other important features. However, title tags should not be too long, and each page should have a different title to help distinguish it both in search results and as users browse your site.

Description Meta Tag—The description meta tag provides a way to summarize each page. Longer than a title tag, a description meta tag can hold two sentences or a short paragraph. You can use the content analysis section of the Google Webmaster Tools to discover if a meta tag is too short, too long, or too repetitive. The meta tag material may be used as the snippet in the Google search results for the page, unless other material on the page better fits the user’s search query. The description meta tag for each page should be unique.

URL Structure—URLs that use words to name pages, articles, and site sections, rather than using numbers for those items, are more transparent to the user. Since the URL appears in the search results, , as well as appearing when the page is loaded, it can help the user both identify your site as pertinent, and remember the URLs of site pages that s/he enjoys.

Site Structure—A well-planned site is easier for both users and search engines to navigate. Think about your site as a file system and consider categories, subcategories, and the connections between them. Remember that users should always be able to get to anywhere they need to go from the home page, and be able to easily return to the homepage. If you make a page for each category level, users will be able to move up a site level and find a page, rather than a 404 error, so is it good to create material for each level of your site. A page map on your site for users and an XML sitemap for search engines will be helpful in making connections. A 404 page that shows up for pages that do not function should help users get back to where they want to go.

Quality Content, Products, and Services—Whatever the content and offerings of your site, it should be useful to the user you are targeting, original, unique, and valuable. While doing these things, you should also strive for well-written prose, easy-to-follow organization, and a focus on the user (not the search engine) as your audience.

Well-Thought-Out Anchor Text—When you put in an HREF either to your own site or other sites, it’s important to show in the words that are linked what the user will find when the link is clicked. It is important that the text that is linked not be too long, and that it has formatting that indicates visually that it is a link.

Image Optimization—Alt text provides alternative text when—for whatever reason—an image cannot be displayed or seen. It is used when there is a site error (for example, when the source image moves) as well as when a user is accessing content through a screen reader. Sight-impaired users depend on the alt text description to understand the purpose of the image. Images stored in a single directory are easier to find, and should be in formats that have smaller file sizes and are browser supported, such as BMP, GIF, JPEG, and PNG. An image sitemap file is useful to the Googlebot mapping your site.

Heading Tags—Heading Tags should function like an outline to provide readers with a guide to the material to follow. Just as in a textbook there are heads and subheads delineating content, your heads can guide readers to the key points of each section. It is important, however, to avoid using an excessive number of heading tags.

No-Fly Areas—You can disallow areas of your site from being crawled, among other methods, including password-protected directories. Choose the method that’s appropriate to keep private or secure material from being distributed.

Use NoFollow to Advantage—The purpose of nofollow is to prevent Google from following links on your site or associating the reputation of the page from which the link is issued to the page to which it connects. An example is user comments.

Configure Mobile Sites Appropriately and That Google Is Aware of Them—Steps to take include using an appropriate format for a mobile site, create a mobile sitemap to make Google aware of the mobile site, specifically allowing Googlebot-Mobile to access your site, and verify that your mobile URLS can be recognized by Google. You can also help mobile users by redirecting them to the appropriate version if they land on a desktop version page.

Promote Your Site—Use an onsite blog, an RSS feed, and other methods to announce new site content. Share your URL on printed material for your business, such as advertisements, business cards, newsletters, and letterhead. Use social media.

Take Advantage of Google Webmaster Tools—Google Analytics and Website Optimizer can help improve your website. You can also access the Google Help Forum, the Google Webmaster Help Center, the Google Webmaster Guidelines, and the Google Tips on Hiring an SEO, if you need outside assistance.