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Jeremy Morgan

Mostly Coherent Ramblings of a Silicon Forest Software Developer

Page Optimization for Dummies

By: Jeremy Morgan

In the SEO world, so much talk revolves around inbound links. It seems the main focus is always on inbounds, how to get them, how to keep them, and how to attract links from “authority” sites.

While inbound linking is crucial to SEO, many people neglect, or outright ignore another crucial part of SEO: page optimization.

In this article, I’ll give a few tips, and a high level look at what page optimization is all about. I’ll explain some of the meaning behind it, and hopefully you’ll find something you’ve missed on your own site.

Title Tag

You can write a whole article about the title tag. In fact, later on I will. A good title tag serves two purposes. Foremost, it entices users to click on your page. Most search engines use your title tag as the inbound link. Secondly, it is a valuable part of the search engine algorithm. This means two things. Make your title enticing, and use keywords in it.

_Extra tip: Use a different title tag for every page on your site. _

Meta Tags

Fellow SEOs, start up your flamethrowers! Meta tags are not dead. They certainly aren’t as relevant as they were in 1998, but they are still used. In fact, google uses the description tag quite a bit. If you don’t want google to choose for you, put the desired text in the tag. Meta tags don’t hold a lot of weight these days, in fact i somewhat doubt the keyword tag holds any weight at all. But it only takes about a minute to add them, so why not? Make metatags, and optimize them for your content, and the sales pitch you want shown in the listing.

_Extra Tip: Use different meta tag data for every page on your site. _

Use a single, relevant H1 tag describing your content.

Pretty self explanatory. Use an H1 tag only once per page and make sure it states what that page is about. Spiders read H1s an factor them into the ranking. This is not always easy if you’re using a CMS or particular piece of software.

_Extra Tip: If the H1 text is too large, make it smaller with CSS. _

Use H2, H3 tags for subheadings.

Remember in school, when they taught you do to outlines? Think of h2 and higher tags as subheadings, that’s what they were designed for. Organize the content well so that relevant text is placed below each of the topics outlined in the tags. This provides a schema for the spider to determine the relevancy of the page.

Use bulleted lists.

Bulleted lists are a benefit from an SEO standpoint, but also from a human standpoint. When you break up information into lists it makes it easier to follow and increases the chances the reader will process it,rather than skipping it over.

Extra Tip: Use bulleted lists with CSS to make menus. This uses much less code, and is more extensible later.

Use text navigation, and structure it properly.

Again like the outline theory, you want your main page to branch off into sub category pages, and have all subcategories linked from the main site. Make sure your navigation is easy to use so you don’t lose the customer. Use text navigation, and if you must use graphics, name the images by the subject, and use alt tags to describe the link. Flash navigation, while nifty, is virtually ignored by spiders.

I hope this has helped a little in making sense of what page optimization is all about. In the ever changing SEO scene, it’s becoming more important than ever to make sure your landing page is set up right.