To score well with search engines you need to let them know what your site is about. Search engine robots are just that – they’re not going to see a picture of a lion on your site and work out you do safaris in Africa. They have rigid instructions to spider your site and take out core pieces of info that will tell them what it’s about.
The first thing to do is decide what are your main keywords. If you’re running a graffiti site then your keywords are likely to be “graffiti, street art, spray paint, design, murals etc”.
So think carefully about how to use your keywords both in incoming links and on your site in titles, headers, alt tags and internal links – these are all terms that will make sense to you within a week of getting stuck in.
Every page has a title which is the most important part in letting the search engines know what you’re about. The title is not the words in big letters above your content, it’s the words you see right at the top of the screen in the browser bar and you enter it with apage subject heretag. If you’re using an authoring tool like Dreamweaver then there will be a special box for you to fill in.
So if your page is about films made by French directors your title might be “Films by French Directors” but please not “Some flicks made by the French that I really like” – the title is mainly to let Google and co know what the page is about. Although you do see the titles in search engine results so if it’s a bit catchy then it might draw the clicks in.
The big words at the top of the page above your content are called the header. This is a
tag and search engines will also read this to see if you were telling the truth in your title – make it similar but not exactly the same. Write titles for search engines, headers for people.
Then it’s just a case of using good images with alt tags describing what they’re about. The alt tags are the words that come up when you hover the cursor above the picture. The code is inside the image tag and is
<img src="yourpicture.jpg" alt="keywords here">
Internal links are the links that don’t take you to other sites but rather to other pages within your own website. Such as this link to getting into google. They help both your readers and search engine spiders read and understand your site, use them wisely.
Black Hat and White Hat SEO
You may come across some advice on how to bamboozle the search engines. Don’t fall for it. There were techniques that may have worked in 1996 but these days Google and co are much, much smarter than you. Just build your site slowly and honestly and there will be a long term payoff.
The older your site gets, the more links that come in and the more content you build will all increase your standing with Google and hence your traffic. It takes time and a slow, organic growth for a website is now considered by many to be the best strategy there is.