Making your site Search Engine Friendly

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Revision as of 11:01, 19 January 2011 by Pcguyiv (Talk | contribs)

Why create a Search Engine Friendly Site?

To start off this article, I want to give an answer to this question. If your Web site is anything like mine, then your biggest visitor is an engine bot. In order to add your page, a search engine (like Google) will send out "crawlers" or "bots" to harvest your pages. These bots cannot harvest things that are created/triggered by javascript, or 'see' images (though they do check alt tags) and don't play well with flash files if at all. While all these things may make the site look better, they do little to nothing in terms of SEO (search engine optimisation).


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There are two major parts to understanding keywords, one is the meta tag and the other is density. If you are starting a brand new site you will need to do a little planning for both SEO and simple Joomla structure. Keywords are the focus of your content. You should come up with a list of no more than 25 keywords that describe your sites message. Once you have your list of keywords keep them in focus as you write content and create Joomla sections, categories, and articles. Use these keywords through your site to improve SEO.

The meta keyword tag found in the head of most web documents has little effect for Google, Bing, and many of the other larger search engines. Yahoo still uses the meta tag as part of the algorithm, as well as some of the meta crawlers. Search engines all read the text in the tag, they just do not apply the information to the algorithms. I have always found that placing the keyword meta tag helps me write better keyword rich content. If your page has a keyword tag , you must make sure that word is on the same page in the content.

Density is the number of times a word is placed in the readable content of a page. If I have ten readable words and one word is a keyword I have a density of 10%. If I have 100 words and one of them is a keyword I now have a density of 1%. Keep your density between 3.5% and 7% look for an online density analyzer to get an estimated density of a keyword.

Make sure to use keywords in your titles or aliases, links, and content. DO NOT STUFF keywords. Content that does not make sense and fully of keywords for the sole purpose to raise the keyword density to a high level will cause your site to be penalized in the search engines. It is very difficult to write an article that someone will enjoy reading or find usable and increase the density over 7%.

This section has a keyword density on the term “keyword” of 1.79% and on the term “keywords” of 2.05%. The combined density is approximately 3.8%. You can see how deliberate you would have to be to stuff a site greater than 7%

To add meta keywords to your site do the following:

  • Add the 25 keywords to your Global Configuration > Site> Global Site Meta Keywords .
  • Add specific meta keywords to articles using the metadata information. Make sure the keywords listed here are in the content of the article also.
  • Adding the data does not harm your rankings in search engines, and will help you in yahoo, and meta crawlers. Never add more than 25 words in the meta data, separate words and phrases with a comma, and do not repeat keywords.

Use Semantic HTML

Use semantic HTML - only 1 H1 per page for the most important header etc.

Use links in your content

Have good links inline in text (articles) and avoid the use of things like 'click here' as the text that displays for a link. You want to try and have something that conveys the gist of the content of the page that the link points to.

Have a structured or planned navigation

having a good navigation system is hugely beneficial for allowing bots to effectively crawl your site. (joomla goes a long way for doing this for you when used correctly so thats a big bonus).

Have a sitemap

A sitemap is essentially a table of contents for your site. This serves two purposes:

1) It provides a place where visitors can go to easily get to any content on your site, even if it isn't necessarily easy to access by other navigation aids on the site.

2) It provides a centralized store of links to the content on your site that can be easily indexed by search engines.

At the very least, a sitemap should link to the main sections and pages within your site, but the more detailed you can make it, the better.

Things to remember

  • That anything that requires a login will not be 'seen' by a search engine.
  • That this article only just starts to scrape the surface.
  • That frequent maintenance and updates are a big part of SEO.
  • That SEO is only the start - it might help people find your site through search engines but you've got to work out how to get them to stay or come back or use your site.