Welcome to SEO – Site Optimization. In this learning object, we will learn how to optimize a website to increase the site’s rankings and to improve the user’s experience. If you think of SEO as a 3-layer cake, the layers would be site organization and structure, then site optimization, then analytics. Finally, the finishing touch, or the frosting, would be promotion that includes, among other things, social media, blogging and paid ads.
So, what is the best place to start site optimization? In a word, the answer is content. Content engages and converts visitors. If is the content is good, other sites will share it. It’s important to make sure that content is fresh, unique, well-written, and written for your users. Having good content helps to improve your site’s rankings. Well-written content will help the site reach it’s optimization goals and deliver the results you are looking for. Did you know that search engines rank pages with bad grammar and poor spelling lower than pages with good grammar? The next thing to address, after content, is link creation.
The best way to create links is to use anchor text. Anchor text is the text that appears highlighted in the content of the website. It is a hypertext link that can be clicked to open the target web page. The key is that it exists within the body of the text on the site. In other words, it is in a graphic that says, “Click here.”
When you use descriptive links, or anchor text, you are making it easier to know what other related information they can find. These links also help search engines to identify content. Text can be refined to help optimization.
And so can images.
Images are often overlooked as a source of site optimization. Using compressed image formats like JPEG and PNG’s will reduce your file size and improve the load time of your pages. Faster page load times mean a better user experience and a higher site ranking. Another way to optimize images is to use the alt attribute. The alt attribute is an HTML image tag attribute. It allows you to provide a written description of the image. Screen readers use it when the image can’t be displayed.
Effective use of the alt attribute makes your site accessible to a wider range of users and increases your search result ranking. Anytime you make things easier for search engines, you are optimizing your site. Start with your reader in mind, not the search engine. Write copy for your readers and use key words where they would occur naturally.
When you write for you audience and don’t force key words into the content, you may actually rank better with search engines. Historically, developers thought that just scattering keywords throughout the web pages would increase the site’s rankings. What is more powerful is using those key words in meta tags, headings, in links, and within image attributes. This will get the attention of both visitors and search engines, which will increase the site’s rankings.
Another great place to include keyword phrases is in header tags. Header tags are part of the HTML coding for our webpage. The H1 tag defines the most important heading on the page. Header tags can be visual cues, because by default, headings are formatted with larger, heavier fonts.
These headings also help search engines grasp the main topic on long content and you guessed it…will improve your site rankings. It makes sense that your users appreciate a fast website. No one likes waiting for web pages to load. Ensuring that your pages load as quickly as possible isn’t just good for your users, it will also improve your site ranking and search results.
What is wonderful, is that this well-organized, well-labeled, and engaging content will provide search engines with the information they need to rank the website.
You have just completed SEO:Site Optimization.
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