There are two major parts to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) -- On Page Optimization and Off Page Optimization. On Page refers to what you can control on your own website. This is usually the easiest and cheapest to fix because you completely control your website (usually), so you can make all the necessary changes whenever you are ready.
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Technical Limitations of Search Engines
No search engine can understand and analyze a web page exactly like humans. They work on the basis of clues that help them comprehend the relevance of a page.
When you perform Search Engine Optimization, you add these clues and proper structure to your content, which helps the search engines figure out the relevance and utility of your website. That’s why in today’s virtual world where the competition is cutthroat, SEO gives you an incredible opportunity to earn more attention from your target market through better rankings in search engines -- especially when you have an SEO Service Provider that Really Knows His Stuff.
It is extremely valuable when a business recognizes the limitations of search engines so that they can leverage these limitations to their advantage with the help of SEO. And when Internet Marketing is done well, your business will receive increased traffic and visibility.
The amazing artificial intelligence with which the search engines’ "spiders" work for crawling and indexing the content is extremely remarkable. But these search engines are not all-powerful and they have their limits. These technical limitations can influence both the rankings and the inclusion of the websites. Here are some common problems that limit the power of search engines:
• If the content is hidden behind online forms like – a login form, the search engines may not be able to find them as they can’t complete online forms.
• They can’t reach all the contents of a website if the link structure is poor and then the content is deemed as unimportant.
• If the website uses a Content Management System that creates duplicate versions of the same content, it can be ignored by the engines as they look for completely original content.
• If the content is not written in common terms that are used for search, it may confuse the search engines and the result will not be relevant. Although, Google is getting smarter about recognizing synonyms.
• If the queries contain mixed contextual signals, the result will not be relevant. For example – If the page title of the content is “Best Beach Bar” but the content is about “New Year Celebration on a Beach Bar”.
• Search engines find it difficult to analyze non-text content, such as – images, videos, flash files, plug-in content, and audio. Again, they are getting more sophisticated. For example, speech-to-text transcription programs exist, so don't be surprised if Google is either already or soon will be listening to audio and video online for clues.
Thus, the above-mentioned limitations of search provide businesses with a great incentive to actively perform SEO. When your website is structured for both search engines and humans alike, it definitely becomes more popular. Therefore, the importance of Search Engine Marketing and talented Internet Marketers can never be ignored.
How to Create Search Engine Friendly Design
SEO will work only if your website is designed and structured appropriately. Even the best SEO practices, like doing SEO with your website's H tags, will not yield the desired results if your website is not easily navigable by the search engines. Read through to know how to design a search engine friendly website:
Use Indexable Content
Use HTML text format to get indexed in the search engines. If you use Flash Files, Images, Java applets, or other non-text content, it is likely to simply go unnoticed by the search engine spiders. However, if you still want to include these visual display styles, follow these methods:
• Add text to the pages that contain Java plug-in or flash content.
• Supplement the search boxes with crawlable or navigation links. Be aware of the different HTTP status codes that can affect your website's SEO.
• Give a transcript with the audio or video content, if you want the words and phrases to be indexed.
• If you have the same or very similar content in multiple places, consider using canonical tags.
• Assign “alt attributes” to the images that are in JPG, GIF, or PNG format. The “alt attribute” provides the search engines with an HTML text description of the images.
After putting content on the website, double-check it to see which parts of the content are indexable and visible to the search engines. You can check this by right clicking on a page and selecting "view source." If the text you want the search engines to see doesn't appear in the source, then they can't read it.
The bottom line is, if you don’t provide your website pages with HTML text, it will become very difficult to get ranked in the search engines. Not impossible. Difficult.
Use Navigable Link Structure
Search engines find new pages via links from pages they have already found. Therefore, a navigable link structure helps the spiders find all the pages on a website. If your site’s pages are not interlinked or if the site’s navigational structure is created in such a way that the spiders are unable to access all the pages, then they will not get listed in the search engines’ databases.
