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  • April 1, 2011


Simple SEO practices for new Websites

Keywords, Links and Content: SEO Essentials for New Websites

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can seem like an overwhelming subject for anyone that is new to website development. SEO is one of the most widely, and hotly, debated topics and there is an overload of information ready to baffle any new webmaster.
But SEO need not be that complicated. As long as a few simple techniques are employed in the initial stages of a new website – that website has every chance of becoming indexed and ranked by a search engine.

Here are the 3 main SEO principles that should be followed when planning and building a new website.

1. Keywords

Keywords are the important words, and phrases, that define a website. These are they terms that people will type into a web browser. Anyone looking for information online will perform a search query – this will normally involve typing a specific word, or sentence, into a search box (such as Google) and then being presented with a list of relevant results.
If a website specializes in selling exotic birds, they may want to appear in the search results for the query ‘African Grey Parrot’. To achieve this, a website will need to structure their website around that particular keyword phrase and then convince a search engine that the website is the best, or one of the best, places to find quality information on that subject.
Every time anyone searches for information, the results they receive are heavily influenced by the listed websites keyword choices and how well they presented these to a search engine using SEO techniques.

2. Links

Links are how a search engine finds its way from website to website. If there were no links, the whole foundations of search would crumble. A good link structure is essential to the success of a website.
Links can be internal and external but serve the same goal – allowing visitors and search engines to locate the site and any relevant information. Internal links act as on-site navigation and guide people and search engine crawlers around the site. Poor link architecture will lead to pages not been indexed and visitors leaving in a hurry.
The link itself is nearly always simple HTML code that will be presented as either an ordinary textual link, a graphical link, or an image-based link. When clicked, or followed, this link will then take the reader, or search engine crawler, to a specified location – in the case of an internal link, this will be some place within the actual website.
External links point to other websites but follow the same format as internal links. These can be inbound and outbound links. Inbound simply means that another website has a link which points to your website. An outbound link is a link for your site that directs visitors, and search robots, to another website.
External links are judged by various factors, such as: relevance, authority of link referrer, whether the link is reciprocal (website A points to website B, website B points to website A) or if it is a one-way link (one website points to another without the link being reciprocated), Google PageRank and a few other factors.
Links should use anchor text and this should be based around keywords. This adds to keyword relevance and helps to convince search engines that the website is relevant to a particular topic i.e. the keyword. Anchor text means having a particular word, or phrase, as the clickable text – such as ‘African Gray Parrot’.
External links are seen as votes for a website and the more of these votes that a website has, the more important it will look to a search engine – especially if these links are form reputable, topic-relevant, authoritative websites.

3. Content

This is the information contained within an actual website itself and has become increasingly important as search engines become more advanced. Content should be relevant to the keyword selection for that website – there is no point trying to rank for the term ‘African Gray Parrot’ if the website content is all about tropical fish.
Content should be good quality and updated regularly. Search engines place greater importance now on freshly updated content – especially now that some search engines use real-time updates. Primary keywords should be used within the title and sub headings of the content and also placed within the text, preferably in the first and last paragraph and a few times in the main body.
Keywords should only make up about 5-7% of the total word count and it can be advantageous to highlight these words by bolding or italicizing.
As far as the rest of the content goes, it should contain relevant information – that includes using synonyms, secondary keywords and good anchor text links to internal pages. The more quality content a site has the better. The home page should have at least 300-500 words contained within the page.
Content that looks interesting to readers is great, but be aware of using unnecessary graphics. Images can make a page look interesting, but overusing large image files, Flash and JavaScript can slow down the load speed of a website and search engines still have some trouble reading JavaScript.
The best practice is to keep content textual and ensure it includes a spattering of keywords in the right places. Make surer that the content is informational, and useful to visitors, and that the website is regularly updated.

These 3 factors (keywords, links and content) are the pillars of good SEO. By engaging in good research, planning and preparation a new website creator can avoid making simple SEO mistakes. Optimizing a website is much harder once it has been built and indexed – in some cases the entire site may have to be scrapped.
SEO should be factored in right from the start, even in the initial stages when only the idea for a website is being considered. Building a website around sound SEO techniques will offer that website the greatest chance of search engine success. SEO does not have to be complicated to begin with, by following the 3 pillars mentioned above any new website will be off to a flying start.

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