Speaking of SEO, I’ve been using my SEO Keyword Tool a lot lately for my own personal work and decided to give it an under-the-hood update.
Many people are jumping on the buzzword “SEO” and “Search Engine Optimization” lately and some are fraudulently trying to sell you these services, as if they are some “expert”. Frankly (like everyone overusing XML a few years ago), I find it somewhat funny.
“Optimizing” a website should be part of the process of website creation, before you launch it and make it public. If you want to target your audience, you do ALL that is required to do just that. This means:
- Include all of the proper meta tags for your HTML. This doesn’t just mean ‘description’ and ‘keywords’ meta tags, it means ALL of the meta tags which can be used to help describe your document. These should include ‘copyright’, ‘revisit-after’, ‘robots’, ‘Cache-Control’, ‘author’, ‘googlebot’ and others. If you need a full list of these tags, you can find one at HTML Reference.
- Validating your HTML and your CSS
- Indenting and/or compressing your HTML and CSS (or remove non-visible whitespace). Try using the CSS Compressor at CSS Drive if you want to see how it works.
- Optimize your graphics for web (color palette, size, dimensions, proper width/height img tags; pngcrush -brute for png files, jpegs at no higher than 85% quality, etc.)
- Organize your content correctly, so it flows in a non-confusing way and is not overly wide. Studies have been done that validate that content that is “too wide” or too narrow, will cause people to stop reading. One called “The Effects of Line Length on Children and Adults – Online Reading Performance” is particularly detailed.
- Make sure your colors, fonts and styles are all appropriate for a broad audience. You don’t want to exclude the elderly who might not be able to see 6-point fonts in your graphics, or whites on greys that exclude the colorblind, or missing alt tags and tabbing order that might exclude the blind altogether).
- Last but not least, NO HTML TABLES!! If your content would look appropriate when pasted into a spreadsheet, then tables are the right approach. If not, tables are FLAT OUT WRONG.
If you’re not doing this already, you should be. If you ARE already doing these things, pat yourself on the back. You’re now doing SEO without even realizing it.
If you don’t know what the SEO tool I’ve written is for, I’ve talked about it before. What my tool does is take any pasted, uploaded or content at a remote URL, analyzes the words found in that content and reports back the highest-frequency keywords used in the content… excluding all of the obvious words like ‘and’ and ‘the’ and so on.
Those keywords can then be used in your target page’s meta tags to help drive traffic to your page. You can even do a test by submitting the “Before” version of your page through Submit Express and then adding the keywords my tool suggests, and then running your “After” page through Submit Express again, to see how you’re ranking. You should be getting higher than 95% on all scores to be sure you’re setting the right values for your keywords.
Now, what this tool does NOT do (yet) is suggest “better” words to use in your content, to get higher rankings. It doesn’t do what a human should be doing with your content.. and that is making it relevant to your target niche, and converting visitors into customers.
That’s YOUR job, not mine (unless you want to hire me to do so, of course).
The tool is faster and now links to another site in the final results page that can suggest alternate keywords in your range, based on the words analyzed from your existing content.
For example, if I point the tool to today’s Slashdot page, I see that the word ‘networks’ comes up in the results. If I click on that word, I now see the following 13 related words:
networks (13 related words found) net network software systems tv networks communications technologies networking corp lan net's network's
If I were writing content that I wanted to use to target the keyword ‘networks’, I would be sure to include some of those 13 words within my content or articles.
See how this works? It’s all a very-specific science, but it’s not impossible to learn. All in under 200 lines of PHP code.
Go have fun and play with it, and if you find it useful, consider donating or visiting my Amazon Wish List to see what sort of shiny things you think I might like (I promise the rubber ducky isn’t for me, it’s for my daughter)