Basic SEO Components

Your first question may be “What is SEO?” SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is easy to integrate SEO into current sites, and even easier to add while the site is being developed. There are a few things you can add to the HTML code to optimize your website for search engines to more easily find you. Here is a list of the main basic SEO components:

  1. Meta tags – keywords and description
  2. Title tag
  3. Title attribute for links
  4. Alt attribute for images

Meta Tags

The meta tags are used by search engines to determine if your web page should be displayed during a user’s search. There are two meta tags that are very important to add to each page of you website in the head tag:

<head>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”red,cars,sports cars,coupe,sedan,foreign,domestic,audi,chevrolet,toyota, volvo”/>
<meta name=”description” content=”We have many images of popular foreign and domestic red cards from Audi to Volvo.”/>
</head>

The keywords meta tag contains words that relate to the information on that particular page. For example, if you have a page dedicated to red cars, “red” and “cars” would be two keywords you would use; however, “blue” would not be a keywords to use.

The description meta tag is a short, but descriptive paragraph about the page. Search engines will display this information when your page is in the user’s search result page. It can help a user determine if they want to click on the link to your site.

Title Tag

The title tag is important because it tells the user and the search engines what the page is about in one line, and is also displayed in a user’s search results. Here’s an example title tag:

<title>Pictures of Red Cars – Foreign and Domestic</title>

The title tag is also displayed in the top left of the browser window so users can see where they are in your website.

Title Attribute for Links

When making links, you need to include the title attribute. It looks like this:

<a href=”www.mysite.com/red-cars.html” title=”See images of red cars”>Pictures of Red Cars</a>

The information you put in the title attribute will show up when a user rolls over the link. While it helps give search engine a few more words to decide if your page has the information a user is searching for, it also gives the user more information.

Alt Attribute for Images

The alt attribute for the img tag works the same way the title attribute works for the a tag. Since search engines and people cannot read images within code, it needs to be explained like this:

<img src=”images/red-car.jpg” alt=”New red Chevrolet Camaro with street background” />

The alt attribute is also important for accessibility for handicapped users. If a user is blind, they have software that reads the alt tag to them so while they cannot see the image, they can hear information about it.

What is the Result?

If you have correctly utilized the meta and title tags, search engines will be better equipped to find you. Using the examples from above, this is how a search engine would display the information if a user were to search for “red cars”:

How tags are used in search engine results

How tags are used in search engine results

Why Optimize?

Optimizing your site can help your pages get up higher in rankings in search engines. There is no guarantee how high on the results page you will rank, but good optimization can help you get closer to the top. This can take a long time. Search engines want to make sure that the information on your website is relevant to a user’s search query. While SEO may not produce the fast results of online advertising, over time you will see the benefits of having your site fully optimized.

What’s Next?

Once you have built your site and added in SEO, the next step is getting your site out there. Stay tuned as we discuss site submission and link exchange.

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