SEO 2004 – the basics are still the same 2013

I was dusting one of my old hard-drives and found my first guide about SEO from 2004, the year Google looked like this. I wrote the guide to show how easy it was to fix common SEO issues. I know the guide is old, but there is still relevant information in it, and guess what! It’s still quite easy to fix common SEO mistakes! Want to find out how? Read on! 

SEO guide 2004

Optimization Guide – Search Engine Positioning

Here are some of my suggestions on how to improve a website’s rankings in the search results. Please note, this guide is very basic and does not cover all there is to SEO; however, it should get you started.

“Untitled Document”

Have you ever stumbled across a webpage and found the following in the upper left corner of your browser, “Untitled document”?

The reason this happens is because the author forgot to give a their page a title. Without a title the webpage will never get a good rank in the search result. The title is one of the key elements of a HTML document as it describes what the page is about.

You insert a title in the HTML code between the following tags:

<title> My title </title>

The title should be between 3-8 words and describe what the webpage is about. Use words that you select with great care and you wish to rank for (keywords). Important is that your keywords also appear in the the rest of the copy on your page.

Comment from 2013: Dreamweaver in 2004 gave new html documents the default title “untitled document”. I don’t remember if Adobe’s GoLive did it, but since Dreamweaver was so popular, a missing title was quite common.

The Main <h1>Heading</h1>

Not to be confused with the <title>, but it can in principle be the same. The main heading is exactly as it sounds, the first heading of the webpage and describes what the page is about. DO NOT use images as headings. The heading must be text because search engines cannot read images.  Sure, you can make stylish text formatting in images, but it’s no good if you want to achieve good rankings in the search result. Horror Examples are websites where not only the header is an image, but also the rest of the copy is an image.

In HTML there are different title sizes. You should use <h1> that tag around the main heading. If you think the font is too big and ugly you can easily style it with CSS.

Images and the ALT description

A common issue! The ALT text (or the alternative description) is for the visually impaired so their text readers can get a description of what the image represents. Since search engines are also “visually impaired ” they need this ALT description. It’s this ALT-text you see as a pop-up text when you hover with the mouse pointer over an image.

Always give your images an alternative text. You do this by using the alt parameter of the image tag.

<img src=”apollo13.jpg” width=”100″ height=”208″ alt=”Apollo 13″>

The “ALT” text should obviously explain what the picture represents.

The Copy

Is something that often can be improved. Write your content and to stick to the topic of your website. Be objective and make sure the text contains the keywords you used in the heading and in <title> tag. Important to remember is to not spam the text with keywords since it could have a negative effect.

The Links

All pages are linked to each other in one way or another, either through a navigation menu or directly in the text of the page. What is important to remember is that the anchor text contains your most important keywords. Using graphics like clickable buttons that link to pages is NOT good. Replace graphic buttons with text links . There are many ways to format text with CSS that gives you readable and attractive text links.

Frames

Are a NO in when doing search engine optimization.

Frames have always been a problem when it comes to web design. It happens quite often that you come to a website where the search engine has indexed only parts of the site. As an example, it could be that you visit a site where the menu does not load and so you end up directly on the main frame.  The search engines may not index the meny.htm as it does not contain any relevant information and then you most likely have some irritated visitors. There are ways to prevent this by using JavaScript that reloads the main page of the frameset if someone surfs to it directly.

If your website is built with frames you should probably start thinking about redesigning it.

Conclusion

I hope that these optimization tips can bring something to your web site and your search engine rankings. It is not difficult to get a better position if you are far behind in the search result. The hard part is to rank in the “Top 10″ if you have a lot of competition. SEO is not always easy, but avoiding common errors can get you far!

Ok back to 2013!

As you can see there are quite few things that remain the same.

Keyword in title, good? Of course!

Keyword in the main heading? Oh yes!

Alt-description? Yes! We want Google to know what the image is about!

The copy? Yes IMPORTANT! The better copy you have, the better off you are!

The Links? Yes, pure text links are still the best!

Frames? Still not good! 

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