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SEO for beginners. By Marcus Sykes Overview. Introduction to SEO Short description of SEO in general Basic overview of HTML and CSS This will only serve to highlight the uses of these languages for SEO SEO techniques

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seo for beginners

SEO for beginners

By Marcus Sykes

  • Introduction to SEO
    • Short description of SEO in general
  • Basic overview of HTML and CSS
    • This will only serve to highlight the uses of these languages for SEO
  • SEO techniques
    • Ways in which we implement SEO
  • Viewing and measuring results
    • How to maintain your SEO campaign
introduction to seo
Introduction to SEO
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) involves altering website code, content, and presence in order to increase rankings in search engines
  • At least half a billion searches are made worldwide on a daily basis
    • If you are ranked at the top of a search engine, you are essentially running a free marketing campaign.
introduction to seo which search engine
Introduction to SEOWhich search engine?
  • There are some main players which you must always consider optimising for, namely Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and AskJeeves
  • Although Google makes up for almost half of worldwide searches, it is not always a good tactic to relate your site prominence only on Google
    • If half a billion searches are made per day, this means that over 250,000,000 are made on other Search Engines
  • Each search engine searches the web and ranks sites differently, so when you may be at the top of one search engine, you might not even be listed on another one
introduction to seo search engine statistics
Introduction to SEOSearch Engine Statistics
  • Search engine market shares in November 2005 for searches in the USA
introduction to seo how a search engine works
Introduction to SEOHow a search engine works
  • Search engines use programs called spiders, or bots, to search the internet and document their findings.
  • Spiders firstly go to a webpage and analyse it
    • Goes through the HTML code and categorises the most important words (keywords) in the document.
  • It then moves on to any pages that linked from the current page.
    • This is one way how search engines find new pages.
    • It also visits pages that may not be linked by other pages, but were submitted by search engines.
introduction to seo what a search engine sees
Introduction to SEOWhat a search engine sees
  • Spiders do not see a page like humans do, as it cannot describe an image, or tell you how pretty a site looks
    • Instead, it looks at the HTML code and structures it to make sense.
      • Using a text browser, or disabling images and CSS are a good way of seeing your site through a search engines eyes.
introduction to seo what a search engine sees cont
Introduction to SEOWhat a search engine sees (cont.) without CSS and Images

crash course in html css
Crash Course in HTML/CSS
  • (X)HTML is used to describe the data that is on your page
  • CSS is used to format HTML and make it look more presentable.
  • Web standards are continuously trying to separate content from presentation
    • Previously, HTML was used for both content and presentation.
  • Latest Versions of the languages
    • XHTML 1.1
    • CSS 3
crash course in html css html basics
Crash Course in HTML/CSSHTML Basics
  • HTML uses <tags> to describe data
    • Data is usually enclosed in these tags
      • <tag>Data</tag>
      • <tag attribute=“data” />
    • Tags can be images, paragraphs, titles, tables, and more
      • Browsers render these tags differently on your screen.
    • There is a tendency to depend on these tags also for formatting, e.g. using tables to keep non-tabular data
      • Not Good!
crash course in html css html basics cont
Crash Course in HTML/CSSHTML Basics (cont.)
  • Every HTML document has some mandatory elements :

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C ... ml1-transitional.dtd">

<html xmlns="">


<meta … /> Extra information about the document

<title>Document Title</title>



Page Content



crash course in html css html basics cont13
Crash Course in HTML/CSSHTML Basics (cont.)
  • Here are some basic tags important to SEO
    • <h1></h1> , <h2></h2> , <h3></h3> , …
      • Header tags – Makes text large and bold
    • <img src=“location of pic” alt=“alternate text”>
      • Image tags – note the alternate text for SEs
    • <a href=“link URL” title=“link title”>link</a>
      • Link tags - Browsers makes the text inside a link
    • <b>Bold Text</b>
      • Not recommended, but is said to help in SEO
crash course in html css css basics
Crash Course in HTML/CSSCSS Basics
  • CSS can make a simple HTML page look completely different.
  • CSS has little or no impact on SEO
    • You can make a site look like whatever you want without losing SE rankings
  • CSS code can be placed within an HTML document, or in a separate file
    • If you use a separate file, you can use it for every page
      • This makes updating the way your site looks very easily, because you only need to update one file.
seo techniques keywords
SEO TechniquesKeywords
  • Keywords are the words on a webpage that best describe that page
  • Keyword selection is the most important step to effective SEO
    • The keywords you use will be the phrases where you want to be highly ranked on SEs
    • Time and research should go into selecting the appropriate keywords before doing any SEO
      • What are the words one would use to find your site?
seo techniques keywords cont
SEO TechniquesKeywords (cont.)
  • Continuation on how search engines work…
    • When a spider goes through a webpage, it determines the weight of frequently used words in the document, and considers them the most important in the document.
      • The more you use a word in important places, the more search engines give importance to it.
    • The words with highest weight are more likely to bring up your web page when used as a search term.
seo techniques keywords cont17
SEO TechniquesKeywords (cont.)
  • You must decide whether to focus on less frequently used keywords (niche) or compete for the commonly used ones.
  • Here are some tools you can use to see which keywords are searched for frequently
    • Google Suggest (beta) (free)
    • Google adwords
      • Offers a free keyword tool with its adwords services
    • WordTracker (paid)
seo techniques meta tags
SEO TechniquesMeta Tags
  • Meta tags are used to provide a description of the page, and a list of main keywords it uses.
  • There is a debate over whether to cram loads of keywords into these tags, or just select the most important ones.
    • Search engines are getting smarter everyday, so they may penalise you for cramming
    • Some search engines reportedly don’t even look at the meta tags (e.g. Google)
seo techniques title tag
SEO TechniquesTitle Tag
  • The text in this tag shows up on the top of your browser window.
  • Quite important to include keywords here, as the title will give a general summary for what your page is about.
  • Most search engines see this tag as an important tag for categorising what type of site you have.
seo techniques anchor tags
SEO TechniquesAnchor Tags
  • One of the most important tags you must use for SEO.
    • Spiders use these to crawl your site, so you must have links to pages throughout your site.
    • Other sites that link to yours will send spiders your way also.
  • Google (and others) use anchor tags to rank your site in many ways:
    • Firstly, text in anchor tags are given a lot of importance.
    • If other sites link to you, this must mean your site is popular, and so you increase in rankings.
      • The most popular sites would, in theory, be linked to by many websites throughout the internet.
seo techniques anchor tags cont
SEO TechniquesAnchor Tags (cont.)
  • Since anchor tags are so important, it is vital that you include keywords in these tags
    • SEs think the words to describe a link should give a good indication of what that page is about.
  • This is one reason why it is good to have a navigation bar that uses links to all your sites.
    • Better that you use words, not images
    • Try and use <a> tags, and not image maps, flash, etc.
  • A sitemap is also an effective way of tying your site up if you link all your pages to this site map.
seo techniques anchor tags cont22
SEO TechniquesAnchor Tags (cont.)
  • Here is an example of why a sitemap is effective

