Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Day 4 - Pages on your website, naming conventions and some tips on structuring your files and folders.

Think about online newspapers. They get a lot of traffic. Why? Because pages just gets added to the website. Every new story and every update or related story needs a new page on their websites. Sites with lots of pages rank better in Google search system than sites with a few pages. It is better to have, lets say 30 short pages on your site than having a 5 pages site with long scrolling pages. Keep in mind that a short page should contain minimum of 200 visible words to maximizse relevancy with Google's search engine. If you don't have enough info for your particular site, it is fine. Don't go fill extra pages with useless info just for the sake of having pages. Rather keep your 5 short pages as is and optimise them as best as you cant, using the tips from this blog. Another important reason to have shorter pages on your site is that short pages index and download faster. Alhough more and more internet users seem to convert to broadband connections, you have to remember that a vast amount of users are still using slower internet connections. People don't want to sit around and wait for a page to load. They will rather move on to the next website.

While we are on the bandwidth topic: Keep webpages simple. Cluttering with graphics, sound, video and overboard scripts is a no-no. Also remember to strip out the extra code from pages created by HTML applications such as Dreamweaver and Frontpage. Try not to use inline stylesheets. Rather link code to external pages for exmaple [script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="myjavascript.js"][/script]. Try and keep these within the [head] section of each page. The same goes for stylesheets: [link rel="stylesheet" href="myStyle.css"].

Keep your files in the root folder of your server as far as practically possible or keep all your pages in the same folder, trying not to "deeplink" more than one level.

Remember that your main page carries the most weight. This is the one that will rank the highest within your website. Avoid having outgoing links on this page. By outgoing links I mean links that will take users to other people's websites related to your themes. You want to keep internet users on your site for as long as possible. Use the your "links" page for these.

Avoid orphan pages on your site at all costs. These are pages that have links on them, but no links to them. Firstly, you will be lucky if someone stumbles upon this page and secondly, with only outgoing link on pages such as these, short, forgetable visits are guaranteed.

Choosing titles for your searchable pages are very important and adds to the value and importance of keywords used. Have a look at the top of your browser window when searching the web. Those descriptive phrases all originate from the [head] tag. Think about websites in general and what they have in common. Look at their sitemaps. Does the following website sections look familiar?

Welcome / Homepage / Index
Main contens page / Navigation
Frequently asked questions
About us / Contact / Address
Links / Link to us / Advertise with us
Testimonials / Site reviews / Feedback / Forum / Letters / Polls / Chat
Copyright / Disclaimers / Privacy Policy
Ordering / Pricing / Quotes / Catalogue

This is a basic recipe that most websites follow and it is still recomended. It might change over time, but the basic flavour is still applicable. This is what most internet users are used to and will be used to for some time to come. Apply this structure to your site with your own unique variations.

Choosing unique titles for your pages are very important. They should link up with the main theme throughout the site and also have relevance to keywords on single pages.

Some examples (using a DVD shop again):
Homepage - Improper title: Home.
Homepage - Proper Title: The cheapest DVD movies to rent
contact page - Improper title: Contact.
Contact page - Proper title: Contact us for our DVD rental catalogue and pricing

Other tips on creating noticable titles for your pages:

Give each page a unique title. Try and include primary keyword phrases in every title of every page
Begin your title with primary keyword phrase followed by secondary keyword phrase where possible and try not to repeat your keywords in the title.

The next section will focus on getting more visitors to your site by exchanging links.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Day 3 - Using keywords to draw traffic to your site

As mentioned before keywords are important in determin the theme of your page. Repeating of keywords on the site itself is important as you have a linked theme throughout all your pages. Keyword used between [TITLE] tags of each page as this is the first thing search engines look at. Website pages should atleast contain 200 words of relevant text content to be picked up for search. That goes for each page of your website. Try as far as possible to keep keywords relevant to yours site's theme. Yet again that goes for every page. Do not hide repeated keywords in paragraphs by making the text the same colour as your page's background. This is considered as spamming and you will be penalised as far as your website's ranking is concerned. This applies to repeating keywords within bold tags. If your page is 'n visual disaster by clogging it with keywords, visitors will soon become disinterested. There are millions of webpages on the intenet. People remember the good ones. It is easy to forget a page that does not contain meaningful info and simply move onto the next one.

