Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Search engine optimisation and content searchability

Demise of the meta keyword


I am still working with a lot of content authors who think buy stuffing words into their meta keyword fields and writing massive page descriptions are somehow going to increase their site/page searchability and ranking within search engines. They don't.


As mentioned in a previous post even my CMS vendor believes (even in this day and age) that somehow managing meta keywords is the key to SEO.

When Search Engines first kicked off (dark ole' pre-Google days) meta tags were the key information used by search engines to identify page content. This lead to all sorts of e-marketing scammers making millions spamming keywords and page descriptions.

Obviously the sophistication of SEO has greatly improved with the advent of Google style Page ranking, link popularity and the actual searching of content and not just meat fields and titles.
This too has lead to all sorts of e-marketing scammers but Google really has done a great deal to protect the integrity of its ranking technology to avoid these types of things (i.e. the white text on white background, domain name squatters using link pages etc etc).

Perhaps the only good use of meta keywords these days is a general indicator for other content authors in your organisation as to what the target keywords are and thus that they should be used in your keyword maps.

Good content - good searchability

With more internal search engines following more of a Google model (indeed many are now adopting the Google app) this applies to web content and intranet content in equal measure.

I'll reinforce my position that good web content and intranet content is fundamentally structured the same way (leaving aside to a degree social/ web/enterprise 2.0 collaborative stuff).
  • Accessible sites are searchable sites
  • Well written web content is searchable content
  • User-focused content is searchable content

SEO marketing and natural searches

It's important to highlight the difference between search engine marketing (Google adwords etc) and natural search optimisation (free listings).

What I'm concerned about here is natural search engine optimisation for websites and intranets and I'll leave the e-marketing stuff to someone else.

Searchability and Findability

I'll highlight the separation between searchability and findability here also.

When I mean 'searchability' I'm talking specifically about a search engine (either internally or externally) indexing a site and producing relevant results for users of that search engine. 'Findability' is a larger concept.

Basics of good SEO

  • Use keyword maps - Page titles, headings and keywords in first paragraphs need a common thread. The link/navigation to the page has the keyword focus.
  • Links should not be images, not Flash, not Javascript. Simple accessible text links is the way to go.
  • key content is in text. Text! not flash, not image not fancy java apps. Good ole plain HTML/XHTML rendered text. Otherwise forget about indexing.
  • CSS can be utilised to great effect for good SEO. Use it to structure your site in divs. Don't use tables.
  • Pages are coded following W3C standards and guidelines. It is generally web developers themselves that keep pages from being indexed and ranked. Crappy code means unsearchable content.
  • Content is of a quality that makes other people want to link to it. Links are good.
  • Link to content don't duplicate it. Really important especially internally. Have a single source and provide links through. This also benefits users as they are presented with multiple locations of exactly the same content. See CMS container issues.
  • URLs are clear.Most search engines can index URLs with variables but they do tend to avoid them on occasion. Do URL rewrites to form nice readable URLs if you've got a dynamic content site. Again it's also good for your users.
  • Content is written for users and uses user-focused words and language (for intranets as well).
  • Forget short-cut scams. Follow good development and content basics. Focus on natural search optimisation not marketing optimisation. Get free listings!
  • Write lots of good content that people want to read. This is what gets indexed highly.

SEO links:

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10 Comments:

At 2:12 PM, Blogger ladynada said...

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At 6:19 PM, Anonymous GOOGLE SEO BLOG said...

Hi:
Very interesting ideas on white hat SEO.

Best regards,

Ardan Michael BLUM

 
At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Ardan Michael BLUM said...

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At 4:59 AM, Blogger anne1978 said...

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At 2:12 AM, Blogger Shanon Sandquist said...

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At 12:05 AM, Blogger Shanon Sandquist said...

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At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:21 PM, Blogger Alan said...

http://www.wavestech.net

 

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