Guidelines for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Getting your website listed high in search engine results such can be tricky, and time-consuming. SEO companies charge big dollars to optimize their client’s sites so they will be listed first in search engine results.
The good new is that Net-at-hand follows general best-practice guidelines for html markup so your website’s content will be properly marked up to be friendly for search engines.
Net-at-hand does it’s part to make sure your site is search engine friendly, it is up to you to optimize the content of your site for the search engines. Following is a list of steps that you can take to get you started on that route.
Note: some of the things listed below will require that you have “show advanced settings” enabled in your user profile (under the “Account” tab).
Pick your keywords
The first step is to decide what keywords (the search terms that people enter) you want your site to show well in. What key words you choose is entirely up to who you are and what the purpose of your site is, but keep the number of words or phrases to between 3 and 5.
If you are a Brazilian, baptist church in a certain metropolitan (like Orlando, for example), and the purpose of your website is to help others find your church, then you would want to target “Brazilian”, “Baptist”, “Church”, and “Orlando”. Those would be your key words.
If you are a company that sells shipping supplies on your website, then you would want to target the main categories of products that you sell, because the you want to get people who are looking for those items to come to your site.
Place the keywords on your website in meaningful places
The next step, and really the only thing left to do as far as your site is concerned, is to put those keywords on your site as much as possible (there is one caveat about this below), and to put those key words in important areas. So if your keywords are “Brazilian”, “Baptist”, “Church”, and “Orlando”, you want these to show up all over your site in important places (listed below). Search engines can only know your site is about a certain thing if you have those things on your site repeatedly.
Warning!—There is one thing you need to be careful about, don’t try scam the keywords by putting them in meaningless places. For example, if you have a page on your site that only has your keywords on it repeated hundreds of times, that is not going to help you. Search engines caught on long ago that sites would try this so they actual mark it against you if you use those techniques.
Keep the content real, but tweak the content so it has your keywords as much as possible. For example, write several paragraphs of information about “Brazilian Baptist Church” use those keywords in your paragraphs.
Ok, now that we have the warning out of the way, there are a few special places that search engines really want to see your keywords in.
In the “Settings” area of the “Site” tab, there is a field called “description” (make sure you have “show advanced settings” enabled). This is a general description for you site’s content and is a good place to start telling the search engines what your site is about. Write a good sentence about your site, or your products, or your church, make sure it includes your kewords as much as possible, and place it into the description area. This description will be added to all your site’s pages (you can override the description for different pages if you want to).
A note about the keywords field—you can list your keywords in this field (located just under the description field), but most search engines ignore these for the most part, so it isn’t really going to help you. But it won’t hurt either.
The title of any page that you have is listed as the title of the page for search engines (it shows up in the menu bar of most browsers). If you can include some, or all, of your keywords there it will help.
Headings on a page (created by placing a # at the beginning of a line of type—see the help bar on the left in your admin area for more help) tell search engines that your page is about whatever the heading says. So if you put your keywords in headings, search engines will know your page is about those keywords.
When you make something bold in Net-at-hand (by placing an * in front and behind your bold type, again, see the help in the Net-at-hand admin area), the system wraps that type in a “” HTML tag. This is a way of marking the content to show that this text is important.
Search engines pay attention to these tags, and add greater emphasis on them when organizing search results. So, if as was mentioned earlier, if you write a couple paragraphs of text for your home page that include those keywords, put that phrase in bold, so that search engines will know it is an important part of your page.
When you attach an image to a page in Net-at-hand, the title of that attachment defaults to “New Attached Image”. This title tells you what Net-at-hand is thinking about your image, but it does not tell search engines anything about the picture.
So, going back to our Brazilian church example, if you have a picture of the church building on your home page, it would be best to title that attachment “Brazilian Baptist Church of Orlando” so that search engines will know what the picture is of. This will just add to the search engines knowledge of what your site is about.
What to do after your site is optimized
Optimizing your site to target your keywords is the most important thing you can do to get your site listed high in search engine results for certain things.
After that, the most important thing you can do is get other sites to link to your site. Search engines put what they consider to be important sites at the top of their listings, and one way they decide who is important is the number of sites linking to yours. However, the number of sites that link to yours, isn’t any more important that the quality of sites that are linking to yours.
Some sites are known as “link farms.” For a small fee, you can get your site listed on a link farm so it will help you build your list of sites linking back to yours. Stay away from these. Search engines will bump your rank up as sites that are related to yours link back to yours. Going back to our example, one link on a well-respected directory of Baptist Churches will help you more than links on 100 different generic link lists.
If you do a search for “search engine optimization” you can find enough material to be reading for weeks, but these techniques are really the most important things you can do. If you do them, you will be off to a good start.