Here are some examples on using effective keywords. We'll use the example of the DVD shop again:

The primary keyword phrase contained on eache page might be something like "DVD Rental". Specific variations on the primary keyword might look like the following: "Horror DVD rental" ; "Classic DVD rental" , "Comdey DVD rental" , "Drama DVD rental".

Secondary keyword phrases might include: "Movie rentals" , "movie reviews" , "movie titles" , "latest DVD's" , "latest movies" , "DVD repairs" , "DVD recovery"

Each page on your site should inlcude your primary keyword phrase. Your homepage (usually something like "index.html" or "default.html" always gets the highest ranking and will link to other pages on your site. It is a good practise to optimise each page for no more than two different keyword phrases.

Keyword proximity is very important. The closer keywords are to each other, the better. As mentioned in the previous sections Google searches in the page title, headings, body text, links, image ALT text, filenames and domain names. To get a better understanding of keyword proximity or keyword density pop over to

Remember that the "Keywords" META tags are ignored by Google, so rahter stick to the [title] tag for your keywords. Try to keep keywords under 60 characters. Some people advise against including your company name in [title] tags unless it is a well-known, well-branded company. They recommend to inlcude it at the end of your keywords phrase. I disagree on this, as many companies have unique names connecting them to the particular field of business they are involved in. If you have a flower shop, let's say ABC Flowers for argument's sake, you would want to include that as a primary keyword. The company specialises in flowers, after all.

The next post/section will focus on the different pages on your website, naming conventions and some tips on structuring your files and folders.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Day 2

Please not that square brackets were used for example purposes in stead of the normal brackets associated with HTML code.

We will look at the order in which Google searches crawls for webpages on the internet. Every couple of days the Googlebot crawls the internet to look for changes and updates to webpages and then stores a copy of each page on their vast amounts of servers.

By knowing how Google crawls the net, it will give you an idea of what you need to do to your pages in order to be seen by Google.

First of all it looks for keywords within the -title- tag of your pages. Make sure that your title reflects the main or theme idea of your webpage by selecting appropriate keywords. Throughout this online guide I will use the example of a DVD shop. A good [title] tag for a page would resemble the following: [title]DVD Shack - Affordable classic and cult DVD's to rent[/title]. It is recommended to not use more that 9 keywords within your [title] tags. We will look at keywords in more detail at a later stage.

After the [title] tag, Google looks inside header tags, namely [h1] and [h2]. You might think that header tags display too big, but it is a good idea to resize your text with cascading style sheets, preferably an external css file that links to your page. The sam goes for any other text. Get the .css file to determine the looks and behaviours of your different text slections.

The next think the Googlebot crawls is your first paragraph on each page and more specificaly the first 20 words of the first paragraph on each page, so be sure to capture the essence of your webpage in the firs 20 words of the first paragraph where possible for example [body][p]DVD Shack is a DVD rental company that specializes in cult and classic DVD's. PS2 games and consoles.[/P]

In this example, 9 of the 18 words used for the description in our supposed first paragraph contain very important keywords that might be used thoughout the entire website's pages. These keywords are: DVD, Shack, rental, cult, classic, DVD's, PS2, games, consoles.

Please note that Google does not look inside the [META] tags anymore, as far as I know, so try and strip those tags from your webpages.

Furthermore the crawler moves on to all the clicable portions of links on your page, for example [a href = "contact.html"]Contact us for DVD's[/a] is a better clickable link to your contacts page, as it contains an important keyword namely DVD's. Try and be descriptive without going overboard or cluttering your pages with too much info. It could put users / potential clients off and they won't return to your site.

Before moving on to other elements of your page, the crawler looks at your last paragraph as well. Rounding your last paragraph off with the theme of the first paragraph is advisable, for instance "We will continue to select just the best movies and Playstation games for our clients." Again related keywords such as "Playstation", "movies" and "games" were used effectively.

Next, Google looks at drop-down boxes and element contained within forms, for example [form][Cult Movies]keywords[/option][/form]. The next thing it checks for outside forms are URL's, folder and file names and ALT texts that go along with images.

In the next section we will look at the use of keywords more closely.