Building your website thinking SEO. First step for SEO newbies

SEO Tutorials | June 23rd, 2007 | 1 Comment

First step for SEO newbies — (info on seo terms)

Your website is the mirror of your business in the internet presence, therefore being more visible and within easy reach of people that have never heard about you is very important. Thats why SEO Optimization of your website is vital for your site and business presence on the internet.

The first mistakes on SEO are made at the very beginning. Many newbies in this industry are tech savvy, some can afford and prefer to hire a professional to do their job and stay clear of mind, while many others prefer to jump into this venture and learn by themselves from scratch, it is a pleasant venture indeed. I remember how I was enthusiast when I made my very first website. People want a web site for their business, and as they concentrate only on appearance and the “the look and the feel of the website”, you can quickly and unfortunately lose focus of your websites purpose. As that happens, many of you will leave behind the real reason why you are building the site “to be visible even to people that won’t be walking the same street where your store is, and won’t be able to see your stores light sign”. Okey, enough of that for now, and lets put the mistakes behind us and go forward on our first steps to build an awesome site, start building your website thinking SEO and you will end up with a site you can be proud of. In this tutorial I will use for example Tina Shafer’s hypnosis success center website.

You have already designed the look of your site, and you are not ready to start coding the layout. The first important line of the code which has a very strong impact and seo importance is the Title of your site. What would you put in a title? The name of your company? Your name? I would say none of those options, in the title tag of your website you should use keywords that are important for your website, lets see an example.

<title> – Hypnosis Success Center – Hypnosis Sessions</title>

This is a title example which i would definitively call a BAD TITLE (thinking SEO). Lets improve this title and give more SEO importance to it, we will use the same phrases, but we will just replace them.

<title>Hypnosis Sessions at Hypnosis Success Center –</title>

This would be a MUCH better title, but yet not good enough, there are some phrases and words that are taking space to your title and are useless for us. Lets give it another try, but before, lets think about the audience we are going to target, Tina Shafer is CH CPHI (Certified Hypnotist and Certified Professional Hypnosis Instructor) and she would be targeting many keyphrases regarding to hypnosis, such as “hypnotherapy” “weight loss” “pain management” “hypnosis in dentistry” etc., now that we have figured out what Tina is targeting, we can come up with a nice title that describes what the site is related at.

<title>Weight loss, pain management, stop smoking, hypnosis training and services – Hypnosis Success Center</title>

This is already MUCH better title and it tells SE bots what the site is all about.

Now that we have done the title, we need to look after the description tag, i asked Tina how would she describe her site and services and this how she described “The Hypnosis Success Center offers hypnotherapy services for individual needs as well as hypnosis support groups in weight loss and stop smoking , self improvement workshops for self-hypnosis and pain management and nationally approved hypnosis certification training.” which was perfect, it has the right keywords and it describes overall services she offers.
the describtion tag usage:

<meta name=”description” content=”The Hypnosis Success Center offers hypnotherapy services for individual needs as well as hypnosis support groups in weight loss and stop smoking, self improvement workshops for self-hypnosis, stress management, and pain management along with nationally approved hypnosis certification training.”>

I explained the two important tags that sit in the head of the site code (between <head> and </head>), now its time to proceed further with the coding.

The first lines of the body of your site would be the “header” of your site look, the place where your logo and slogan (if use any) will be laying.

You will always prefer to use your logo also as link to your homepage, i.e. the initial page of your site (even tho, this is optional, as you might have a HOME button in your menu).

Coding in progress..
The coding structure of your site should be short, not busy and messy, why? The SE bot when visits your site it does not see the look (unlike humans) instead it will look at the code, and will start reading from the first code line on the top and follow each line to the bottom. Like this, the bot will get informations from your site (your content), it will read also the image alt tag’s , the internal links of your site “that will be linking one page with another” (it will also follow those links and do the same with the pages that will be found in your site).
Lets see how should we use the linking code structure to help SE bots to understand better the page we are linking to before it even follows that link and gets informations from that page. From our home page, we have now built a menu for our site which will contain links to other pages of your site. The menu buttons (or text link, I prefer text links, so should you, bots CAN read text easier, even tho we can help bots read images too with the help of image ALT tag) contain links to pages as: Home , FAQ, Tina’s Blog, View Cart, Search and Contact, ok, this menu’s purpose is more for human visiting the site and not bots, which is fine. Now how to link these pages thinking SEO, lets take for example the HOME link button, that button is image so the content of that button is unreadable for SE bots and we want the bots to be able to read that, with the use of image ALT tag we will help bots to understand the content in that image, while with the linking title tag we will help the bot to understand what is on the page we are linking to. An example
<a href=”” TITLE=”Hypnosis Success Center homepage”><img src=”source/img-name.jpg” width=”xx” height=”xx” ALT=”Home”></a&gt; (if your whole code uses lowercaps, then use lowercaps for ALT tag too, just used capitals with the purpose to distinguish them). That is as far as it regards image linking, while on text linking, for example to link from your home page to the page where you speak about “weight loss” sessions you would definitively want to link with anchor text to that page, example, instead of linking like this “for our weight loss sessions click HERE” you would prefer to use the phrase “weight loss” as link instead of the useless HERE word created specialy for the link. Note: from my experience, internal linking with FULL URL path performs better (ex. <a href=””>weight loss</a>)

Your content…
The content is of vital importance for your site and SE bots, the bot shold have alot of content to read and store it in their database in order to give as much informations for your site. But we also need to tell the bot which informations are more important for us and which have less weight, this is where the heading tags function gets his attention. The heading tags are very important (more info on heading tags). Lets take an example, we would like to speak about Hypnosis, and we will call this part of the content “Hypnosis session” so we will use that phrase inside the header tags, <h1>Hypnosis session</h1> like this, we have defined the title of the content which is Hypnosis session and we have also told the SE bots that the content that will be sitting under that title is very important. The content lays in a paragraph (<p>here</p>), so now our content code should look like this:

<h1>Hypnosis session</h1>
<p>Hypnosis session content</p>

We need to learn how to separate the more important content of our site from the less important one, for example, if we have in the same page a “box” speaking for Hypnosis session (of high importance for us) and another “box” for “Latest news” we would definitively want to give more importance to Hypnosis session box, what we need to do to degrade the Latest news content (but remind the bot that that part is also important, just with less weight), we will use the title of the latest news between a second header tag, ex.

<h2>Latest news</h2>
<p>Latest news content</p>

The higher the number of the header tag is, the importance weight decreases, i.e. H1 high importance, H2 less importance, H3 less and so on.

Lets recap everything
Title tag
Description tag
Clean code (i.e. nothing messy, CSS code should sit in a CSS file and linked with a <link tag, ex: <link href=”css/style.css” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”> , this should sit together with description tag inside the <head></head> of your code)
ALT tag for images and make them readable for SE’s
Linking strategies and methods
Content, using H1 as title for more important content of your site.
Keeping content wrapped within <p> (paragraph)

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One Response to “Building your website thinking SEO. First step for SEO newbies”
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