Search engine optimization
How to be found on the internet - Chapter 2. Structure and construction
The construction and text of a page
To make clear how a page is supposed to be built and how important the text on that page is, first we look at "the search engine".
1.1 How does a search engine work?
A search engine presents us with a neatly ordered list of found sites, each time we enter a search request.
For example: if you search for cars, a search engine will search through its files looking for pages containing this word. The most important page will be placed on top of the presented list.
Those pages are being found by a program that searches the internet: the search engine robot.
All text on the site is categorized by that robot. That is to say, it looks at the subject of the page: The theme, by contexting certain words and how often they appear on a page. Words that appear in the <TITLE>, the headers <H1> t/m <H6> and the filename, are the most important.
This searching by robots and the indexing of the found sites is a continuing proces.
1.2. What does a robot "see" on my page?
To present a site as optimal as possible, so a search engine robot can do something with it, we must remember 1 thing: "A search engine robot is not human". Us humans, see a page, neatly trimmed with lots of nice pictures. A search engine robot only sees "bald" text. It can't see pictures and as such no text that's been embedded in a picture.
1.3. How do I create a page a robot can work with?
The most important fact we've learned so far is that a robot only sees "text".
So it's a matter of having good content / read: lots of well written and, more specific, well structured text. That's not only pleasant for a robot but also for your visitor.
Important to know is that we live in an "information based society". Information about various subjects has become very important to mankind. For the most part of the day, people are busy, gathering information and processing it.
By offering the information pleasantly, easy to find, logical and maybe most important, relevant, we help our visitor process the offered information and make fast decisions.
This text, also known as content, can be structured by:
- the <TITLE> (see point 1.5),
<H1> t/m <H6> (see point 1.6) and
- the ALT- and TITLE attribute for pictures and links (see point 1.7)
A search engine robot also uses these "attributes" to recognize the structure and importance of a text.
Another tool, to determine what the text is about and to enter a description of the page, are the <META> tags.
They form sort of an "index" for the html-document.
1.4. Meta Tags, where are they and what do they do:
In each HTML page they are entered in the <HEAD> .. </HEAD> section. This is on top of the page, just in front of the <BODY>.
For an example I refer you to: HTML structure
With meta-tags we describe the page, locate the most important words and tell the search engine robot what it's allowed to do with a page.
Guard: each search engine works different. Some look at the mega-tags, others don't. Some just ignore them, others look only for a specific type of tag.
Apart from the described tags there are dozens more mega-tags. Mainly to specify and describe the type of page. For entering in the search engines those are not or hardly important, so I won't enter this subject any farther.
Some of the most important Meta-Tags:
<META NAME="description" LANG="en" CONTENT="Short and to the point description of the site itself. What's it about.">
- NAME="description" (TAG name) translated: description
- LANG="en" (The language used in the description)
- CONTENT=" .... " (short description of the site)
In this mega-tag it's important to describe the content straight to the point, preferably by entering some keywords in the description.
Some search engines enroll this text literally and show this in the resultlist. Don't enter nonsense here, think about it carefully.
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="keyword, key, word, words, text, .............">
- NAME="keywords" (TAG name) translated: keywords
- CONTENT=" .... " (keywords, separated by a comma)
The keywords that are important to know wat the page is about.
By a constant misuse of this mega-tag by entering too many and/or unapplicable keywords, this mega-tag is ignored by many search engines.
However, there are still search engines that use it. The importance that they assign to it varies.
Don't enter more than 25 keywords, think about the importance of them and make sure that the stated words are in the text on your pages.
188.8.131.52 KeywordsHow do I determine what "Keywords" to use?
You, like no one else knows what your page is about, but, do your know how others search for that information?
Two tips to help you on your way:
- 1. Write down the words that describe the contents of your page and only use the words that are actually in the text of your page.
The most important one on top. As an example we use our own site.
The site is about "mirrors". But also about:
mirror - wallmirrors - sandblasted mirrors - bathroom- and livingroom mirrors - mirrorglass - glass etc.
All these words appear in the text and shortly describe the information a visitor can expect.
- 2. Look at the competition. See what words they use. You can do this by looking at the source of the html-document. Don't just copy, but learn. What works for that page might not work for you!
<META NAME="robots" CONTENT=".....">
- NAME="robots" (a TAG specially made for the search engine robot)
- CONTENT="....." (what is a robot allowed to do with a page)
Probably the most important meta-tag.
Using this element, the search engine robot can determine if the page is allowed to be indexed and if the links mentioned on the page are allowed to be followed.
The attribute CONTENT has a number of possibilities:
The page may be indexed and links are allowed to be followed.
(quite useless, if this mega-tag isn't incorporated that's just what a search engine robot does; the robot can perform all revisions, indexing as well as following)I do admit it in my own pages, just like an extra welcome sign.
The page may be indexed but links are not allowed to be followed.
The page may not be indexed but links are allowed to be followed.
