Why would you want a site?Why indeed? The unceasing growth of the World Wide Web has resulted in an enormous number of sites, and new ones show up daily. Why would you want to create more? And what do you think about the widespread opinion that the Internet has been made for evil, and that people may get permanently lost there, breaking their connections with real life and all its virtues?There is only one way to reply to this. Good or evil dwells inside us, not in the tools intended for everyday use. If the Internet is evil then so is the car, since people meet their deaths under its wheels. Fire, knives, pills and even water find uses in good and bad. It depends entirely on context. So how should we use this phenomenon, still pretty new for the majority of us, to make it work for people, not against them? What can it do for the hypothetical site owner described below?You are a site owner. What next?It is by no means hard to become a site owner. A person just has to register his or her domain at any free web hosting service. Respectable enterprise owners prefer a paid hosting, since the domain name will not be a mixture of the trade name of the business and the hosting company’s name. Your web site is your virtual business card. From the look and feel of it your visitors will judge how much you respect yourself.Let’s say you have registered a domain: www.myowncompany.co.uk. You’ve uploaded some HTML pages presenting your business (let’s assume, it is selling mobile phones, second-hand office equipment and labour-saving devices). Your site has been available online for several months, yet nobody calls your office, and nobody sends emails to you to enquire about your goods. Web statistics show that during the last week your site was visited just three times (two of those visits being, most likely, your own). What is going wrong?Most probably, you have not ‘paved the way’ to your site. People know nothing about it, so what could induce them to type its URL in the address field of their browsers?The route to your site runs through search engines. First of all, you will need to inform all the major search engines about your domain name – every search engine has a web interface intended for this purpose. (We are planning to discuss this aspect in detail in one of our future articles.)The site must be easily foundLet’s assume that all the major search engines have found your site and indexed it – will it guarantee crowds of new visitors coming to your site? Not necessarily. Of one thing you can be sure: your site has lots of competitors, and each of them wants the top position.That puts forward your next task. Every time the search engine user carries out a search for the keywords for which you want to be found, your site should appear on the list as close to the first line as possible. That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes into play. SEO is a new skill for a new century.SEO starts from a few simple rules.Work on your site copy; pick up keywords and key phrases with the utmost careThe visible content of every page on your site (also known as the site copy) is used by the search engine to define the main topic of your page. Your visitor will see the same text, read it (or refuse to waste time reading it!) and decide if it is worthwhile coming again. Your site needs to be helpful for customers. It is important that a page’s copy:•clearly describes what the page is dedicated to; •is easily understood; and •is interesting for the target audience.Of course, the search engine is incapable of estimating how ‘interesting’ the page is. The nature of your business and the quality of language are not for a search engine to judge. It is, however, capable of detecting the relevancy of the content to one or another keyword or phrase. That’s why you should very carefully pick up words and phrases to optimise your pages for.The key phrases selected with the use of WordTracker or similar tools should be included in the page copy as often as possible. It is desirable to target not very competitive but comparatively popular key phrases. It is agreed that one page should be optimised for one, two, or at most three key phrases, otherwise all the optimisation efforts will be wasted. The key phrase density will drop, and the search engine will not know which key phrase is the most important one.Yet it is even more important not to go too far (this rule is general for SEO) and not to yield to a temptation to include the targeted keywords in your copy too many times. Your copy should remain readable and sound natural when read out loud. If your key phrase sounds importunate, then there is a chance that people will not read your page, and that search engines will penalise it for abuse.Let us get back to our example: www.myowncompany.co.uk. The main topic: selling mobile phones, second-hand office equipment and labour-saving devices. One of the SEO rules reads that you should not describe all these goods on the same page. In each case, there must be a separate page optimised for its own key phrase. And do not forget to find out how popular your key phrase is. You might spend months polishing your content up for ‘second-hand office equipment’, and then suddenly discover that people much more often prefer to search for ‘used printers’.http://www.highrankings.com/makingkeyphraseswork.htmThere is no commonly acknowledged opinion as to the optimum page size (in terms of SEO). Some 200 to 250 words is the value accepted by some experienced SEO experts and disputed by others. Your own experience might some day lead you to the right solution. One thing is known for sure: keywords located nearer to the top of the page are considered more relevant (and, consequently, affect the ranking more noticeably) than those found in the last paragraph (the so-called keyword prominence concept).The importance of your keywords can be increased. Words can be made ‘important’ by placing them in the title of an HTML page ( tag), in section subheaders (
– tags), in hyperlinks (tag), or simply by highlighting them in bold font ( or tags). The tag is the most important thing to consider. It is worth noting that meta tags such as and , that were specially introduced to help search engines, long ago lost their value as SEO tools. They appeared to be too easy a means of deceiving search engines. For example, Google, the ‘king of search engines’ now ignores keywords meta tags completely and does not give the description tag much credit. It has been suggested that Google does read them, but only to detect and penalise over-optimised pages.Build links to your siteSpiders crawl all over the Internet, following the links they find on web pages, and indexing the whole web bit by bit. The more sites link to you, the more big, medium and small spiders will visit your site on a daily basis, and the more authority your site will get from a spider’s ‘point of view’. Yet it is important to remember that a link from a site that has a high rank on the net and is similar to yours in theme is much more valuable than just any link.In order to achieve the result, you can choose the simplest way that exists. Let’s imagine that you wish your site to have a good position in search results for ‘high quality coffee-grinders, mixers and toasters’. Visit the search engine you are targeting and perform a search for the keywords of your choice. You will get an enormous list of sites that match the query. Choose those with better rankings (positioning). Contact the webmaster of a site you have picked up and try to compile an interesting, convincing letter that will explain why your site should be interesting to the visitors of that other site. Offer a link exchange. Your offer might be rejected, especially if the other site belongs to a competitor. But some site owners will agree. It is better still if the anchor text of the link matches (completely or partly) the targeted query. But be careful of that, and do not overuse the anchor text.Although the reciprocal linking method is now considered obsolete and not very effective, many webmasters still find it useful. So pay attention to the content of your site, and make sure the inbound links appear to be natural. This will be covered in the next section.Work hard to make your site interestingThe more pages your site contains, the easier it will be to apply to it the main SEO rules and techniques. The more interesting the information on those pages, the more likely it will be that other site owners or webmasters will link to them. Interesting articles, your business’s latest news, FAQ pages and forums will attract a good audience to your site, especially if you actively publish your articles on the Net. Such publications should always contain links to your site. If your articles are informative enough, the information you give is trustworthy, and suggested solutions are reliable, your resource will soon be well known by web surfers. Your business will be talked about and your reputation will benefit as a result.Make your site intuitive and usableTo be successful on the net, the site should be easily navigated, well structured and categorised and should meet all basic usability requirements. The aim is never to confuse your https://www.alexandremthefrenchy.com/ visitors. Every page should be easily accessed from the home page via plain text links, otherwise a spider will fail to find those pages. If your site has a colourful, funky graphics, rich design, and all the links are implemented via ‘hot images’, it is reasonable to duplicate them all as text links (for example, at the bottom of every page). If the styles are handled skilfully, these text links won’t ruin the harmony of your design, while your visitors will be grateful for the improved usability, and spiders will find all your pages without trouble. Just make sure you do not yield to the temptation to make those links invisible, as this is one of the commonest SEO errors.Finally, try to stick to fair competition and not get tempted by unethical, unfair methods that might cause discomfort to Internet users. Let us build the Net together and make it user-friendly, so that it will remain a source of free information that is reliable and easy to access, as well as being the best means for self-education, communication and business promotion.