This is a website with a site map.


This is a website without a site map.

Page 4

Page 1

Page 1 and 2 can now reach page 3 in many ways

Page 1 and 2 can only reach page 3 via page 4

Page 2

Page 3

seo techniques text and content
SEO TechniquesText and Content
  • Throughout your page you will need to use keywords in order to rank well for that word
  • The most important places of your content to put keywords are in the headers, at the beginning, and the end of paragraphs.
  • It is importance to balance the overuse of keywords for the sake of SEO and keeping the text relevant, readable, and informative
    • There is no point in having a highly ranked page if it provides no information to a user, as they will leave your site immediately
seo techniques h1 h2 h3 etc tags
SEO TechniquesH1, H2, H3, etc. Tags
  • These tags are considered by search engines to be a description of your page.
    • Very important to put in some keywords there.
  • It is always a good idea to structure your content so that it contains these tags at beginning of paragraphs, tables, sections, etc.
  • It is quite logical that a search engine gets the overview of a paragraph from a header tag
    • We know what this slide is about by looking at the title of the slide
seo techniques images
SEO TechniquesImages
  • Images are not read by search engines, and so you should avoid using too many images on your site
    • Many sites use images for fancy fonts, when they contain keywords that are never read by a search engine
  • Always use an alt attribute when including an image
    • This gives a spider a description of the image, and also doubles as making your site accessible to blind people.
seo techniques code structure
SEO TechniquesCode Structure
  • It is important to look at your HTML code and see the structure of it.
    • Some pages have too much code, and too little content
    • Some code makes it so that content is found at the bottom of the page.
      • Pages that use tables for layout are notorious for doing this.
  • Make sure that keywords are found at the top of your source code as well as on the actual web page
    • Remember, SEs don’t see pages like we do, they only see our HTML code.
seo techniques update your site regularly
SEO TechniquesUpdate your site regularly
  • Sites that are updated regularly are spidered and indexed more frequently by SEs
  • Sites that change often are considered by SEs as sites that provide current information, and must therefore (although not always) provide up to date information
    • This would provide a more relevant set of results than providing a user with pages that were made 10 years ago
  • News Items are a great way of including a regular changing page.
seo techniques dynamic code
SEO TechniquesDynamic Code
  • Dynamic code can make updating your site very easy
    • Also useful for creating pages on the fly
      • E.g. A shopping cart with items you want to buy
  • SEs do not always look favourably on pages with dynamic data
    • These pages usually have a ? after the page name and are followed by data
    • You have to regularly update your site if you want to do well with dynamic pages
      • E.g. Forums
seo techniques inbound links
SEO TechniquesInbound Links
  • As said before, links from other sites are very important.
    • Google will no list your site if its not found on an other webpage listed by them
  • Methods to get links on other pages
    • Link Exchange (free)
    • Paid Advertising
      • Google Adwords
      • Overture
      • Specific Websites
measuring results
Measuring Results
  • Once you have started your SEO campaign, you need to measure your results and make sure you are improving on SE Rankings
  • When you first make changes, SEs may take up to about four weeks to scan your site for changes.
    • There are millions of web pages for them to crawl, and so it takes time for them to get to you.
measuring results reasons for no improvements
Measuring ResultsReasons for no improvements
  • Sometimes, you may not notice an improvement in your rankings
    • This can be due to many reasons as many factors affect your SE rankings
      • Competition may be doing better
        • Marketing
        • More linking from other sites
        • Better SEO
      • Bad choice of keywords
      • Too much competition
      • Etc.
measuring results statistics monitoring
Measuring ResultsStatistics Monitoring
  • You can view statistics of visitors to your site.
    • Onestat (paid)
    • Google Analytics (free)
    • StatCounter (free)
  • You can see what engines are used more to find your site
    • You can also see which keywords are used to find your site, which helps with keyword research
    • This can help you target particular search engines and accommodate their searching methods.
measuring results seo software
Measuring ResultsSEO software
  • SEO software can be used to scan many SEs for phrases of your choice and produce visual results of how your website is doing.
    • Much faster than doing this manually
    • You can run regular searches and monitor your positioning easily and efficiently
  • Some SEO software can also help you scan you pages and make suggestions for improvements.
measuring results seo software cont
Measuring ResultsSEO software (cont.)
  • SEO tools :
    • WebPosition Gold
    • Advanced Web Ranking
  • Links to further SEO resources