Search Engine Optimization (SEO) basics
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. The Wikipedia definition of SEO is:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (”organic” or “algorithmic”) search results for targeted keywords.
Basically this is saying there are some standard procedures that you can apply to a site or a page to help it rank better in search engines for relevant searches. This is important because so many people rely on search engines to find information online and the easier you can make it for them to find the information then the more people that are likely to visit a page.
What to focus on for SEO
- Page titles
- Header elements
- Meta Tags
- Friendly urls
- Link sculpting
Page titles are the page names you see in the image above. You should make them descriptive and include keyword that you want this page to show up under in search engines. For example if we are on a page about micro biology research a good page title would be “Research – Microbiology – Florida International University”
Here is a good post about Best Practices for page titles that can add some more info
Header elements are the <h1><h2><h3> etc that you use on your site. This is part of doing correct semantic markup that your headers and subhead have the correct tags. The page title shouldn’t simply have a bold around it, it should have an <h1>. On this page you will note that the title “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) basics” has a <h2> tag wrapped around it. This signals to a search engine that this is the most important element on this page. The subheads for this post “What is search engine optimization” and “What to focus on for seo” both have <h3> tags since they are important subheads.
The most important meta tags to focus on are meta keywords and meta descriptions. Make sure that the description is relevant. It’s true that Google no longer uses Keyword meta data to help a page rank, but other search engines still use keywords. Also keep in mind that bots have a tendency to quit reading keywords after about the 8th one so don’t go overboard. Meta descriptions are still used and search engines will pull the description tag to display on the SERP.
Friendly urls are sometimes refered to optimized or machine readable urls. What this means is that it is better to have a url that can be read like
From a usability standpoint describing what the page is about in the URL can help someone figure out what they are clicking on when you send the link to someone through an email. It also is the only way that a search engine will know what the page is about from the URL. For those of you who use CMS systems that create ugly urls you can research “URL aliasing” or “URL mod rewrite” for your system.
This one is the most objective to describe or quantify. In order to explain this we need to think of a search engine (Google for example) as a user or page visitor. Google is a deaf, blind and for that matter dumb user. Google cannot interpret like person would so it reads the word around a link and the linked works. For example a link to:
- For more academic programs click here (bad)
- We have our university provides many different academic departments and programs (good)
The second example was good for two reason 1) the linked word was a desciptive word, not just “click here” 2) the surrounding words were also descriptive.
These are just some basics for more info check
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