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Search Engine Optimization basics

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Whether you are a new webmaster or planning to launch your own website, the first thing you will think of is how to make your website appears in the first page of search results. To do so you have to understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO consists of number of steps and principles that you must take care of when building your website. You must comply with SEO guidelines in every step you take when building your website starting from choosing the website’s domain name to the HTML source code of your pages.

Choosing your Domain name

It does not matter which Top-level domain you will use for your domain you can choose .com, .org, .net or you can even go and register a domain with the new and innovative extension like .xyz and .name. the gTLD you choose will not affect your SEO or your website rank in the future unless you choose to host your website on a subdomain or a free domain that was abused before, such domains may have a bad reputation due to previous spam history or prohibited link building techniques.

Content is the most important part

After choosing a problem free domain you must know that the content of any website represents more than 90% of its web ranking power and appearance in Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Content of your website is not only the text and information you provide but also the way you organize its display and how search engine’s crawler will see it. There are some HTML guidelines that you must follow to make sure that your page is search engine friendly.

The HTML

Title tag must be present in your head section of your website; the content of this tag will be used as the title for your web links that will appear in the SERP.


<head>
<title>Example Title</title>
</head>

Although the description Meta tag is not required for your page to appear in the SERP but it is always good to add a Meta description tag for each page in your website.


<head>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="description" content="website description goes here">
<meta name="author" content="Your name">
</head>

H1 Tag is very important and considered a key part in SEO for any webpage in your website. It is always good to keep only one H1 tag for each page in your website, the H1 tag is the headline that describes the content of your page.


<h1>This is heading 1</h1>

When adding some images to your content make sure to add alt attribute to your img tag, as the alt tag will contain the key text that will describe your image so that the Search engines can understand your images and display it to users in SERP.


<img src="smiley.gif" alt="Smiley face">

Make sure to add Meta robots noindex tag to duplicate and automatically generated pages such as search results page within your website. This tag prevents search engine’s crawler from indexing these kind of pages avoiding any penalties that could result from duplicate content in these pages.


<html>
<head>
<title>...</title>
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">
</head>

Duplicate content and rich snippets

As it is very important to avoid duplicate pages in your websites you may need to use rel=”canonical” tag in your head section that will tell search engines the desired webpage to be indexed among several duplicate pages. It is always a good idea to use rich snippets structured data such as Schema.org or OG (Open Graph protocol); these rich snippets will highlight the key data within your content that will make search engines have better understanding for your content.

The main content and rich text

Your content is the main reason why your visitors will enter your website, always try to publish unique and useful content that users will appreciate and recommend to others. Publishing spam or auto generated content using translation or content rephrasing tools will harm your search rank as search engines are becoming smarter. Avoid copying and plagiarism, to be on the safe side always write new and fresh content by yourself or by hiring others. Stealing from others will harm your website and will not help you in establishing a successful website.

The tricky backlinks

After reading this, you may ask yourself how do websites with little or no content such as web apps, tools and services websites rank well and appear in the first page. To understand the reason you must know the importance of backlinks in the SEO world. Backlinks are the key information that search engines use to determine the reputation of your website. When search engine’s spiders crawl the whole World Wide Web they are looking for backlinks that point to your pages, the reputable backlink you get will increase your reputation and rank in the search engines eyes.