The page may not be indexed and links are not allowed to be followed.
1.5. The TITLE (the title of your page)
Just like we give a title to a book or a chapter in it, we do so with each html-document.
The <TITLE> isn't just important to a robot, it's also very valuable for your visitor (when used correctly).
It "names" your page and makes it clear to your visitor where he is, what the name of the page is and what to expect on the page.
By properly naming your page, you give important additional value to your HTML-documents.
Robots also aknowledge the importance of a well described <TITLE>. The text in the title is being searched for words that might be important to see what the document is about.
Make sure you have a fitting, well worded title in which the most important keywords are incorporated!
Look at the internet as an enormous library. What would you think if none of the books or chapters in them had titles!
For <TITLE> also applies that it's shown in the result list. Don't put any nonsense here!
1.6. Header elementsThe header elements, <H1> t/m <H6> add importance to the text.
Your page has a lot of content, fine. But what's the most important part of the text. Which words, sentenses and/or chapters are the most important?
In a book that's easy, right?
The bold printed text on top of the page defines the chapters. In that manner you and I can see what the chapters' about. A paragraph, a beginning or a footnote also adds importance to the text.
Yes. But robots can't see that! So how to resolve that?
Actually, that's quite simple. we rate the parts of the text we find most important. Just like men do while sitting on a terrace.
Not womanfriendly (sorry ladies) but it's a suiting example.
All right, back to text.
A simple remedy to define the important text is the <H1> (header) element. We can make a lot of them, one... ten... But from number 5 and up the rating has lessened so much that it's equal to "normal" text.
In <H1> H stands for header and 1 stands for number 1. The most important.
How to apply them?
The best way, and one I use myself, is to let the <TITLE> of the page re-appear in the text as, let's say, a chapter indication.
This text (as being the most important) I put between <H1> ... </H1>
The sites' about Ferrari models, describes all antique cars until now and with the modern cars incorporated. With nice stories, anecdotes, etc..
The <TITLE> of the page is; "Ferrari a living legend - an overview of models".
In the text on the page (in the <BODY>) I put this title in top of the page in a header.
<H1>Ferrari a living legend - an overview of models</H1>
For each following sub-chapter I use <H2> ex.:
<H2>Ferrari - overview models</H2>
For a paragraph, the beginning <H3> and for phrases or quotes <H4>.
In this manner I emphasized the text in my page. The text now has structure and importance.
An example of a HTML-document: HTML structure
Tip! Make sure that the title as well as the chapter are in headers on top of the page!
1.7. Pictures and adding text to links.The TITLE and ALT attribute for links and pictures.
As mentioned before, a robot doesn't see pictures, but it can read the description from the alt-attribute of the elements.
Visually challenged people can also visit your site. Since they can't see they have to trust on aids like voice syntesizers or braille keyboard.
They can hear and/or read your page just like a robot, they can't see!
To aid them, an attribute was made for the <IMG> element (html-code for showing pictures), (ALT) to describe the picture.
You can call it an addition to the picture in which a description of the picture can be entered.
Example: <IMG SRC="picture-car.gif" ALT="A flaming red Ferrari in a magnificent mountain setting">
A similar attribute is available for links. The TITLE.
In the <A HREF> element (html-code for opening another page) through a TITLE we can indicate what the to be opened page is about. This tool comes in handy for your " sighted" visitor as well.
If you point your mouse on a link that's been fitted with the TITLE attribute, you'll see a beam with a clarifying text. This way you know what the page is about before you activate the link
<A HREF="ferrari.html" TITLE="Collection of Ferrari models sorted on year of manufacturing">Ferrari</A>
1.8. Links to your page
One of the options to generate visitors to your website is linking from another page to your site.
How that link is built is a factor of value and how it makes your page more interesting (specially for Google)
Google knows the "pagerank" mechanism, a system in which a lot of factors play a part in the ranking of your site.
Important, besides contents, is how and how many people link to your page.
An explanation is offered in chapter 2. The value of links..
All information that can be made available in a logic and welformed manner, contributes to the pleasure that your visitor and the search engine robot experience while visiting your page.
The consequense: A higher rating of your page, by your users and the search engine.
Being found on the internet - search engines
A short guide on how to optimize your website, make it more usable and being found in searchengines.
- Introduction on being found.
How to make websites usable, well structured and being found on the search engines?
- Part 1. Being found - Structure and logic.
Adding structure and logic is one of the means to optimize your internet page. Your visitor will appreciate this and it adds to being found on the internet and by the search engines.
- Part 2. Being found - The value of links.
Links to your website are very important to be found. The quantity and quality are a measure for the search engines to determine the importance of your website.
- Part 3. Being found - mistakes
What to look for when you hire outside help for optimizing your website or if you intend to do so yourself?
- HTML structure
Make sure your documents are well structured.
- Being found - documentation
Contact us to discover what makes the difference.