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Basic Website SEO

Search Engine Optimisation, also called SEO, is an absolute must if you want to have a successful website. If you search on-line there are 1000s of sites dedicated to SEO, with many conflicting ideas and theories on how to get your website found in search engines. This article will tackle the basics, to get you on the way and hopefully pick up some good habits for using good SEO principles in the future. Most of the methods used here are tried and tested, and easy to do yourself.

  • Pick a domain name that contains the keywords you want to show up in searches. For example, something generic like '' is unlikely to feature in search engine results. If Fred sells goldfish bowls, then he should go for something like ''. Using your main keywords in your domain name is essential for SEO.

  • Use a domain extension that's relevant to your target country. Google often shows search results based on the country the person searching is in. So if your target audience is the UK, try to pick a domain name.

  • Make your page title relevant. The page title is the short description of your site that shows up in the browser bar. For example, for our fictitious website, we need to put good keywords in the page title. Keep it short and to the point, something like 'Goldfish bowls and aquatic supplies' or whatever other relevant words would promote what Fred is selling.

  • Fill in the meta tags. Meta tags basically describe what is contained in the page. For the meta description, type a simple line describing what the page is about. For example 'Goldfish bowls and other aquatic supplies at great low prices'. Then for the meta keywords, type 10-15 keywords separated by commas, EG 'goldfish,bowls,supplies,pets,aquatic,fish,aquarium,....' and so on.

  • Use the header tags. Header tags are like small summaries of what is to follow, and some search engines place strong emphasis on keywords that are contained in header tags. If Fred was describing water pumps for his goldfish bowls site, he would put 'water pumps' into the header tag. If further headers are used, he could put 'small', 'large' or similar into his other header tags.

  • Use the right words. There is a saying that 'content is king' and this is so true. Search engines love words and phrases, so you need to think carefully about how you write your website content. You need to include the right keywords, and repeat them a few times to increase their density on the page. Don't repeat them too often as this may have an adverse effect. It's recommended to get your best keywords in the top half of the page, preferably in the first 25 words.

  • Rename your images. If Fred has a photo of a goldfish bowl called 'dsc0001a1.jpg', it's highly unlikely it will show up in searches. If he names it 'goldfishbowl.jpg' then anyone searching images for goldfish bowls has much more of a chance of finding it. Also with your images, it's important to include alternative text so that if the photo doesn't load, people can still see what it's meant to be, and the search engines will see that text as more keywords, adding to your website's basic SEO.

  • Submit a sitemap to Google. A sitemap is another essential SEO requirement. It's a list of pages with links to each page contained in your site, and it's extremely easy to make one. Simply go to XML-Sitemaps and follow the simple instructions.

  • Create internal links with anchor text. Internal links are links that take you from one place on the site to another. Anchor text refers to the keywords contained within the link. Going back to goldfishbowls, Fred could have a link to another page selling fish food, that looks like this 'Click here for quality fishfood'. This is good in that it promotes another page on the site, but it doesn't contain any anchor text apart from the word 'here'. Search engines judge the relevance of the link based partly on the anchor text, or the relevance of the keywords contained in the link to the site that the link takes you to. A far better link for Fred would be Click here for quality fishfood. A link with anchor text using relevant keywords carries far more weight with search engines and will boost your site's SEO.

  • Get some good external links. Inbound, one way links are another holy grail for SEO purposes. If you can get links to your site from external sources, especially with good anchor text (see above) then your site will get great exposure. Most search engines see inbound links to your site from other recognised and relevant sites as a recommendation, and will promote your site accordingly. There are a number of ways to get inbound links, you can join forums that discuss what you're selling, but check their rules to see if they allow you to link to your site. If it's allowed, you can make your forum signature a link to your site. Another good way to get links to your site is by blogging and using social networking sites, and we will discuss this in a future article.

  • Use Google Webmaster Tools. This is an invaluable and free resource to see how your site performs in searches, checking errors and other basics for website SEO.

  • Also please read our article on Submitting to Search Engines

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