The SEO Crash Course: Step One

The SEO Crash Course: Step One

There is a lot of ambiguity related to best practices of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This Crash Course will walk you through a proven method developed by us. We will also explain why certain things must be done, and in what order. Keep in mind, this is a simplified version of what we actually do for our clients, but it will certainly get you working in the right direction. This method will work independently of which HTML editor you use, but it will require you to have some knowledge of a few key ideas.

PREFACE: A few key ideas prior to any SEO

Search Engines cannot read images, only text. So make sure that whatever you want people to be able to search for on your page is in plain text, not part of an image. A good way to see your site's indexing capability is to view it in a browser with images turned off. This is similar to the way that search engines "see" your site. Also, try to avoid the use of flash as a means for delivering content, for search engines will not index it.

Be familiar with the following HTML tags; and all of their attributes (if any).

  • title
  • meta
  • h1, h2, h3, etc... heading tags
  • img
  • a (anchors)
  • ol, ul (lists)
  • strong

Be familiarized with the following files:

  • robots.txt
  • sitemap.xml

STEP One: Early Development of Your Site

Part 1: Naming Convention

How you name your files is important. It has been a long-standing tradition to place underscores (eg. this_is_an_example.html) as separators of words, but it is better to use hyphens (eg. this-is-an-example.html). The same goes for image files as well. AND, be sure to name the file using key words found in the title. For example, let's say the title of the page is "Three Blind Mice." You would want to name the page accordingly; three-blind-mice.html.

Part 2: Layout

From the very beginning, be sure to have the idea of SEO in mind. Even the layout of a page has much to do with indexability. Typically, the information provided by your page is weighted according to its display position: more important towards the top, least important towards the bottom.
<!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--> <!--[endif]-->

Part 3: Styling

Make sure to use tags, such as heading and strong, to create a logical order of information (much like an outline). When people visit a site; larger fonts and bolder text are typically seen as main points or important ideas. This works the same way for search engines -- to a search engine, heading text is weighted heavily in relation to the rest of page content.

One other thing that is beneficial is the use of lists (ul, or ol tags). These are great for SEO because they serve as a quick way for search engines to get an idea of what the page is about and the content order. A lot of people like to use styled lists as their page navigation. This is a great idea.

Part 4: KISS -- Keep It Simple, Stupid

The less code, the better. Be sure to use external CSS files and external Javascript files. This will help search engines to expedite the indexing process because there is less "junk" to sort through.

Up next: Title, Meta Tag, and Keyword concepts -- also, important attributes of other tags.