Thus, it is important that the search engines are able to see the links in order to browse the trail of the websites. If you fail to provide your site with this crawlable link structure, the search engine will never be able to reach them or even know that these pages exist and then not even smart marketing, good keyword targeting or great content will be able to promote those pages.
Some common reasons that make the pages unreachable:
• If the content on your site can be accessed only after submitting or filling the forms, the search engines will never be able to reach those protected pages.
• If your site’s contents can only be searched using a search box, they will always remain hidden because the spiders never perform searches to find out relevant content.
• If the links point to the pages that are blocked by Robot.txt and Meta Robots tag, it will cease the spider’s access to the pages.
• If the page that has a link to your website contains more than 100 outbound links above your link, it may not be crawled and indexed by the search engines and as a result, your website’s page will not get any link value.
• If links to your website are in I-frames or Frames, there is a chance that the search engines’ spiders will not be able to crawl them due to structural issues.
When you avoid these simple things, you get crawlable, clean links and let the spiders access your content pages easily.
Using rel = “nofollow”
When you apply the nofollow attribute to a link tag, you tell the search engines not to interpret that particular link as a normal editorial vote. This nofollow tag helps stop link injection spam and automated blog comments.
Simply put, nofollow is a way of indicating the search engines not to count a link value and thus those links do not pass as much value as other normal "followed" links.
Smart Use of Keywords
A keyword is basically the technical term for a search phrase. Keywords are the base of the search. The search engines have millions of keyword-centered databases, in which they store the pages that are already crawled and indexed. This makes the whole tracking and data retrieving process easier and faster.
For example – when a user performs the search with the keyword – “Diamond”, the search engine finds the relevant database that contains the pages with the keyword, Diamond. Then it ranks those documents based on the popularity or importance and then returns with the results. The engines have to complete the whole process in a fraction of a second and the databases that are centered on keyword phrases or terms make the process much faster.
This is why it is important that you use specific keywords in the indexable contents of your website as only then the page will have a chance of getting ranked in the search results.
When the user puts a keyword in the search box, the search engines produce the relevant results based on that particular keyword. In this process, the search engines use additional information for retrieving only the right pages and rank them. This additional information includes – order of the words in a keyword, capitalization of the keywords, punctuation, and spelling.
In order to provide the most relevant results, the search engines measure how the keywords are used on the page as a major way of determining your page's relevance. Therefore, it is advised to use specific keywords in the text, titles, and links on your pages.
The unnatural use of keywords, where the keyword term or phrase is sprinkled in the content in an irrelevant way, is called keyword stuffing or keyword abuse. Though the search engines haven’t reached that level of sophistication that they can comprehend content like humans, they are pretty good at recognizing keyword stuffing. That’s why, if you still rely on the older tactics of stuffing keywords into URL, text, links, and meta tags, you run the risk of getting penalized.
The search engines consider keyword stuffing to be manipulative and take it very seriously. Always use the keywords strategically and naturally and refrain from overusing it. As long as you use it once or twice, you should be OK. Then, if you absolutely want to use it more, just use variations of the keyword -- this will help you rank for alternate related searches as well as protect you from being penalized.
Conclusions about On Page SEO
On Page SEO is often where you should start in your Internet Marketing efforts because it is quick and easy to fix the biggest things you are doing wrong. I have a client who wasn't ranking at all for any of his major search phrases. I fixed his website to be properly set up for the search engines and within a few weeks, he was ranking in the top 3 pages for many of his targeted phrases.
Clearly what you do on your page is important. Tell the search engines what you are about in the proper manner and you will be well on your way to growing your business online.
Fill out a Discovery Form Today to have me show you for FREE where you can improve your site to become more relevant to the search engines. I, the Dallas SEO Geek, gets you results from my SEO Services at a lower risk to you. If you have a local business, you also want to check out my Local SEO page.
Additional Reading: Part 1 of this series first at SEO 101: A Beginner's Guide.