The basics of search engine optimization (SEO)

On the this page, we provide you with a few basics of Search Engine Optimization that can help you take your first steps on the path to increased traffic.

These are some of the basic things that we immediately look at when beginning your Search Engine Optimization campaign.

This guide assumes a certain level of knowledge about HTML.

Effective Page Titles

The page title is one of the most important elements of good structure. The page title are the words that appear in the top window frame of your web browser – which currently reads (on this page right now) “The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Jimmyweb”

It is also the title that appears at the top of your search engine listing.

Your page title…

  • should be concise.
  • should be longer than 40 characters.
  • should be no longer than 10 words.
  • should try to take the form of a sentence rather than a list of keywords.
  • should not repeat any word more than once where possible.
  • should be unique to each page’s content.
  • the company name (if it must be used) should appear at the end of the title – not at the beginning.

In the HTML coding of your page, the title appears between the “title” tags towards the top of the code. For example if you look at the code for this page the title appears as follows:

<title>The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Jimmyweb</title>

Many sites make the mistake of every giving every page on their site exactly the same title.

The META Description Tag

The META description tag should also appear towards the top of your code (located anywhere in between the <head></head> tags.

It takes the foillowing form:

<meta name="description" content="These are some of the basic things that we immediately look at when beginning your Search Engine Optimization campaign.">

This should be a concise description of the content of the page and should be different for every page of your site. There is no hard and fast rule for the length of a description meta tag, however a good rule of thumb is a maximum of 150 charcters.

Your description should be in sentence form rather than just a list of keywords.

This description will appear as the descrption of your site below the title in some search engine result pages.

Again, many sites make the mistake of having the same description on every page in their site or omiting these tags altogether.

You can read more about meta tags at Search Engine World

Effective Use of Heading Tags

Heading tags should be used to emphasise the main headings and sub-heading of your page.

The heading tags look like <h1>This is a heading</h1>, <h2>This is a secondard heading</h2> etc… in your HTML code.

The heading tags emphasise the importance of the words contained within them, giving the search engines a better idea of what the page is all about.

You can use CSS to style these heading to any size or colour you like, thus keeping the consistancy and style of your page intact.

Short, Clean URL’s

Many sites, particularly sites driven by databases or Content Management System tend to use long URL’s (Web Addresses) to provide their content.

If you look in the address bar or your web browser, you can see the address of the page you are currently visiting. On this page you will currently see “http://www.jimmyweb.net/basics.asp”

This is a good, short, easy to remember URL which is also easy for the search engines to follow.

Many sites use a much longer format for their URL’s that may look something like this:

http://www.jimmyweb.net/1.asp?page=34&cat=24&id=@3708df

These kind of addresses are not only difficult, if not impossible, for your visitors to remember, but they can also stop searche engines in their tracks.

If the URL’s on your site look like this, you could be preventing search engines from even finding your page, let alone indexing it and listing it in their results.

These are just a few basic optimization tips which are the cornerstone of any further Search Engine Optimization.