Nine Tested Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips
If you are still learning about search engine optimization (SEO), you are probably a
bit confused about the difference between on-site and off-site SEO strategies. On-site
tactics are more straight-forward for the beginner and are probably written about the
most. I thought I would write an article and cover what I've learned. This pool of SEO
knowledge comes from working with about 10 clients and another 10 personal web sites over
an 18 month period.
To anyone with an SEO background, there are certain basic on-site SEO tasks that any
web master, business owner, or Internet Marketer needs to be aware of. These include the
following major components:
1. Title Tags
The title tag in your HTML meta code is the tag that tell the browser what to display
in the title of the window at the very top of the screen. Because this text is so visible
to the user, Google likes to rely heavily on this text as a clue as to what your page is
about. As a result, it is a really important SEO strategy that your title tag be filled
with keywords that are appropriate to the content of the web page. Furthermore, you really
don't want the same title tag on every page. This is not good for SEO. Instead, you want
to have different keyword phrases in your title tags that properly identify the theme of
that particular page. Remember, you are trying to help the search engines easily digest
your content. That's basically what SEO is. You want to aid them in their understanding of
what this page is really about.
2. The first H1 tag
Similar to the title tag, Google will look at the first H1 text to appear on your page
as a strong signal as to what the page is about. Use it wisely. Again, you want to place
keyword phrases here that are thematically related to what the information on the page is
conveying to the end-user.
3. The name of the page itself
As you name your pages in your web site, use plain English as much as possible for SEO.
You will notice that WordPress uses this extensively in their blog software. This is no
accident and WordPress is considered the best blog for SEO. For example,
http:⁄⁄example.com⁄?On-Site-vs-Off-Site-SEO-tactics&AID=22 will perform
much better for SEO than http:⁄⁄example.com⁄?AID=22. Why? Because there
is descriptive text in the longer version of the page name that helps the search engine
know what the page is about.
Many people have written about issues around "dirty links" and SEO (links including
system variable data such as AID=22 in the example above). I think it is better if you can
design your system without any variable data at all. It just takes this SEO issue away.
And it's just easier for the search engines. It's also easier for the end-user. However,
there is no problem promoting pages via SEO with variable data in the links. I've been
able to make both fly using the same SEO tactics with no problems. The search engines are
smart enough by now to manage through that variable data. Just make sure your plain
English is in there.
4. Keyword meta tag
This tag used to get a ton of play for SEO, but is now largely ignored by the search
engines. I believe it fell out of favor due to manipulation and misuse. It is a tag that
is not seen by the end-user, so unscrupulous web masters abused it and it became
less-and-less important for SEO. Real SEO tactics don't abuse or deceive. I still populate
my keyword tags because I believe they are still looked at, but I don't believe they are
very critical. If nothing else, it's another instance of your keywords. They all help SEO.
5. Description meta tag
This tag is still useful, but probably more for Yahoo and MSN. Since you will be in
this part of your web site anyway to get the Title right, you might as well make this
variable-driven as well and make the description appropriate to the page. Again, it can't