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SEO What ?

emoticon:html Ahh.. tis another sad day. Crying or Very sad

A while ago my web guru friend [1] - rejigged my CSS and did me a nice new design that did away with the table based layout. (He even did me the funky logo in my header). Unfortunately the new layout didn't solve the problems I had. It seemed impossible to fix a minimum size of a div in a fluid design. Some pages were terminally broken in anything but a full sized browser. Mad

I've admitted defeat and switched back to a table based layout. Thankfully the CSS layout that Justin opted for meant that I only needed to change a couple of lines in my includes, and every page was fixed. I expected it to be a lot more work than this. Very Happy

Anyway all that was by way of an aside to what I'd really like to mention - which is SEO. Justin has also been teaching me about SEO - and I've finally got round to implementing some of his suggestions.

I still consider it a wart that website designers have to write their content for search engines and not for humans. It's a fact of life that probably 90% of your traffic will come from search engines (and most of that will be from google). This means that the key to bringing people to your website, is how it appears to the search engines.

Searching is a bit of an art in itself. We are all by now well familiar with searching for say cookies and getting far more results than we can possibly check - and most of them irrelevant to what we're really looking for which is the http protocol cookies and not the munchable variety.

So we refine our search by narrowing the terms. If Joe Bloggs searches for python cookies then my site appears at about position 8 or 9. However, if Joe searches for python "cookie articles" then my site doesn't appear at all. Sad

There are basically two parts to SEO. The first is using relevant values in the meta description and keyword tags. This is the part I'm in the process of addressing.

The other part is figuring out what search terms and phrases people are likely to use to search for the content you provide. You then sprinkle these keywords and phrases throughout your content. This is what I mean by 'writing for search engines'. An article that is well written for search engines might sound awkward and repetitive - but is likely to get a lot more hits than an article that is a model of concise erudition [2].


A useful way of working out common keyword phrases is to use Google Suggest.

You enter a search term and it suggests additonal terms based on common searches. It uses funky AJAX to do it.

A bit of playing around with this usually yields a set of phrases and keywords that it is worth including.

Until search engines have more 'natural language' type skills, this is going to remain the case. Yuk. I think I refuse to write my content for search engines... and will have to rely on luck and the sheer outstanding quality of my content to bring in the punters. Wink

[1]And also - his web design company.
[2]After all, how many people are likely to search for "concise erudition". Laughing

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-10-03 13:10:15 | |

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