Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Getting Started
This one is a little tougher to optimize. Your focus should be on two fronts. First, try to put as many of your primary keywords at the top of your content as possible. Obviously you should not just list your keywords at the top of your content. It still has to make sense to the reader. Second, repeat as many keywords or keyword phrases throughout the text as makes sense. Again, repetition for the sake of repetition is never a good idea.
There are other techniques that you can use to get the search engine's attention on your keywords such as the use of <H1> tags but we don't have space to go into those techniques in this article. However, I promise we will cover some of those techniques in a future article.
This is simply a short summary of the content that is on your page. In most cases 2 to 3 sentences will suffice. When you write your description try to use as many of you primary keywords as makes sense. Again, don't go crazy on the repetition or you may just end up lowering your rank instead of raising it. An example of a good description would be:
<meta name="description" content="Getting started with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a daunting task to the beginner. Explore how search engines work and the basic elements of search engine optimization.">
This is precisely what you would expect, a list of keywords and keyword phrases. There are just a few simple things to keep in mind when putting your keywords together:
- Do both keywords and keyword phrases
- Prioritize your keywords from most important to least important (in case a search engine caps the number of keywords it will catalog)
- DO NOT repeat keywords in the list unless they appear solo and within a phrase - e.g. "search, search engine" is fine but "search, engine, search, engine" is not.
- Separate keywords and phrases with a comma
- Don't worry about putting common misspelling in your keyword list. Most search engines will assist the chronic bad speller search with correct spelling.
An example of a good keyword tag would be something like:
<meta name="keyword" content="search, engine, optimization, search engine optimization, SEO">
What is Meta Data?
Meta data pretty much encompasses all meta tags such as description and keywords mentioned above. Of course, there are many more that you can use such as author and copyright as well as http-equiv settings which define things like your content type and language settings. Meta tags were actually designed with complete flexibility in mind which means you could make up your own meta data if you are so inclined. Keep in mind though, your custom meta data will be pretty much ignored by everything and everyone but you.
Putting It All Together
Now that you know about all the basic pieces how do you go about putting them all together for each of your web pages? There are many different schools of thought on this but I prefer to use my own checklist:
- Read the content and compile a list of keywords
- Prioritize the keyword list from most important to least important
- Write the title using as many primary keywords as possible
- Write the description using as many primary keywords as possible
- Review the content and see if there needs to be any rewrite to bring primary keywords more to the front
- Put it all together on the web page
When you are all done the top of your page should look something like this:
<HTML XMLNS="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" XML:LANG="en"> <HEAD> <TITLE> Search Engine Optimization (SEO) : Getting Started - HTML Goodies </TITLE> <META NAME="description" CONTENT="Getting started with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a daunting task to the beginner. Explore how search engines work and the basic elements of search engine optimization."> <META NAME="keyword" CONTENT="search, engine, optimization, search engine optimization, SEO"> </HEAD> <BODY> <H1>Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Getting Started</H1> My content text </body> </html>
At this point hopefully you should feel comfortable doing some basic search engine optimization to your website pages. It's not really a difficult or complicated process but it can most certainly be time consuming. Have fun and Happy Optimizing.