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Search Engine Optimization: Focus on the Basics
Sunday, December 16, 2007
One thing that I am passionate about is simplicity. Sounds so simple huh? What I mean by this, is that it is the simple things in life that appear to make the biggest difference. Whether you are talking business strategy, tactical strategy, everyday communication, writing a song, building a house, creating a website, or performing SEO. The basis for each of these things is simplicity and basic fundamentals. When John Lennon wrote the song "Imagine", it was with a simple but amazing lyric. When Chuck Berry, one of the world's greatest poets wrote Johnny B. Goode and all of his other amazing songs, he wrote simple but catchy lyrics and guitar riffs. When Wayne Gretzky played hockey, he followed a simple philosophy, don't go to where the puck is or has been, go to where the puck will be. When Google created a Search Engine Results Page and redefined online advertising they did it with a simple white results page with blue text links. The point that I am trying to make is that whether we admit to it or not, we respond to simplicity. K.I.S.S --> Keep It Simple Stupid.

When it comes to SEO and people ask me for leading edge online marketing strategies for Web 2.0 and such I tell them one thing. "Take care of the fundamentals first." I am big on SEO fundamentals and basic SEO. Why? Because you would not believe how may people, businesses and websites overlook this fact. Quite often a prospect will come to us and say that they need a social media marketing strategy or need a dynamic online marketing strategy with all of the <insert latest SEO trend here> for more return from their website. Yet you take one look at their site and there are no optimized or unique title tags on their pages, they have less than 50 pages indexed in the major engines, their URLs are a mile long and they have 6 links to their homepage. They haven't taken care of the SEO fundamentals such as basic optimization, content development, URL structure and linking inventories. Perhaps the greatest advice anyone can give to someone looking for online marketing is to ensure that the basics are covered. A recent WebPro News interview with Google's Matt Cutt's and Search Engine Land's featured editor, Vanessa Fox illustrate the same thing about making sure you take care of the fundamentals first when it comes to marketing your site. Which leads me to the actual point of this post.

I need to give props up to Rand Fishkin over at SEOmoz. I'm not sure if he had writer's block, but he has decided to put together a series of posts on "Re-Writing the Beginner's Guide to SEO". Actually Rand explains his reasoning here. He has presented some great information in the first four parts of the series which is broken down like this:
  • Part I: How Search Engines Operate
    • Crawling & Indexing the Web
    • Retrieval & Rankings
    • How Search Marketers Study & Learn from Algorithms & Patent Applications
    • Understanding the Visuals of Search Results Pages
    • Vertical, "Universal" & Specialized Search Results

  • Part II: How People Interact with Search Engines
    • Search Engine Market Share
    • Search Engine Usage Data
    • Commercial Activity Driven by Search

  • Part III: Why Search Engine Marketing is Necessary
    • Limitations of Search Indexing Technology
    • Competition & Rankings
    • A Constantly Changing Search Landscape

  • Part IV: The Basics of Search-Engine Friendly Design & Development
    • Indexable Markup
    • Crawlable Link Structures
    • Keyword Usage & Targeting
    • Titles, URLs, Meta Data & Semantic Code
    • Canonical & Duplicate Versions of Content
    • Redirection, Server & Hosting Issues
Part four really contains some critical information that I find, for whatever reason, many webmasters and site owner's overlook. Items such as:
  • Indexable Content - Making your content available to the search engines. As Rand points out, your content must be in HTML text content. Images, Flash files, Java applets, and other non-text content is virtually invisible to search engine spiders, despite advances in crawling technology.

  • Crawlable Link Structures - You need to allow search engine spiders to be able to browse the pathways of a website - in order to find all of the pages on a website. Here is a big mistake that we often come across with clients. Using Javascript for links. If you use Javascript for links, you may find that search engines either do not crawl or give very little weight to the links embedded within. Standard HTML links should replace Javascript (or accompany it) on any page where you'd like spiders to crawl.
Great post by Rand as this is great information for people looking to improve the search engine friendliness of the site.


posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Sunday, December 16, 2007  
  • At 6:48 PM, Blogger MIKE said…

    very great information and nice blog

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