Michael J.A. Clark
Michael Clark is a professional software developer who creates high-quality products for startups in Cambridge, UK. Skills: C#, Java, PHP, XHTML, AS3, CSS, ML.

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Email
mjac@mjac.co.uk
Skype
mjacdotuk
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mjacuk

Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation is determines the success and popularity by controlling the majority influx of new users. Content creators must use SEO to reach the largest audience possible.

Basic strategies

A simple criteria search engines use is keyword matching — I managed to achieve a high ranking on Google by increasing how many times I wrote my name and aliases on my homepage. Placing key phrases in the title, page headings and the meta description had the greatest effect. The meta description tag is used by search engines instead of a content excerpt. Meta keywords are obsolete and should not be used, Google infers the keywords.

XHTML coupled with good page structure results in high search engine rankings. This is true, but only when coupled with high quality content. Getting featured on a popular website because of this content can dramatically increase visitor counts both directly through links and indirectly by improving the Google PageRank.

Use semantic URLs that search engines can index and users can understand. SitePoint demonstrates three common methods in Search Engine-Friendly URLs.

Search engine analysis

  • Yahoo! Site Explorer shows all the pages that have been indexed under a specific domain and all the pages that link to that domain
  • Google Sitemaps requires registration but provides query, crawl and index statistics including the keywords used to find your site and the position of your page under those keywords

Video resources

Matt Cutts, a Google employee, posted informative videos on his blog about search-engine related topics including:

Google’s advice

From Webmaster Guidelines:

  • Have other relevant sites link to yours
  • Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!
  • Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link
  • Make sure that your site actually includes the words users type to find your pages
  • Use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links
  • Examine your site in a text browser (such as Lynx) because this is how search engine spiders see your site

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