Monday, 17 August 2009

Creeping up the Search Engines

I've been keeping an eye on how well is doing in the search engines.

The phrase I search for is website design brittany

The results are...

Google: 11th place - this puts me top of page two - not ideal but, about what I expected.

Bing: 10th place - thus, bottom of page one.

Yahoo: - nowhere to be seen. Not sure why this is but I need to do something about it.

Although I don't engage in any jiggery-pokery to optimise the sites I produce for the search engines (I prefer good content to any trickery), there are some things that I do in order to help the search engines index my sites (and my clients' sites). These are best summed up in the list below....

Name your images!

I used to be bad at this - then I learnt my lesson!

The images I used on my website used to be called images01.jpg or similar.

Now, the images are called beautiful_gite-in_southern_brittany02.jpg, or similar.

Google understand this; all Google understands from image01.jpg is that it is an image file - well, it knew that anyway!

My experience shows that this is one of the most important improvements you can make on an image heavy site!

Furthermore, every time you display an image on a website, you may include an ALT attribute and TITLE attribute for that image.

Alt and Title Tags for Images

As well as naming any images you use, you should also give those images Alt and Title tags. These help the search engines to index your site and, more importantly, help your visitors to navigate round your site.

Title Tags for your web pages

Title tags matter. It's what the user first sees on Google results.

Your title tags must contain your keywords. This way, the keyword will be included as link on the search engine index. Give a different title to each page, use keywords related to the page. Page Title and Meta Description gets displayed in the Search Engine results. Make it something interesting that people will want to click. Don't fill it up with keywords. Just make a quick message that entices the user to click. This way when you attain higher rankings, you'll get a better click-through rate !

Anchor Text

Use the keywords related to that page for any link text. Search engines algorithms are taking into consideration the text used for the link itself (anchor text) - "click here" is meaningless. But "Website Design in Brittany" corresponds exactly to your subject, and this specific page, even independently of its content, will be considered as an interesting page for "Website Design in Brittany" by the search engines.

For example, the following link has a meaningful title (rather than "click here") and, when the mouse is placed over the link, explanatory text is displayed...

This all goes to help getting your site indexed by Google and the other search engines.

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