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ABCs of Search Engine Optimization

ABCs of SEO
By Sharon Housley

Follow the ABC's of search engine optimization:

A - Alt Tags
All images should include ALT tags. The ALT attribute in HTML is used for three main reasons: the ALT tag provides further details about an image or hyperlinked graphic, the ALT Tags enhances web access for individuals with vision impairments. The ALT tags will also help search engines discern what an image represents.

B - Bandwidth
Compress images and use a mixture of text with images to conserve bandwidth and help your webpages load quickly. Use good design techniques to reduce bandwidth and maintain a fast loading website. This will save both storage space and data transfer allowances.

C - Content Management System
Many businesses have adopted CMS systems for web design. Unfortunately these systems are not always designed to be search friendly.

D - Description
Each page of a website should contain a unique, and relevant description. The description should make use of relevant keywords and keyword phrases.

E - Error Page (404)
Use a custom 404 page to capture any traffic from mistyped URLs or abandoned web pages. Sometimes it takes a while for the search engines to catch up to abandoned pages, so they may send traffic to a web page that no longer exists. Using a custom 404 web page in order that you capture the traffic and provide visitors navigation options.

F - Fresh Content
Fresh content is the corner stone of search engine optimization. New content shows that a website is updated on a regular basis. Content is a critical part of search engine optimization. A website must contain both unique and fresh content to rank well.

G - Google
Google dominates other search engines, so it is important for webmasters to optimize pages in a way that will help the web page perform well in a Google search.

H - Header Tags / H1
Use H1 Tags in the HTML to emphasize keywords or sub-headings on a webpage.

I - Image Optimization
Images should be optimized for web pages. Use standard web formats and compress the images without compromising quality. It is important to specify the width and the height of your images in the HTML code. If the height and width of the image is not specified, the web browser will have to reposition the text once the pictures load, consuming more time.

J - Javascript
Avoid the use of javascript for navigation. Search engine spiders often have a difficult time following javascript links.

K - Keywords
Keywords are the hallmark of search engine optimization. Keywords should be integrated into the body of the website and the meta tags of the web page.

L -Link Building
Link building is an important aspect of SEO. In order for a website to generate organic ranking. Submit the website to large directories and niche portals to generate incoming links.

M - Meta Tags
Meta tags should be defined and included in all of the web page's HTML header information. Each web page on a website should contain unique meta tags.

N - Navigation
Not only is it important to have a clear navigational structure for human visitors, but also one for search engine spiders which follow a website's links to index the web page's contents. Have a navigation structure that is viewable by both web visitors and search spiders.

O - Optimize
Optimization is a continuous process. Optimize the website and monitor web logs to determine the effectiveness of the changes that you have made.

P - PageRank
PageRank is one of the methods Google uses to determine the relevance or importance of a web page. PageRank is a vote, by all the other web pages on the Internet, about how important a Web page is. To raise PageRank, one must have a large number of incoming links from trusted sources.

Q - Quality Link
There is more to linking than just getting a large number of incoming links. The quality of the incoming links is important as well.

R - Robots.txt
Robots.txt files should be used to tell search engines what web pages should and should not be spidered.

S - Social Bookmarks and Social Networks
Social bookmarks and social networks can be using to build incoming link structure.

T - Title
All web pages within a website should contain unique title tags. Titles should include keywords and be descriptive in nature.

U - URLs
URLs are also part of search engine optimization. Using hyphenated keywords to name the sub-pages of a website has been known to play a role in search engine ranking.

V - Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is a marketing strategy that encourages people to pass along messages to others in order to generate added exposure. The viral piece is a self-propagating practice or pattern of Internet use that moves from person to person.

W - Web Design
Web design should not focus solely on aesthetics. The design should be done with search engine optimization in mind. X - XML XML is eXtensible Markup Language it is used as a standard to transfer data.

Y - Yahoo
Yahoo still has one of the best web directories. Be sure to manually submit your website to the Yahoo Directory.

Z - ZeeEnd

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll http://www.recordforall.com audio recording and editing software.

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This article may be used freely in opt-in publications and websites, provided that the resource box is included and the links are active. A courtesy copy of the issue or a link to any online posting would be greatly appreciated send an email to sharon@notepage.net .

Additional articles available for publication available at http://www.small-business-software.net/free-website-content.htm

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